Pin Me

Common Side Effects of Antihistamines

written by: Jennifer Gonzalez • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 5/30/2011

Many people come to depend on the use of an antihistamine during allergy seasons, or when they come in contact with different daily allergens such as pet dander. Because taking this type of medication is so common, some fail to realize the common side effects of antihistamines before ingesting them.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Uses for an Antihistamine

    437103661 5f98b5227a t Antihistamines are commonly used during the spring and summer months that are also known as "allergy season." Allergy season is a time of year when pollen and other allergens are at their peak. Some of these allergy triggers are ragweed, various types of tree pollen and pollen in flowers, just to name a few. Many people only take antihistamines seasonally, but for some that have year round allergies to things such as dust and pet dander, taking an antihistamine can become part of a daily maintenance routine.

    Many times allergies cause very common symptoms from person to person. While the symptoms may change slightly depending on what that person is allergic to, the allergy reaction itself is easily recognized.

    The most common use for an antihistamine is to treat the symptoms caused by hay fever (allergies), and some symptoms of the common cold. A person suffering from sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes, and an itchy throat would be able to find relief from these symptoms in an antihistamine. This medication is also used to treat the discomfort that comes from a rash, hives, and types of insect bites.

    A doctor or licensed pharmacist should be consulted before giving any type of medication to a child under the age of 12.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Side Effects of Taking an Antihistamine

    As with any medication, over the counter or prescribed by a doctor, side effects are possible. Not everyone will always see the same side effects from the same medication, and some never experience any side effects at all. Even with over the counter medications, your doctor should have a list of every medication you take to be sure that you will not have any adverse reactions due to a medication that is already present in your system.

    Some common side effects of antihistamine drugs are as follows: drowsiness, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, dry mouth, loss of appetite, vision changes or double vision, irritability, confusion, constipation and difficulty urinating. Drinking alcohol while taking an antihistamine can cause the side effects experienced to become worse. If experienced, these side effects should only last for the duration of time you are taking this medication. If the side effects are prolonged, or become bothersome to you, you should contact a doctor right away. While everyone may experience at least one of these side effects, they are more likely to occur in small children and the elderly.

    The use of antihistamines (OTC or prescribed by a doctor) is generally safe. However, people who have glaucoma, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate, heart disease, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, or a person currently taking other medication should not use an antihistamine without first consulting with a doctor and going over all of their personal potential side effects and options for other medications.

  • slide 3 of 3

    References

    Medicine.net: Antihistamines-Oral, http://www.medicinenet.com/antihistamines-oral/article.htm

    FamilyDoctor.org: Antihistamines, http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/otc-center/otc-medicines/857.html

    Bupa: Antihistamines, http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/a/antihistamines

    "I love Pollen" photo c/o Brooke Novak-www.creativecommons.org