Over-the-Counter (OTC) Antihistamines Drugs for Allergy
Over-the-counter antihistamines are available in the form of first generation and second generation antihistamines.(3)
First generation OTC anti-histamines for allergies (active ingredients and brand names):
Second generation OTC anti-histamines for allergies (active ingredients and brand names):
- Loratadine – Claritin
- Cetirizine – Zyrtec
Contraindications – discontinue use and seek medical attention if serious allergic reaction occurs.
Cetirizine (Zyrtec): Tablet - 5-10 mg orally once a day depending upon symptom severity. Syrup – 5 mg/ 5 mL
Loratadine (Claritin, Tavist), Brompheniramine (Dimetane): Tablet – 10mg once daily for adults, 5 mg once daily for children 2 to 5 years.
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) – 4 mg orally every 4 - 6 hrs; sustained-release: 8 or 12 mg orally every 8 - 12 hours. Maximum dose: 24 mg/day.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): 25 mg to 50 mg (1-2 capsules) per day for adults and children above 12 years; for children 6 -12 years of age – 25 mg (1 capsule)
Side effects – drowsiness especially in case of first-generation antihistamines, restlessness, nervousness, upset stomach, dry mouth, irritability, difficulty urinating and sometimes blurred vision.
Precautions and Warnings:
- Second-generation antihistamines are less likely to interact with other drugs like sedatives
- Do not use antihistamines in large amounts or for longer than recommended.
- Use alcohol cautiously if you are on antihistamines
- While taking antihistamines, do not drive or use machinery that could harm you if you are not alert
- Consult your doctor before using antihistamines if you have glaucoma, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, stomach problems, liver disease, kidney disease and diabetes
- Inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Store in cool, dry place. Protect from heat and light
- Choosing an Over-The-Counter Allergy Medication - (https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/choosing-an-over-the-counter-allergy-medication)
- The Best Over-the-Counter Allergy Medications - (https://www.verywellhealth.com/choosing-over-the-counter-allergy-treatment-3859664)
- Popular Over-the-Counter Oral Antihistamine Brands - (https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/antihistamine-brands#second-and-thirdgeneration-brands)
- Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion - (https://familydoctor.org/decongestants-otc-relief-for-congestion/)
- What Is Pseudoephedrine? - (https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-pseudoephedrine-1192197)
- What is Hydrocortisone? - (https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/hydrocortisone)