Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Antihistamines
Committed to Safety: As we resume services, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep you safe while we care for you. Please note that visitor restrictions remain in place. Get more information on COVID-19.
Oral antihistamines are available without a prescription. Common types such as diphenhydramine (for example, Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (for example, Chlor-Trimeton), and loratadine (for example, Claritin) are used to treat allergy symptoms and itching.
Look for generic or store brands, which often cost less than name brands. For example, diphenhydramine is the generic name for the brand name Benadryl.
Antihistamines that are taken by mouth (oral) work better than those that are applied directly to the skin (topical) because a pill or capsule contains a specific dose of medicine. The dose in a cream or ointment depends on how much is applied at one time and is harder to control. Too much antihistamine absorbed through the skin can be toxic, especially to children. Don't give any antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first. The use of cream or ointment antihistamines is not reliable and not recommended.
Read and follow all instructions on the label. Be sure to follow the nonprescription medicine precautions.
Do not take oral antihistamines when you are driving, are operating machinery, or need to be alert because they can make you sleepy.
Use caution if you have other health problems, such as glaucoma, epilepsy, or an enlarged prostate. Antihistamines can cause your other health problems to get worse and also may interact with other medicines, such as antidepressants, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Read the package carefully, and ask your pharmacist or doctor to help you choose an antihistamine that will not cause problems.
Antihistamines are often combined with a decongestant in one product. These medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
If you have side effects, stop taking the medicine and call your doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Current as of: October 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: October 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.