Eczema treatments: antihistamines

Antihistamines are medicines for reducing allergy symptoms (see here for more on ‘atopic eczema’ and allergies). Some people took antihistamines for only a short time (when the eczema was more severe) or for particular seasons (e.g. summer). Others take antihistamines every day. Laura remembers having to always be ‘prepared’ with antihistamines and an inhaler in case she came into contact with triggers for her asthma, allergies and eczema. She remembers going over to her friends’ houses for sleepovers but couldn’t sleep because she was itchy or wheezy.
Taking an antihistamine helped control itchy eczema for some people. Antihistamines can also make people feel drowsy (sleepy). This was sometimes seen as a good thing for those who struggle to get to sleep at night and found tiredness triggered their eczema. Georgia says taking an antihistamine tablet “helps me sleep a bit better, drop off a bit better”. Others found drowsiness an unhelpful side effect. Alice decided to stop taking antihistamines because she was so tired that she “couldn’t even function”. Himesh sometimes struggled to stay awake in classes as the antihistamines he took made him sleepy for 24 hours. There were some worries about taking antihistamines too often or for the wrong reasons. Shams was careful not to “become dependent” on antihistamines for sleep. See here for more on sleep and night-time.
People mentioned the cost of antihistamines (see also about finances). Shams hasn’t always had time to get a repeat prescription of antihistamines, so he’s sometimes bought them over-the-counter. He says this is more expensive but “essential” for managing his eczema. Evie also buys her antihistamines from a shop as she finds they work just as well and save a trip to the doctors.


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