oa SA Pharmacist's Assistant - Long-term antihistamine use : making the right choice for your patient : allergies

Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9634
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1068



Spring is in the air, and with it:

  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drip and coughing
  • Runny noses
  • Itching of the nose, eyes, throat and ears
  • Nasal congestion
  • General irritability and fatigue.
These symptoms are reported by patients with allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is often ignored, misdiagnosed or mistreated, and has a negative impact on quality of life, quality of sleep and productivity, and can also cause or worsen asthma. Although allergic rhinitis mostly occurs as a seasonal condition, it can also persist throughout the year. It may even be a lifelong condition for some people, with the symptoms waxing and waning over time. Therefore, the trend is to treat these patients with long-term therapy, rather than treating them intermittently. Antihistamines reduce itching, sneezing and a runny nose, but have less of an effect on nasal congestion. Since they are among the most widely prescribed and safest drugs in the world, second-generation antihistamines remain the first-line option for the oral treatment of many allergic conditions.

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