Antihistamines are used in treating allergies. When the body contacts an allergen, that is, a substance that triggers your allergy, it produces chemicals known as histamines. These allergens could be pet dander, dust mites, ragweed, or pollen. The histamine chemicals cause the nose tissue to swell, eyes and nose to run, itchy mouth eyes, and nose. Sometimes the person may experience skin rashes called hives. Antihistamines are medications that block or reduce this histamine to stop the allergy symptoms. Some people have reported weight loss after stopping antihistamines, and this has led to more studies on the side effects of these medications.
Antihistamines medicines function in relieving allergy symptoms of different types, including indoor, food, and seasonal allergies. However, they are not able to relieve all the symptoms. Decongestants may be recommended to treat congestion of the nose. Sometimes the decongestant will be given along with antihistamines. Antihistamines are available in several forms like capsules, tablets, eye drops, nasal sprays, and liquids. You can get them over the counter at local drug stores or pharmacies.
Antihistamine Types and Uses
Examples of antihistamine prescriptions include Carbinoxamine (Pelagic), Optivar (azelastine eye drops), Astepro and Astelin (Azelastine nasal sprays), Cyproheptadine, Emadine (Emedastine eye drops), Clarinex (Desloratadine), Atarax and Vistaril (Hydroxyzine), Xyzal (Levocetirizine oral) and Livostin (Levocabastine eye drops).
Over the counter, antihistamines include Zyrtec (Cetirizine), Dimetane (Brompheniramine), Tavist (Clemastine), Chlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine), Allegra (Fexofenadine), Alavert, Claritin (Loratadine).
Eye allergies symptoms can be treated with eye drops. These symptoms may be watery eyes and itchy eyes. The medications may combine antihistamine and decongestant easing congestion.
Antihistamines are also used in treating allergic rhinitis that causes nose inflammation. It relieves symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, congestion, hives, nausea, skin rashes, water, or itchy eyes.
There are different generations of antihistamines. The first generation of oral antihistamines like chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine, cross into the blood-brain barrier easily and affect the central nervous system H1 receptors. These H1 receptors help in regulating the waking and sleeping cycles.
They also have some sedative properties. And when the receptors bind to the CNS, they could impair motor and cognitive functions and lead to drowsiness.
The second and third generation of antihistamines has no sedative properties. According to studies, they have lesser chances of crossing the brain’s blood barrier, and this means there will be no significant effect on the central nervous system. Children above age 12 and adults can use these antihistamines. It is a safer generation.
Older antihistamines may cause side effects like drowsiness, while the newer ones may cause fewer side effects making them a better option for some.
Here are some of antihistamines side effects;
- Dry mouth
- Vomiting and nausea
- Blurred vision
- Moodiness or restlessness
- Trouble peeing
If your antihistamine causes drowsiness then you should take it before bedtime. Avoid using it in the daytime to avoid accidents. Always read labels before you use any allergy drugs. Antihistamines can interact with some medications.
People with heart disease, an enlarged prostate, thyroid problems, liver or kidney disease, glaucoma, bladder obstruction, and elevated blood pressure should discuss with their doctor before using this antihistamine. Nursing or pregnant women should also consult their doctor.
Although this is rare, using non-sedating antihistamines for a long period may lead to mild damage to the liver. However, terfenadine antihistamine has been linked with a damaged liver and is not used in the clinics anymore.
Pregnant women may use the first and second antihistamines in low doses. High promethazine doses, which is a sedating antihistamine because it belongs to the first generation. May lead to some serious side effects in pregnant women.
Weight Loss After Stopping Antihistamine
It has been known for a long time now that taking antihistamine causes weight gain. It has been used expressly for this purpose along with cyproheptadine. There are different explanations as to how this is possible. A reasonable explanation is that the chemical histamine reduces histamine thus antihistamine counteracts this effect.
A recent survey suggests that antihistamines are linked with obesity. This research confirmed the effect of the counter antihistamine in obesity. Antihistamines like cetirizine and fexofenadine are linked with obesity. However, there is no potent available information vouching for the weight gain effect of antihistamines.
If indeed it is true that weight gain happens when antihistamines are taken then it would mean stopping their use will cause a stop in the weight gain or maybe even weight loss. But since there is no certified scientific research backing this up then it’s not an official means of weight loss.
We are aware that we live in a time when people will do almost anything to lose weight. There have been stories of people going to the extreme just to shed off some weight and the result is rarely good and does not last long.
Wanting to lose weight is not a bad thing, in fact for the sake of health, medical advice may be given to some people to lose weight. And there are some right ways to go about this. In no particular order, a long-lasting weight loss can be achieved by dieting, exercising, and taking supplements.
Some special exercises are designed to help you shed off extra pounds but you will need to put in lots of work. The exercises have to be done regularly and consistently. Your doctor can give you some advice on this. Note that if you have some medical conditions, there may be some exercise that you should stay clear of.
As for dieting, different diets claim to help people achieve their weight loss goals and you could check them out. Got for the one where the benefits far outweigh the risk. If you can, seek medical counsel on this too. There are pretty good diets that are healthy too.
It is possible to have weight loss after stopping antihistamines, but you should not count on this as a way to lose weight. There are healthier ways to achieve this.