Antihistamines Information

An antihistamine is a type of drug used to fight allergic reactions. It encompasses a broad class of drugs that can treat conditions ranging from minor to life threatening. Different antihistamines are used for different types of reactions.

How Does It Work?
Histamines are a type of chemical in the body that are produced by the basophils and mast cells as a response to the invasion of foreign organisms. These chemicals are part of the body’s immune system and are the triggering mechanisms against foreign invaders. Allergies such as rashes, sneezing, runny nose and other forms of allergic reactions are caused by the actions of histamines in the body.  Antihistamines serve to block the effects of histamines. They do so by blocking histamine receptors. When the histamine receptors are blocked, histamines can no longer perform their functions, and allergic reactions are stopped or at least minimized.

What Different Types Does It Have?
Sedating and non-sedating medications are two different types, they may work differently in blocking the actions of histamines and thus may have different effects on the body. Antihistamines are available alone, but are often combined with cough, cold and flu medicines. If you have flu, cold or allergy symptoms avoid doubling up on medication that may contain antihistamines. Excessive use of antihistamines can increase the intensity of unpleasant side effects, such as those mentioned above, and can lead to sinus infections. If in doubt about whether a medication contains antihistamines, ask a physician or pharmacist.

How About Its Effects?
While sedating antihistamines have been used by many and have been proven to be effective in stopping or at least reducing the allergic reactions of histamines, they may have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, nervousness and restlessness. This is because sedating antihistamines may also affect the brain. On the other hand, non-sedating types do not have these side effects and are therefore considered safer. One of the drug’s active ingredient is N,N-Dimethylformamide, a chemical compound having the formula C3H7NO and is called DMF for short.

What Should I Note?
Those taking antihistamines are advised not to drive, as intake of the drug may cause severe drowsiness, thus resulting in accidents. Antihistamines can affect the brain and may also affect normal body. If such reactions occur, consulting a physician is strongly advised.