Safety of Second Generation Antihistamines

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The sedation related to first-generation antihistamine use has been shown to compromise performance at school and at work, impair driving, and decrease the ability to handle tasks that require a high degree of alertness or concentration. Second-generation antihistamines are less likely to produce sedation. Loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine are the most commonly prescribed second-generation antihistamines. Many tests have been conducted to assess the central effects of these three drugs. Compared with placebo, at recommended doses loratadine is not associated with performance impairment. Cetirizine, at recommended doses, has been shown to impair performance and cognition in several studies, although to a much lesser degree than older antihistamines. Clinical trials show fexofenadine is nonsedating, even at very high doses; psychomotor and driving tests reinforce these findings. Loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine all have excellent safety records. Their cardiovascular safety has been demonstrated in drug-interaction studies, elevated-dose studies, and clinical trials. These three antihistamines have also been shown safe in special populations, including pediatric and elderly patients.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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