What allergies medicine to take when pregnant
Most people can safely take antihistamines.
But speak to a pharmacist or your GP for advice if you:
Some antihistamines may not be suitable in these cases. Your pharmacist or doctor can recommend one that’s best for you.
Always read the leaflet that comes with your medicine to check it’s safe for you before taking it or giving it to your child.
Side effects of antihistamines
Like every medicines, antihistamines can cause side effects.
Side effects of older types of antihistamines can include:
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
- sleepiness (drowsiness) and reduced co-ordination, reaction speed and judgement – don’t drive or use machinery after taking these antihistamines because of this risk
- difficulty emptying your bladder
Side effects of non-drowsy antihistamines can include:
- dry mouth
- feeling ill
- drowsiness – this is less common than with older types of antihistamines
Check the leaflet that comes with your medicine for a full list of possible side effects and advice about when to get medical help.
If you ponder your medicine has caused an unwanted side effect, you can report it through the Yellow Card Scheme.
Taking antihistamines with other medicines, food or alcohol
Speak to a pharmacist or your GP before taking antihistamines if you’re already taking other medicines.
There may be a risk the medicines could affect each other, which could stop either from working properly or increase the risk of side effects.
Examples of medicines that could cause problems if taken with antihistamines include some types of:
It’s best to avoid alcohol while taking an antihistamine, particularly if you’re taking an older type of antihistamine, as this can increase the chances of it making you feel sleepy.
Food and other drinks don’t affect most antihistamines, but check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to make sure.
Find out more about your medicine
If you no longer have the leaflet that came with your medicine, you can search for an online version of it on the following websites:
The leaflet will own detailed information about your specific medicine, including how to take it and what side effects you might get.
Sheet final reviewed: 7 March 2017
Next review due: 7 March 2020
If you or your kid own been prescribed fexofenadine, follow your doctor’s instructions about how and when to take it.
When to take it
You may only need to take fexofenadine on a day you own symptoms, such as if you own been exposed to something you’re allergic to, love animal hair.
Or you may need to take it regularly to prevent symptoms, such as to stop hay fever during spring and summer.
What if I forget to take it?
If you’re taking fexofenadine once a day, do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
Take the next dose at the usual time as prescribed by your doctor.
If you forget doses often, it may assist to set an alarm to remind you. You could also enquire your pharmacist for advice on other ways to assist you remember to take your medicine.
How much to take
Fexofenadine comes as tablets (30mg, 120mg and 180mg).
How much you take depends on why you’re taking it:
- For hay fever — the usual dose for adults and children aged 12 years and over is 120mg once a day. The usual dose for children aged 6 to 11 years is 30mg twice a day.
In this case, attempt to space the doses 10 to 12 hours apart.
- For hives — the usual dose for adults and children aged 12 years and over is 180mg once a day.
How to take it
If you’re taking 30mg fexofenadine tablets, you can take them with or without food.
If you’re taking 120mg and 180mg fexofenadine tablets, take them before a meal.
Always take your fexofenadine tablets with a drink of water. Swallow them whole — do not chew them.
What if I take too much?
Fexofenadine is generally extremely safe.
Taking too much is unlikely to harm you.
If you take an additional dose by error, you might get some of the common side effects.
If this happens or you’re concerned, contact your doctor.
A new study suggests activation of a mother’s immune system during pregnancy, such as during an allergic response, may affect fetal brain development. This could influence the child’s susceptibility to psychiatric disorders in later life, such as autism, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the study found a relationship between two proteins released by a mother’s immune system during the third trimester of pregnancy and the way a certain brain network involved in the above disorders developed in the infants.
Another study published final year suggested activation of the mother’s immune system during pregnancy could influence long-term kid mental health and developmental disorders, specifically autism.
These studies add to growing evidencelinking a significant immune response — such as one that develops during flu or food poisoning – in pregnancy to negative outcomes for the woman’s offspring later in life.
Researchers own termed this exaggerated immune responses in pregnancy, which is potentially detrimental to the fetus, as “maternal immune activation” (MIA).
Types of antihistamine
There are many types of antihistamine.
They’re generally divided into two main groups:
- older antihistamines that make you feel sleepy – such as chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine and promethazine
- newer, non-drowsy antihistamines that are less likely to make you feel sleepy – such as cetirizine, loratadine and fexofenadine
They also come in several diverse forms – including tablets, capsules, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, gels, eye drops and nasal sprays.
Which type is best?
There’s not much evidence to propose any particular antihistamine is better than any other at relieving allergy symptoms.
Some people find certain types work well for them and others do not.
You may need to attempt more than one type to discover one that works for you.
Non-drowsy antihistamines are generally the best option, as they’re less likely to make you feel sleepy.
But types that make you feel sleepy may be better if your symptoms affect your sleep.
Ask a pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure which medicine to attempt, not every antihistamines are suitable for everyone.
How antihistamines work
Antihistamines work by stopping a substance called histamine affecting the cells in your body.
Histamine is a chemical released when the body detects something harmful, such as an infection.
It causes blood vessels to expand and the skin to swell (known as inflammation), which helps protect the body.
But in people with allergies, the body mistakes something harmless, such as pollen, for a threat.
It then produces histamine, which causes symptoms such as rashes, a runny nose and/or sneezing.
Antihistamines assist stop this happening if you take them before you come into contact with the substance you’re allergic to. Or they can reduce the severity of symptoms if taken afterwards.
How to take antihistamines
Take your medicine as advised by your pharmacist or doctor, or as described in the leaflet that comes with it.
Before taking an antihistamine, you should know:
- when to take it – including how numerous times a day you can take it and when to take it (older types should be taken before bedtime)
- how endless to take it for – some types can be used for a endless time, but some are only recommended for a few days
- how to take it – including whether it needs to be taken with water or food, or how to use it correctly (if eye drops or a nasal spray)
- how much to take (the dose) – this can vary depending on things such as your age and weight
- what to do if you miss a dose or take too much (overdose)
The advice varies depending on the exact medicine you’re taking.
If you’re not certain how to take your medicine, enquire your pharmacist.