Sedating antihistamines and alcohol
Antihistamines are medicines that can be used to relieve severe itching and help break this cycle.
Often you will find that the itchiness of your skin is reduced when you use regular moisturisers to keep the skin soothed and hydrated, and control the inflammation with topical corticosteroids or other newer medicines.
More information about the potential side-effects associated with each specific medicine can be found in the patient information leaflet that will be provided with the medicine.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start taking a new medicine.
Antihistamines are also available as creams, but these too are ineffective at reducing the itchiness of eczema and can cause allergic reactions in the skin.
Antihistamines may cause side effects that could worsen conditions, such as glaucoma, enlarged prostate gland, retention of urine, or obstruction of the gut, and for this reason they should be used with caution in these conditions.
Antihistamines can be used in children though age limits do apply: hydroxyzine is not recommended for children under six months, and promethazine and alimemazine are not recommended for children under two years.
Antihistamines are most commonly used to control the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever.
It causes an increase in blood flow to the area of the allergy, and the release of other chemicals that add to the allergic response.
All this results in the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
In addition, if you have liver or kidney disease you may need a lower dose of these medicines, though this depends on the particular medicine prescribed.
Medicines that are not totally essential should ideally be avoided during pregnancy, and pregnant women should not take antihistamines unless prescribed by a doctor.