Over-the-counter antihistamines come in a variety of forms. Patients often take them as a tablet. Nasal sprays and eye drops are also available. In general, newer antihistamines are associated with fewer side effects than older ones. When using an over-the-counter product, patients should follow all directions on the package and never exceed the recommended dose. Over-the-counter products are intended for short-term treatment. Patients should see their doctor if their symptoms persist beyond one week.
Antihistamines are a major seasonal allergies treatment. Many patients also take them as an allergic rhinitis treatment. They will help treat many allergy symptoms, including congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Patients may even take an antihistamine for hives. Most patients will want a non-drowsy antihistamine so that they can keep on task during the day. Of course, individuals may want different ones based on their needs and overall health. This is why understanding the different OTC antihistamines is vital.
Diphenhydramine is an older, first-generation antihistamine. It helps relieve symptoms associated with hayfever, the common cold, and allergies. This medication is also used to treat motion sickness and some symptoms of Parkinson's disease. As a first-generation antihistamine, it causes drowsiness. Patients can find it in some over-the-counter sleep aids. In addition to drowsiness, patients taking this antihistamine could experience thickening of bronchial secretions, dizziness, headaches, and reduced coordination. The medication could also cause dry mouth, fatigue, heart palpitations, confusion, and low blood pressure.
Children under two years old should not take this antihistamine. Patients taking this medication should use caution while driving and operating machinery. Consuming alcohol while taking this medication could cause increased drowsiness or dizziness. Individuals with a history of thyroid, liver, or kidney issues should consult a doctor before using this medicine. Patients with heart disease, low blood pressure, urination issues, glaucoma, or breathing issues should also ask a doctor about this medication first.