Antihistamines (Oral) (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

What formulations of oral antihistamines are available?

  • Tablets
  • Chewable tablets
  • Orally disintegrating tablets
  • Capsules
  • Solution
  • Syrup
  • In-combination with decongestants and pain relievers

What about taking oral antihistamines during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Non-drug interventions should always be considered first in pregnant women suffering from symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Nondrug therapies include saline or salt-water nasal sprays, exercise, and nasal strips.

If a daily antihistamine is needed during pregnancy, second generation agents are preferred because they are less sedating and have a better side effect profile (have fewer anticholingeric side effects). Loratadine and cetirizine are preferred second generation antihistamines for pregnant women because they have the most safety and efficacy data. Both agents are rated FDA category B, and are generally considered to be safe at recommended doses for the treatment of allergic rhinitis during pregnancy. Fexofenadine is less well-studied and is rated FDA pregnancy category C.

First generation antihistamines are usually used on an as-needed basis or before bedtime to occasionally help with sleep. Chlorpheniramine is the preferred first generation antihistamine for people who are pregnant because it has been studied the most.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2015

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