The Pros and Cons of Common Antihistamines

As an allergy sufferer, you’ve likely been prescribed antihistamines like cetirizine (aka Zytrec). While they can be great at suppressing symptoms, did you know that there are potential drawbacks as well? Before you decide to start (or continue) on any allergy medication, we’d like to provide more information to see if that treatment is the right route for you.

What are antihistamines?

Antihistamines are a medication class used to help with allergy symptoms. These include itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes from hay fever, sudden allergic reactions, cold symptoms, and other allergies like dust mites and mold. They come in both prescription and over-the-counter form.

What are the potential side effects?

Both prescription and nonprescription antihistamines can make you drowsy. Remember to tell your health care provider about other medications you are on and how much alcohol you drink. Headache, dry mouth, and low blood pressure are a few of the more common side-effects

Do you know about possible antihistamine withdrawals?

Before you decide to start an antihistamine, you should be aware of the potential for withdrawal effects. For example, some people experience symptoms with cetirizine if they take it for a while and then stop suddenly. The main withdrawal symptom is called pruritus— itching and burning sensations of the skin ranging from moderate to severe. Other antihistamine withdrawal symptoms include interruptions in sleep patterns.

Are antihistamines right for me?

Medication and Functional Medicine

Talk to an AAPRI health care provider about the different treatment options we offer. Medication is an option, but most prescriptions are designed to relieve symptoms — not fix the problem causing those symptoms. That’s why we offer immunotherapy treatment such as allergy shots or allergy drops. We can also suggest natural supplements that can mitigate symptoms without drowsiness. That’s also why we focus on functional medicine:  we want to get to the root of the problem, not mask it.


Antihistamines can be helpful in easing your allergy symptoms, but they also have the potential for side effects and withdrawal symptoms. As with most things in life, it’s about striking a balance, and AAPRI is here to help!  As always, contact us with your questions.

A new pathway to better health ... through your inbox.

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter:
Share This