Sedating antihistamines for

Diphenhydramine and doxylamine have anticholinergic properties that make them poor choices for older adults.Recent studies have shown that anticholinergics may increase the risk of dementia.In fact, most over-the-counter sleep aids contain antihistamines.These products are intended to be used for only two to three nights at a time, however, such as when stress, travel or other disruptions keep you awake.Antihistamines have been available for more than 50 years, and include older, first-generation versions, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Atarax (hydroxyzine), Periactin (cyproheptadine) and Silenor (doxepin).These medications have significant side effects and therefore led to the development of second-generation antihistamines, which include Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), and Allegra (fexofenadine), which have fewer side effects.

There are some others as well that play a less significant role.Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which might help you fall asleep for a few nights — but routine use of antihistamines for insomnia isn't recommended.Antihistamines induce drowsiness by working against histamine, a chemical produced by the central nervous system.Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis and reactions to insect bites or stings.They're also sometimes used to prevent motion sickness and as a short-term treatment for sleeping difficulties (insomnia).

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