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Definition - What does antihistamines mean?

Antihistamines are a group of drugs that counter the affect of histamines in the body. Histamines are a substance released by the body's mast cells in response to allergies or inflammation. Histamines are responsible for many of the physical responses associated with an allergic reaction. Antihistamines work by inhibiting these histamines' effects.

Because antihistamines can cause side effects such as dizziness or confusion in some individuals, some workplaces limit their use. Employees who need to take antihistamines should consult their employer's written drug use policies. In some instances, a safer medication can be substituted or the employee can take the medication outside of work hours.

SureHire explains antihistamines

Many different antihistamine medications are available. Some antihistamines may be purchased over the counter while others require a prescription. These medications may be in liquid or pill form. Some antihistamines are administered as via eye drops or nasal sprays.

Depending on the exact formulation of an antihistamine, it can cause various side effects. Side effects also vary widely from individual to individual. Some antihistamines cause dry mouth, dizziness or irritability. Drowsiness is also a side effect of antihistamines, which is of particular concern in safety sensative work postiions. In fact, some physicians recommend taking an over the counter antihistamine as a temporary sleep aid for patients who cannot or do not wish to take a prescription sleep medication.

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