Antihistamines

A large number of oral Hi-receptor antagonists (see Chapter 38) are available with and without prescription for the treatment of mast cell-mediated diseases, such as acute and chronic urticaria, angioedema, and cutaneous mastocytosis. Until relatively recently, two major limitations of the available antihistamines, such as diphenhy-dramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Atarax), promethazine (Phenergan), and cyproheptadine (Periactin), were their short half-lives and sedative effects. New-generation long-acting antihistamines pass the blood-brain barrier much less readily and are theoretically less likely to cause somnolence. Examples of these relatively nonsedating drugs are fexofenadine (Allegra), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and loratadine (Claritin).

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