Everything you want to know about non-drowsy Antihistamines
The Best Non-Drowsy Antihistamine
For many people, allergies are a fact of life. Whether from animal dander or common pollen allergies, the effects of continual congestion, runny nose and watery eyes effects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Fortunately for many however, there are hundreds of very effective antihistamines commercially available that will reduce the effects of the allergies without causing drowsiness.
For many people, choosing the correct histamine blocking medicine can be a matter of trial and error. Like all other drugs, what works for one person may not work for another. This can be frustrating for people who get a recommendation from friends or doctors that swear by a product and find that it just isn’t effective. Thus, finding the right medication for you might take a few tries and a number of disappointments.
When looking for the best non-drowsy antihistamine medication, be sure to look at the active ingredients in the product. Most over the counter products contain one of three drugs or a combination of two of them. You want to make note of the specific active chemical in the product so that if you don’t find it effective, you won’t end up wasting your money by buying and trying another product that contains that same active ingredient. Once you have found an allergy medication that works for you, you can stick with it, or save a little money by buying the generic or store brand equivalent.
Generally there are two types of anti-allergy medicine, sedating and non-sedating. The n most widely utilized non-drowsy antihistamine is cetirizine and loratadine, where the sedating types are promethazine, hydroxyzine and alimemazine, sudaphedrine and diphenydramine hydrochloride. Depending on the studies that you read, the sedating type seems to have a broader range of effectiveness, but the obvious drawback is that it causes the user to want to sleep. Again, the choice of the right one for you depends on your expectations and your specific physiology.
Discover of Antihistamines
In 1933, Jeff Fornea and Daniel Bovent discovered a compound they called Piperoxan which was the first anti-allergy medication commercially available for humans. The two scientists received a Noble Prize for their work and their discovery created a class of drugs that has helped millions of people.
An antihistamine effectively works by blocking inflammatory compounds naturally created in the body to fight off invasive compounds that have entered the body. These histamines are released by immune cells and trigger mucosal membranes to begin secreting at high levels which causes the watery eyes, runny nose and increased congestion. These histamine cells also trigger inflammation in numerous areas of the body which account for localized rash and swelling. Essentially histamines are the fundamental compounds responsible for the allergic response.
An antihistamine essentially blocks or reduces the release of these histamine cells within the body which blunts the body’s need to swell, secrete and otherwise present with an allergic response. The way the drug works is simply by competing with the histamines for space on the receptor sites on the cells. If the drug can take up the receptor, the histamine will not be able to bind and trigger the allergic response, thus the cell won’t be able respond with symptoms.
Causes of Allergies
The allergic response if a complex inflammatory cascade that our body’s use to fight off invasive compounds that may be damaging. Whenever a spec of pollen, dander, or foreign matter enters our blood stream the body recognizes that object as foreign and triggers the allergy cascade to get rid of it. The degree of sensitivity that you have toward these invaders depends on a number of factors including genetics and your lifestyle. Those that are predisposition to allergy and have a diet high in fat and low in vegetables are generally the most susceptible to strong allergic reactions. Also, those with poor diet and compromised digestion are also at high risk of acquiring food allergy.
Regardless of the type of allergy that you have, the histamine response is the same. Immune cells known as mast cells are instructed by your immune system to explode and release a flood of histamines near the source of the allergen. Once these cells release the compound, the cells surrounding the allergen respond by inducing inflammation. This then triggers surrounding cells to respond which results in the common symptoms of allergy such as runny nose, congestion, rash and swelling. Antihistamine medications block the receptor sites in each of the cells so that when the mast cells release their payload, there are no available areas on the surrounding cells where the immune compound can tell the surrounding cells to create inflammation.
Best Non-drowsy Antihistamine Brands
Throughout the world there are a number of well established antihistamine brands. In fact, as a class of medication, these anti-allergy medications are very well represented by almost all major pharmaceutical companies.
Outside of the generic over the counter versions, brands that offer non-drowsy formulas such as Claritin, Benadryl, Sudaphed, Allegra, Loratidine, and cold and flu brands such as Alka-Seltzer Plus Antihistamine line the isles of the drug store. Obviously there are many more brands out there, but almost all rely on a small handful of active ingredients to make their products effective.
For the most part, the non-drowsy versions of these brands stay true to their claims. Although, depending on your physiology, all may lead to some level of drowsiness, most have removed the compounds such as the diphenhydramine HCl which are well knows to cause drowsiness. As above, the best choice is the one that works for you and some degree of trial and error is warranted.
This short video shows how your body responds to allergens.
Best Dosage Form For Non-Drowsy Anti-allergy Drugs
When you are suffering, immediate relief is what you need most, but what are the best and fastest working dosage forms? In truth, there is very little difference between the digestion time between a tablet, capsule and liquid softgel. When a tablet hits your stomach it generally begins dissolving immediately and after the coating is gone the medicine within the tablet is quickly released. In a capsule, the same process happens, but it may take a bit longer for the gelatin capsule to disintegrate and release the medication. The same situation applies to the liquid softgel. While the liquid may be more readily absorbed into the blood stream during digestion, the gelatin coating of the softgel may take longer to dissolve. Overall, there is almost no difference between the absorption time between the capsule, tablet or liquid softgel. The best dosage form is really just the one that you prefer.
Factors other than disintegration time may play in your choice of dosage form for your allergy medication. Issues such as capsule size and ease of swallowing may have an impact on what dosage form will work best for you. Softgels and capsules are generally easier to swallow than tablets. However they are typically larger on a dose by dose basis. In contrast, liquids are easy to swallow but flavor may be a big issue. Overall it comes down to personal preference for your allergy medication of choice.