Antihistamine Side Effects
Allergy affects anywhere between 40 to 50 million people in the United States alone. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is the most common symptom of allergies. It affects 10 to 30% of all adults and as many as 40% of children in America.
In allergies the immune system reacts adversely to the protein present in the allergen. The body releases antibodies (IgE) to react with the protein. The IgE and the protein binds together causing the mast cells of the skin, gut and pharynx to release large amount of histamine. Histamine binds with the histamine receptors (the protein-IgE bond) and brings about the host of adverse physical reactions.
Antihistamines are a well established treatment option in allergies. These are drugs which inhibit the histamine from attaching themselves to the histamine receptors. But it is important to be informed about antihismine side effects before randomly popping them to seek relief from allergies especially because they are easily available over the counter. It must be understood that just like any drug they are not suitable for everyone even though they are one of the best options to treat allergies.
What are the known antihistamine side effects?
- Sedating antihistmines may make you feel drowsy. However, non sedating antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.
- Retention of urine and difficulty in passing it.
- Hazy and blurred vision.
- A feeling of dry mouth.
- Feeling sick and nauseous.
- Stomach upset, constipation and diarrhea.
- Antihistamine ointment and creams can cause irritation on the skin.
Some of the rarer side effects are as follows:
- Liver injury and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Abnormal heart beat and palpitations.
- High blood pressure.
- Glaucoma in the eye.
- Sleeping difficulty.
- Depression, confusion and dizziness.
The above side effects are mostly seen in children and adults above 65. People with enlarged prostrate, hypertension, heart and liver diseases. The sedative antihistamines should not be taken while driving or using machinery. It is important to consult a physician before taking them in pregnancy or if you are nursing the baby.
In case you experience side effects, consult your physician immediately.