Your doctor can guide you to the right antihistamine for you.
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This means it has an effect on small blood vessels, resulting in dilated capillaries (redness), and leakage of protein-rich fluid into surrounding skin (swelling).
Histamine affects nearby nerves resulting in itching.
For many people, sedating antihistamines, also called old, classic, or first-generation antihistamines, cause sleepiness, grogginess, and slow reaction time.
They may interfere with coordination and cloud your concentration.
Recent studies have shown that anticholinergics may increase the risk of dementia.
That means you can control your symptoms with only 1 or 2 doses each day compared with older medications, which usually require doses every 4 to 6 hours to maintain their effectiveness.
Also, diphenhydramine and doxylamine — sedating antihistamines often found in over-the-counter sleep aids — aren't recommended for people who have certain conditions, such as closed-angle glaucoma, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or severe liver disease.
Diphenhydramine and doxylamine have anticholinergic properties that make them poor choices for older adults.
The newer antihistamines are available only by prescription.
Because some can cause serious side effects or interact with other medications you are taking, be sure to let your doctor know all the medications you take.