Over-the-counter cold and flu medicines

  Articles

Antihistamines medicine

For nasal symptoms, including congestion or cold and sneezing, many people turn to antihistamines. Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis. They work by blocking the histamine receptor, a chemical released in response to an allergen. 

Common antihistamines include:

  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Chlortrimethone (chlorpheniramine)
  • Atarax / Vistaryl (hydroxyzine)
  • Zirtek (cetirizine)
  • Allegra. generic (fexofenadine)
  • Clarinex (desloratadine 
  • Claritin, Alavert, various generics (loratadin)
  • Xizal (levocetirizine) 

Antihistamines help relieve congestion associated with an allergic reaction, but their effect on the common cold is questionable.

Realized in 2015 Cochrane a review of 18 randomized controlled trials with more than 4,000 subjects showed that antihistamines can help relieve congestion better than placebo in the first two days of a cold, but not on the third day or later. 

Some antihistamines have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, and constipation.

People with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, overactive thyroid, heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes should consult their healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking antihistamines. 

Related Articles
Foods to Avoid If You Have Dry Mouth From Radiation

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a common side effect of radiation therapy for people undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer. Read more

Thyroid adenoma: Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that produces hormones affecting a number of Read more

NSAIDs and You Thyroid Function

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most frequently taken over-the-counter medications. Due to their systemic or whole body effects, it's Read more

How Doctors Are Failing Thyroid Disease Patients

The thyroid disease community has continually mentioned the lack of support they experience and the difficulty they have navigating the Read more

LEAVE A COMMENT