An antihistamine is an allergy medication. It blocks the effect of histamine, the substance released by the immune system at the origin of allergic reactions manifested by symptoms such as itching, stinging in the eyes, a runny nose, hives …
In the event of an allergy, this defense mechanism is therefore triggered in the presence of substances that are harmless to our body.
There are two categories:
- First generation antihistamines usually act on the brain and spinal cord and often have an associated sedative effect. This is why they are sometimes indicated in cases of insomnia.
- Second generation antihistamines act on H1 receptors at the periphery. Fewer side effects and drowsiness make it possible to administer a slightly higher dose when switching to these drugs. “In the treatment of allergy, certain H1 antihistamines can be used regardless of the term of pregnancy and during breastfeeding”, indicates the reference center on teratogenic agents. No addiction or dependence is associated with these drugs.
Sleep, transport, anxiety
Available in various forms such as eye drops, nasal sprays, creams or tablets, some can be purchased without a prescription. They are also prescribed for other indications:
- to promote sleep
- to fight against motion sickness
- to reduce anxiety
- to help people with Parkinson’s disease tolerate certain agents.