Antihistamine medications

Antihistamine medications

If your histamine intolerance symptoms are severe, you might consider taking antihistamines as a temporary, emergency measure.

This is only a short-term solution. Doctors recommend that you do not take antihistamines over long periods, because –

  • Taking these medications daily for long periods of time may result in your body becoming tolerant to their effects, meaning that you may need to take larger doses to obtain the same relief.
  • They may cause weight gain by increasing your appetite – especially H1 blockers.
  • Prolonged use can adversely affect your liver.
  • H2 blockers can have a ‘rebound effect’ when you stop taking them, causing over-production of stomach acids, called “hypersecretion”.

Make an informed decision about taking antihistamines.

It can take many weeks to get your ‘histamine bucket’ down to a level at which you are symptom-free. Remember that any drug takes time to really affect your system. Everyone reacts differently but cetirizine, for example, can take 2-4 weeks to give full benefit.

What are Antihistamines?

‘Antihistamine’ is the common term for ‘histamine antagonist’. These drugs serve to reduce or eliminate effects mediated by histamine. They are of two types: histamine H1-receptor antagonists and histamine H2-receptor antagonists. Antagonists of the histamine H1-receptor are used to treat allergic reactions, particularly in the nose, as well as motion sickness, or vertigo. Antagonists of the histamine H2-receptor are used to treat gastric acid conditions. People suffering from histamine intolerance can take both an H1 and H2 antagonist.

* Ranitadine:  Initially, take 150mg ranitadine twice daily, before decreasing to the recommended daily dosage. Ranitadine is used to decrease stomach acid. It is an H2 antagonist.
Trade names include Zantac.

* Cetirizine: Cetirizine is used for allergies. Initially, take 10mg cetirizine twice daily before decreasing to the recommended daily dosage. This is an H1 antagonist. In your body, the H1 histamine receptor is  responsible for itching skin, skin rashes etc.
Trade names include Zirtec, Zyrtec, Reactine.

* Fexofenadine: If you suffer from GERD, GORD, heartburn or gastric reflux, taking cetirizine may make it worse. If that is the case, substitute fexofenadine for cetirizine.  Fexofenadine is another H1 antagonist used to control allergies.
Trade names  include Allegra, Fexidine, Telfast, Fastofen, Tilfur, Vifas, Telfexo, Allerfexo.

* Pheniramine maleate: This H1 antagonist is used to treat “allergic conditions such as hayfever, runny nose, itching skin and skin rashes. It is also used in the prevention and treatment of inner ear disorders (eg Meniere’s disease) and travel sickness”. You must not take it if you are taking an antidepressant medicine known as a MAO Inhibitor, or if you are male and you have an enlarged prostate. There are also other contraindications – ask your doctor or read the consumer information.
Trade names include Avil.

Is Food Making You Sick?What is the Alternative to taking Antihistamine Drugs?

Evidence suggests that if you stick strictly to a low histamine diet regime it is possible to completely rid yourself of all symptoms without resorting to drugs. Some people manage it in as little as 4 weeks while others may take up to 20 months.


Health and medical information disclaimer:

The information provided on this website is intended only to aid you in making informed decisions about your health. It is not intended to be a substitute for advice and treatment prescribed by a registered dietitian, nutritionist or doctor. The content of this website may not be used as a basis or means for any form of self-diagnosis. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek the help of a medical practitioner.