What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

Antihistamine tablets can assist relieve itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing, but not every types are suitable to take during pregnancy, so always check with a GP beforehand.

Pharmacists are unlikely to sell antihistamines without a prescription for use in pregnancy because of manufacturers’ restrictions.

If you cannot use nasal sprays or eyedrops or they do not work for you, a GP may recommend an antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness, such as:

  1. loratadine – this is generally the first choice for pregnant women because of the quantity of safety data available for it
  2. cetirizine – if loratadine is not suitable or does not work for you, a GP may recommend cetirizine, another antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness

Chlorphenamine is also considered one of the safer antihistamines to take during pregnancy, but because it can cause drowsiness, loratadine and cetirizine are generally the preferred options.

For information about taking specific medicines in pregnancy, see the bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) website.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions pregnant patients enquire their allergist.

Can allergy medications safely be used during pregnancy?

Antihistamines may be useful during pregnancy to treat the nasal and eye symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, the itching of urticaria (hives) or eczema, and as an adjunct to the treatment of serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis (allergic shock).

With the exception of life-threatening anaphylaxis, the benefits from their use must be weighed against any risk to the fetus. Because symptoms may be of such severity to affect maternal eating, sleeping or emotional well-being, and because uncontrolled rhinitis may pre-dispose to sinusitis or may worsen asthma, antihistamines may provide definite benefit during pregnancy.

Chlorpheniramine (ChlorTrimeton®), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) own been used for numerous years during pregnancy with reassuring animal studies.

What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

Generally, chlorpheniramine would be the preferred choice, but a major drawback of these medications is drowsiness and performance impairment in some patients.. Two of the newer less sedating antihistamines loratadine (Claritin®), and cetirizine (Zyrtec®) own reassuring animal and human study data and are currently recommended when indicated for use during pregnancy.

The use of decongestants is more problematic. The nasal spray oxymetazoline (Afrin®, Neo-Synephrine® Long-Acting, etc.) appears to be the safest product because there is minimal, if any, absorption into the blood stream.

However, these and other over-the-counter nasal sprays can cause rebound congestion and actually worsen the condition for which they are used. Their use is generally limited to extremely intermittent use or regular use for only three consecutive days.

Although pseudophedrine (Sudafed®) has been used for years, and studies own been reassuring, there own been recent reports of a slight increase in abdominal wall defects in newborns. Use of decongestants during the first trimester should only be entertained after consideration of the severity of maternal symptoms unrelieved by other medications.

Phenylephrine and phenylpropanolamine are less desirable than pseudophedrine based on the information available.

A corticosteroid nasal spray should be considered in any patient whose allergic nasal symptoms are more than mild and final for more than a few days. These medications prevent symptoms and lessen the need for oral medications.

What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

There are few specific data regarding the safety of intranasal corticosteroids during pregnancy. However, based on the data for the same medications used in an inhaled form (for asthma), budesonide (Rhinocort®) would be considered the intranasal corticosteroid of choice, but other intranasal corticosteroids could be continued if they were providing effective control prior to pregnancy.

When women with asthma and allergies get pregnant, one-third discover their asthma and allergies improved, one-third discover they worsen and one-third remain unchanged.

Allergist James Sublett, MD

Immunotherapy and influenza vaccine

Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) is often effective for those patients in whom symptoms persist despite optimal environmental control and proper drug therapy.

Allergen immunotherapy can be carefully continued during pregnancy in patients who are benefiting and not experiencing adverse reactions. Due to the greater risk of anaphylaxis with increasing doses of immunotherapy and a delay of several months before it becomes effective, it is generally recommended that this therapy not be started during pregnancy.

Patients receiving immunotherapy during pregnancy should be carefully evaluated. It may be appropriate to lower the dosage in order to further reduce the chance of an allergic reaction to the injections.

Influenza (flu) vaccine is recommended for every patients with moderate and severe asthma.

There is no evidence of associated risk to the mom or fetus.

Should I continue my allergy shots during pregnancy?

It is appropriate to continue allergy shots during pregnancy in women who are not having reactions to the shots, because they may lessen your allergic or asthma symptoms. There is no evidence that they own any influence on preventing allergies in the newborn. It is not generally recommended that allergy shots be started during pregnancy.

To summarize: It is extremely significant to monitor closely any asthma or allergic problems during your pregnancy.

In the vast majority of cases, you and your kid can glance forward to a excellent outcome, even if your asthma is severe, so endless as you follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. At the extremely first signs of breathing difficulty, call your doctor.

Remember the harm of providing an inadequate supply of oxygen to your baby is a much greater risk than taking the commonly used asthma medications.

The best way to take control of your allergies and own a healthy pregnancy is to speak with an allergist.

This sheet was reviewed for accuracy 4/17/

About loratadine

Type of medicine Antihistamine (non-drowsy)
Used for Allergies including hay fever and allergic skin rashes
Also called Clarityn® Allergy; Clarityn® Rapide Allergy; Boots One A Day Allergy Relief; LloydsPharmacy Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief; Numark Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief
Available as Tablets, orodispersible tablets (which melt in the mouth) and oral liquid medicine

Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines — it is an anti-allergy medicine.

It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, home dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances. This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops.

The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.

Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can purchase it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Tablet formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Loratadine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.


Antihistamines

Older antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine, are the preferred agents to treat allergic rhinitis during pregnancy and are both Category B medications.

Newer antihistamines such as over-the-counter loratadine (Claritin, generic forms) and cetirizine (Zyrtec, generic forms) are also Pregnancy Category B medications.

A newer prescription antihistamine that is Pregnancy Category B is Xyzal (levocetirizine).


Medicated Nasal Sprays

Cromolyn nasal spray is helpful in treating allergic rhinitis if it is used before exposure to an allergen and prior to the onset of symptoms. This medication is Pregnancy Category B and is available over the counter.

If Cromolyn is not helpful, a nasal steroid spray called Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide) received a Pregnancy Category B rating. Every other steroid nasal sprays are category C) and should be avoided during pregnancy.


Decongestants

Pseudoephedrine (known by the brand name Sudafed and others) is the preferred oral decongestant to treat allergies during pregnancy.

Classified as Pregnancy Category C, pseudoephedrine is known to hazardous in certain situations.


Immunotherapy

Allergy shots can be continued during pregnancy, but it is not recommended to start this treatment while pregnant. Typically the dose of the allergy shots is not increased, and numerous allergists will cut the dose of the allergy shot by 50% during pregnancy.

Some allergists feel that allergy shots should be stopped during pregnancy given the risk of anaphylaxis and the resulting harm to the fetus.

Other than anaphylaxis, no data shows that the allergy shots themselves are actually harmful to the fetus.

How to Treat Allergies During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, allergy medications are classified as either Pregnancy Category B or Category C.

Pseudoephedrine should not be used during the entire first trimester as is linked to a birth defect called gastroschisis in which the baby's intestines are found exterior of the body.

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  • Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ; S
  • Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors.

    What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

    Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • stay indoors whenever possible
  • Kar S, Krishnan A, Preetha K, Mohankar A. A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. ;3(2)– doi/X

  • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ; S
  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Get advice first

Although you can purchase numerous hay fever medicines over the counter, it’s best to get advice from a pharmacist or GP before taking any medicine when you’re pregnant.

What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

They’ll assess your symptoms and the benefits of taking a medicine against the risk of any side effects.

To ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high, it helps to:

  1. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  2. stay indoors whenever possible
  3. keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

If you decide to take hay fever medicine, you’ll generally be advised to attempt a nasal spray or eyedrops first.

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ; S
  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Get advice first

Although you can purchase numerous hay fever medicines over the counter, it’s best to get advice from a pharmacist or GP before taking any medicine when you’re pregnant.

They’ll assess your symptoms and the benefits of taking a medicine against the risk of any side effects.

To ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high, it helps to:

  1. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  2. stay indoors whenever possible
  3. keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

If you decide to take hay fever medicine, you’ll generally be advised to attempt a nasal spray or eyedrops first.


Before taking loratadine

To make certain that this is the correct treatment for you (or your child), before you (or they) start taking loratadine it is significant that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:

  1. You/they are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.
  2. You/they own any liver problems.

    If so, the recommended dose may need to be reduced.

  3. You/they own a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  4. You/they are taking or using any other medicines.

    What allergy medication can you take while pregnant

    This includes any medicines being taken which are available to purchase without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  5. You/they own ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.


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