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Doxepin for Allergies

written by: Emma Lloyd • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 8/31/2010

Doxepin is a medication with some surprising uses. In addition to being an anti-depressant, this medication is also used topically as a treatment for eczema skin allergies.

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    This medication is thought to work by blocking the action of histamine, a body chemical that is involved in generating allergic reactions. When histamine is blocked, the itching and irritation associated with allergic eczema also ceases.

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    About Doxepin for Allergies

    When used for the treatment of eczema, doxepin is prescribed and used as a topical skin cream. Most people who are prescribed doxepin for allergies such as eczema will use the cream three or four times a day. It’s important to use the cream consistently, at the same times each day, to ensure a regular dosage of the active ingredient.

    To use doxepin, the skin should first be washed and dried. Next, apply a small amount of cream to the affected area, and massage it into the skin. When this is finished, the hands should be washed before touching any other part of the skin. Doxepin should not be applied around the eyes or mouth.

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    Using Doxepin Safely

    To use doxepin safely, several restrictions should be followed.

    • The medication should not be used any more or any less than prescribed.
    • Your doctor and pharmacist should be notified if you are allergic to any medications before you use doxepin for allergies.
    • Your doctor and pharmacist should also know about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. This includes herbal and dietary supplements as well as drugs.
    • It’s especially important to notify your doctor if you are taking any anti-depressants or anti-histamines.
    • If you have glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, or urinary retention, make sure your doctor knows before he or she prescribes doxepin.
    • Using doxepin may make you drowsy; this effect can be exacerbated if you drink alcohol.
    • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using doxepin.
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    Possible Side Effects of using Doxepin

    Possible side effects of using doxepin for allergies include the following.

    • Drowsiness, fatigue, or extreme tiredness
    • Thirst, dry mouth, dry lips
    • Headache, dizziness
    • Changes in mood
    • Stinging, burning, dryness, tightness, or worsened itching in the affected area.
    • Tingling fingers or toes
    • Swelling of the treatment site

    Your doctor should be notified if you experience any of these side effects, especially if they are persistent or severe.

    The following symptoms are more dangerous, and indicate the possibility of a doxepin overdose:

    • Blurred vision, dizziness, fainting, seizures, unconsciousness
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Irregular or fast heartbeat
    • Increased or decreased body temperature
    • Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
    • Enlarged pupils

    Seek emergency medical attention if any of these symptoms are experienced as a result of using doxepin for allergies.

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    References

    Doxepin Information at Drugs.com

    National Institute of Health MedlinePlus: Doxepin Topical

    The Mayo Clinic on Doxepin (Topical Route)