How Antihistamines Work

For millions of us allergy sufferers, antihistamines ease the annoying discomfort accompanying allergic reactions. Being an allergy sufferer myself, through the decades I have taken both over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, some of which have been discontinued. Allergic reaction symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache, and itching indicating sensitization to certain allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or insect venom. Repeated exposure results in allergic reactions due to antigen-antibody interactions.

First, antigens come into contact with lung, gastrointestinal tract, and/or skin tissue, and enter into the bloodstream. Next, mast cells and white blood cells misidentify these as invaders and inappropriately respond by releasing histamines causing tissue injury. The severity of the allergic reaction is directly proportional to the amount of histamine released.

Histamines dilate small blood vessels and capillaries, but contract smooth muscles. Responses include decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn and nausea, and proteins and fluids leaking from capillaries. Nasal mucous membrane capillaries leaking, result in nasal congestion. Skin capillaries leaking produce hives and swelling resulting in pain and itching.

Thankfully all antihistamines block most of histamines effects by competing at histamine receptor sites thereby preventing them from producing an effect on the tissues. Antihistamine drugs prevent, but can’t reverse, histamine responses. Some of the general uses of antihistamines include relief from nausea and vomiting, relief from motion sickness, and relief from coughs. Usually antihistamines are administered orally since they are well absorbed in the intestinal tract, or topically, although a few can be given intravenously. To maintain a therapeutic dose, these medicines are given two to four times per day because the liver rapidly metabolizes them.

First generation antihistamines, which can be used interchangeably, include chloropheniramine (Chlortrimeton®), diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), and promethazine (Phenergan®). Some of the side effects include nose and mouth dryness, and drowsiness. Some antihistamines are also used as local anesthetics because they depress sensor nerve activity. When taking these antihistamines, it is advisable to not drive or perform hazardous tasks, and not to use alcohol or other drugs.

Second generation antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec®), and Loratidine (Claritin®), and third generation antihistamines include fexofenadine (Allegra®), claim to be more selective for histamine receptors and cause less drying or sedating. However, these are contraindicated in patients with hepatic dysfunction, and when taking certain antifungal, antibiotic, and serotonin release inhibitors due to unfortunate deaths. My personal experience with these antihistamines is I did not find the relief I needed.

Because of the sedative effect, antihistamines are used in sleep aids like Nytol®, or Tylenol PM®. Because of the drying effect, antihistamines are found in over

Are Natural Antihistamines Effective?

The pollen count this year has been astronomically high, causing allergic flare-ups from coast-to-coast. Dust and pollen are being breathed in abundance, antigonizing and triggering the human body’s defensive production of histamine. Histamine is a naturally produced chemical that attacks and destroys invading substances that it perceives to be bacteria or allergens, like dust and pollen.

And though the production of histamine is there to protect you, the body can over-produce it. Too much histamine causes some inflammation in the nasal and sinus cavities, leading to allergic reactions like sneezing, runny noses, congestion and itchy eyes, sending people running to drug stores for relief. They want an effective histamine blocker to stop their allergy symptoms. They want an antihistimine.

Shouldn’t you be using natural antihistamines?

As you know, there are literally dozens of antihistamines on the market, all proclaiming that theirs is the best product out there. Two market leaders, Claritin and Benadryl, make millions on their respective antihistamine products, and they certainly work to an extent. But there are many side effects to these manmade products that you should be aware of.

For instance, the main active ingredient in Claritin is loratadine, and as shown in studies, it can be linked to jaundice, seizures, heart palpitations, drowsiness, headache, blurred vision and headache. The main active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine hydrochloride and the list of side effects is just as long, and just as daunting. Obviously, these antihistamines work for the majority of users, because they are successful commercial brands. But what if you are one of the people who has a negative reaction to loratadine or diphenhydramine hydrochloride?

Time to consider using natural antihistamines

If taking manmade medications with long, unpronounceable names is not your thing, consider a more natural and healthy approach to taming your allergies. Many natural foods contain natural antihistimines, and are plentiful. True, that natural antihistamines take longer to build up in your system, and longer to be effective, but they can safely reduce the frequency and the severity of allergy attacks by blocking histamines and strengthening your immune system.

Vitamin C is not only a well-known antioxidant, but is known to boost your immune system and is believed to reduce the body’s susceptability to allergens. Flavonoids work as natural antihistimines and are found in citrus, leafy veggies, apples and fruits. What if you could take a vitamin C supplement with flavonoids? Think that would help you fight allergies?

Absolutely. Because that’s the combo that cured my ‘springtime-allergic-to-everything’ mode fifteen years ago. Year after year, I’d go through a couple boxes of Alka-Seltzer Plus every spring, just to stop sneezing for a few hours. Then, totally by accident, I found natural antihistamines in a ‘1000 mg Vitamin C with Flavonoids’ supplement during the cold/flu season of February 1995. Was taking the C to fight colds, but then realized in May that my sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes hadn’t started, and were gone! Measuring time, it probably took two months for the C and flavonoid combo to entrench in the body. But it worked and is still working… honestly haven’t had a box of Alka-Seltzer in the house in years.

Natural antihistamines are numerous and available

If the contents of over-the-counter drugs scare you (and they should) you should be considering a more natural approach to curing your allergies. Did you know that a little salt is a natural antihistamine? So are grape seed extracts, raspberries, chili peppers, black tea, green tea, broccoli, red onions and bottles of red wine. This list could go on and on, but the point is, you do not need a little pill from an over-the-counter drug manufacturer to alleviate your allergies. You can find natural antihistamines in your supermarket, or in a condensed capsule form at a health food store.

Now, keep in mind, when choosing natural antihistamines, that you and every other individual will react differently to different foods. If you’re allergic to a certain food, then avoid that food as a source of antihistamine. But with so many natural antihistamines available, you will certainly be able to find one that works on your allergies in a much safer, natural way.

The Insider’s Guide To Antihistamine Clarinex

Clarinex is a medication which can be taken year-round by those who suffer from allergies. It is also effective at treating those who suffer from hives or rashes. The active ingredient in this medication is desloratadine, which is an antihistamine. This blocks the immune system’s production of the natural chemical histamine, which is produced when the body becomes sensitive to something.

Clarinex is effective at treating allergy symptoms produced from contact to both indoor allergens and outdoor ones. Anything from dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores, to pollen, grass or weeds can cause allergies.

Clarinex is widely used and popular because of its non-drowsy characteristic. Many antihistamines tell users to avoid machinery or driving while taking it, but Clarinex does not. This drug was also the first to boast that grapefruit juice did not affect its absorption.

It is also safe for most people who suffer form asthma to use this medication, although it is recommended that one contacts their doctor before mixing medications of any kind. Reported side effects include dry mouth, fatigue and a sore throat.

This medication comes in many forms which are taken according to age group, severity of symptoms, and other factors. The regular Clarinex tablets relieve symptoms for up to 24 hours and are safe for ages 12 and up. Clarinex 24-hour combines the power of antihistamine and decongestant for people with seasonal rhinitis and congestion. Children as young as 6 months of age can receive relief from indoor allergies, while children 2 and over can experience relief from outdoor ones, with the bubblegum flavored Clarinex syrup.

The syrup formula can also reduce the appearance of hives in children. Because many people are unable to easily take pills or tablets, Clarinex has provided a solution. For those who need another method, Clarinex Redi-tabs melt easily in the mouth. These also provide 24-hour relief and come in a fruit flavor.

The makers of Clarinex, Shering-Plough, claim that taking this medication in the morning will relieve symptoms all the way into the next morning when one awakes. This is a benefit, since many 24-hour solutions seem to wear off while one is sleeping.
Clarinex-D is a stronger formula which does require a prescription.

This also claims to have 24-hour relief all the way through to the next day. This member of the Clarinex family is for moderate to severe allergy sufferers.