Side effects of sedating antihistamines
Clinical data in human beings are inadequate to establish safety in early pregnancy.Until such data are available, hydroxyzine is contraindicated in early pregnancy.Recent studies have shown that anticholinergics may increase the risk of dementia.These drugs also have numerous side effects in older adults, such as confusion, hallucinations, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, nausea, impaired sweating, inability to empty the bladder completely (urinary retention) and rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
In fact, most over-the-counter sleep aids contain antihistamines.
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Also, diphenhydramine and doxylamine — sedating antihistamines often found in over-the-counter sleep aids — aren't recommended for people who have certain conditions, such as closed-angle glaucoma, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or severe liver disease.
Diphenhydramine and doxylamine have anticholinergic properties that make them poor choices for older adults.