Oral Antihistamines for Atopic Dermatitis
cetirizine [less sedating]
How It Works
reduce itching by blocking chemical (histamine) processes in an allergic
reaction. But histamines are not always involved in
atopic dermatitis itch, so these medicines may not
help all people who have the condition.
Why It Is Used
For many years, oral antihistamines
(taken in pill form) have been used to reduce the itch caused by atopic
dermatitis. Sedating antihistamines, which make you sleepy, have been favored
for treating children who cannot sleep because of severe itching at night.
How Well It Works
Some people report an improvement
in symptoms when they take an antihistamine with
corticosteroid treatment. An antihistamine that causes
drowsiness can be helpful if itching results in sleep problems.
Potential side effects include
drowsiness, weakness, blurred vision, upset stomach, and dry nose, mouth, and
throat. Serious side effects are not common.
In rare cases,
antihistamines can trigger a
seizure in people who have
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
antihistamines must be carefully adjusted for each
person. These medicines are unlikely to stop atopic dermatitis itch but can be
useful for inducing sleep when itching is severe.
antihistamines (put directly on the skin) generally are not used.
Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the
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