Best Antihistamine Products for the Elderly

histamine, molecular model, c5h9n3

A molecular model of Histamine. These molecules are found in almost all human and animal cells.

Antihistamines are used daily by millions of people throughout the United States to help combat unwanted allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, and a sore throat. But, what is “histamine” and how does it relate to allergic reactions?

When the human body encounters an allergen, it releases histamine in response. While histamine is an important facet of the immune system, certain individuals experience excessive histamine release when encountered with particular allergens. This excess of histamine is the root cause of most common allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines are used to reduce the amount of histamine released by the body when allergens are encountered. This results in a reduction of common allergy symptoms.

Even though antihistamines are viewed as wonder drugs for the treatment of rhinitis and common allergies, they don’t truly aid the body in its natural allergic response. Rather, they block symptoms and, in some ways, hinder the immune system in its fight against pathogens.

However, due to their ease of access and inexpensive cost, people continue to return to the store to purchase them over the counter as a quick remedy to their problems with allergies. In most cases they are associated with very few risks but those who are elderly are more prone to having complications with their use.

In the following article we will dig deeper into the use of antihistamines in the elderly, complications that may arise, and healthy alternative products.

Common Forms of Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly purchased over the counter to treat allergy symptoms experienced by the general public. Most antihistamines don’t require a prescription and they come in the form of pills, sprays, gels, liquid and eye drops.

There are two major categories for antihistamines including first-generation and second-generation: 

  • First-generation antihistamines are the cheapest and most accessible type for people to use, and they tend to control nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. Common side effects associated with their use include excessive feelings to tiredness. Some of the most frequently used first generation antihistamines include Dramamine, Benadryl, Vicks NyQuil, as well as Tylenol Cold and Cough Nighttime.
  • Second generation antihistamines also treat allergy related symptoms but are not known for causing sleepiness like first generation antihistamines. Common brands include Alavert, Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra.
pollen allergies

Want to stop and smell the flowers? Those with severe pollen allergies might think twice…

Antihistamine Use in the Elderly and Potential Complications

Elderly people are predisposed to experiencing rhinitis due to structural changes which occur in the nose as people age. It is estimated that over 40% of those who are elderly will experience some form of nasal symptoms related to allergies. In order to reduce their symptoms, those who are affected by rhinitis often turn to the use of antihistamines.

However, it is crucial for the elderly and their caretakers to remain aware of the possible side effects that might be experienced when using antihistamines, as well as factors which will greatly affect their method of care.

In general, it is best for those in charge of elderly care to administer second generation antihistamines instead of first generation antihistamines when dealing with general symptoms of rhinitis. This is primarily due to the tendency of first-generation antihistamines to cause excessive tiredness and dryness.

Certain antihistamine medications are particularly associated with serious side effects in the elderly, and should be avoided in treating allergic symptoms under most circumstance. These include:

  • Brompheniramine
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Clemastine
  • Dexbrompheniramine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Dexchlorpheniramine
  • Doxylamine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Promethazine
  • Triprolidine 

More serious side effects associated with these products include delirium, cognitive impairment, hallucinations, and even dementia in extreme cases.

Older adults, and especially the elderly, are extremely sensitive to complications with the central nervous system and anything that might affect it. Antihistamines which produce sedative-like effects oftentimes lead to a substantial reduction in neurons and receptors in the brain, as well as lowered hepatic and renal function, and a heightened blood-brain permeability.

In most scenarios, elderly patients who take these sedative antihistamine products also take a plethora of other medications which may lead to adverse drug interactions. Some of the greatest, yet less acknowledged risks of first generation antihistamine use among the elderly include fall-related injury, a lower quality of life, and a total loss of independence.

Natural and Alternative Ingredients Which Aid Rhinitis Symptoms

In order to prevent unwanted symptoms from the use of commonly available antihistamine products, many caretakers and adults are turning to alternative, natural treatments in resolving allergy symptoms. Some of the best natural ingredients used for alternative treatment include:

  • Quercetin and other flavonoids
  • Bromelain
  • Vitamin C
  • Various herbal remedies.
Best Antihistamine Products for the Elderly | DR Vitamin Solutions, Quercetin

A molecular model of the flavonoid Quercetin – perhaps the most trusted alternative antihistamine ingredient.

Quercetin is one of the most popular supplemental ingredients used to treat rhinitis. It is a flavonoid, or polyphenol, which is believed to block histamine release. It is usually taken in dosages of 200 – 400 mg up to three times per day. Quercetin has been found to lower airway inflammation in mice, thus leading researchers to believe it could aid humans in reducing certain respiratory effects. Other flavonoids used for the treatment of similar symptoms include Catechin, and Hesperidin which may be taken is dosages of anywhere from 2 – 6 grams per day.

Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple juice, along with Vitamin C, enhances the role of flavonoids in reducing inflammation and allergic response.

Herbal products such as milk thistle and stinging nettles are also known for reducing symptoms, as well as for supporting liver function. They also have the potential to function as antioxidants, antimicrobials, and as analgesics.

Best Antihistamine Products

The best antihistamine products on the market for treating rhinitis and allergies within the elderly include:

  • Ortho Molecular Products Natural D-Hist
  • PatchMD Allergy Plus Topical Patches
  • Natural Ophthalmics Allergy Desensitization Eye Drops

Not only do all of these products utilize natural ingredients, they also heavily reduce the risk of experiencing serious side effects with their use.

Ortho Molecular Products Natural D-Hist is best known for targeting excessive allergic responses through its potent combination of Quercetin, Bromelain, Vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). People who have used this product have reported long lasting allergy relief and have not experienced symptoms of drowsiness. This product is also free of gluten, corn, yeast, artificial colors and flavors which may be allergens for certain individuals.

Best Antihistamine Products for the Elderly | DR Vitamin Solutions, Stringing Nettle

Stringing Nettle is one of the most popular herbal ingredients for antihistamine support.

PatchMD Allergy Plus Topical Patches are like D-Hist in that they contain Vitamin C, NAC, and flavonoids such as Quercetin, Luteolin, and Rutin. Additionally, this product contains herbal ingredients like Stinging Nettles, Milk Thistle, and Astragalus Root. One of the best perks to using this product is that it is administered as a transdermal patch and is extremely easy to use in elderly patients.

Natural Ophthalmics Allergy Desensitization Eye Drops represent yet another leading natural product in the treatment of rhinitis and allergy related symptoms in the elderly, particularly dry eyes. These drops are completely sterile, have a balanced pH, and are kept within an isotonic solution that contains four homeopathic ingredients.

Wrapping Up What We’ve Learned

Altogether, we have seen that, although antihistamine products are used extensively by the public in relieving allergy symptoms, they may lead to extreme side effects in the elderly which should be avoided at all costs. In order to better treat allergy related symptoms, those who are taking care of the elderly may want to attempt treating their symptoms using natural products with minimal side effects like Ortho Molecular Products Natural D-Hist, PatchMD Allergy Plus Topical Patches, and Natural Ophthalmics Allergy Desensitization Eye Drops.

 

 


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References

Kaliner MA: H1-antihistamines in the elderly. Clin Allergy Immunol. 2002, 17: 465-481.

Slavin RG: Diagnosis and treatment of rhinitis and sinusitis in the elderly. Immunol and Allergy Clinics of N Amer. 1997, 17: 543-556. 10.1016/S0889-8561(05)70329-5.

Yimaz ASS, Corey JP: Rhinitis in the Elderly Current Allergy and Asthma Reports. 2006, 6: 125-131

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