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Antihistamines are a type of drug generally used to suppress the symptoms of allergies, though they are often combined with other drugs that act as decongestants and cough suppressants and then marketed as cold medicines. Some of these drugs, like diphenhydramine and brompheniramine, have sedative effects and are sometimes used to treat insomnia. Other antihistamine drugs, such as fexofenadine and loratadine, are designed so that they will not have a sedative effect, or at least have a lessened one, which is achieved by lowering the dosage and designing the medication so that it will not pass through the blood brain barrier. Lastly, quetiapine is another type of antihistamine drug, and it is used to treat mental illnesses.
Benadryl®, also known as diphenhydramine, is a type of antihistamine drug that is usually used to treat common cold and allergy symptoms. This antihistamine drug is available in tablet form and is sometimes used to treat insomnia due to its sedative properties. This nonprescription medicine is typically taken every four to six hours.
This category of antihistamine drugs also includes brompheniramine, which is often included in over-the-counter cold medicines such as Dimetapp®. In addition to brompheniramine, Dimetapp® also includes other drugs that address coughing and congestion. Specifically, brompheniramine addresses cold symptoms like eye irritation and sneezing and can have sedative effects and oral dryness symptoms.
Another member of the category of antihistamine drugs is levocetirizine, which is often marketed as Xyzal®. Typical of antihistamines, this drug is usually used to alleviate the symptoms of environmental allergies. This particular drug is designed so that it will not include a sedative effect, but it still may present with mild fatigue and can result in severe drowsiness in some people.
The drug quetiapine, commonly marketed as either Ketipinor® or Seroquel®, is an antihistamine as well as a suppressor of serotonin and dopamine. This medication is primarily used to treat different bipolar conditions as well as schizophrenia. The goal of this antipsychotic medication is to alter the workings of a brain so that the symptoms of these conditions, such as delusions and disorganized thinking, are eliminated or reduced.
Another over-the-counter antihistamine drug is loratadine, which is marketed the under brand names Alavert® and Claritin®. This drug is available in both tablet and liquid form and is designed not to result in drowsiness. Loratadine is often combined with decongestant drugs and marketed as a cold medicine, such as Sudafed®.
Lastly, the antihistamine drug fexofenadine was developed to address seasonal allergies. While many other antihistamine drugs must be taken three or more times per day, fexofenadine can often be taken only one or two times per day. This drug can be taken in both tablet or liquid form and will not typically bring about drowsiness, except in cases of overdose. Possible side effects include pain in the extremities and back, as well as vomiting and headache.
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