Loratadine: the non-drowsy approach to relieving your allergy symptoms this Spring

Loratadine: the non-drowsy approach to relieving your allergy symptoms this Spring

10/22/2015

Contrary to popular misconception, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is not solely a physical condition. Though generally typified by the physical symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, nasal congestion and itchy eyes, allergic rhinitis can also cause significant impairment to cognitive functioning. Research demonstrates allergic rhinitis is associated with such cognitive difficulties as decreased alertness, ability to focus, and ability to sustain attention, in both adults and children. Unfortunately, many of the first-generation antihistamine medications recommended to gain relief from the physical symptoms of allergic rhinitis, tend to exert sedative effects and exacerbate the cognitive difficulties caused by allergic rhinitis.

Loratadine, commonly retailed as Claratyne®, belongs to a class of second-generation antihistamines called histamine receptor antagonists. Histamine receptor antagonists work by blocking the action of histamine, one of the natural chemicals in the body responsible for many of the physical symptoms of allergic hypersensitivity reactions. Unlike first-generation antihistamines, histamine receptor antagonists are non-sedating. They do not cross the blood-brain barrier, so are much less likely to cause drowsiness and contribute to cognitive impairment.

A study was recently performed by Wilken et al. to assess whether treating allergic rhinitis with Loratadine, a second-generation antihistamine, would enable allergic rhinitis sufferers to cognitively function as well as individuals without allergies. Wilken et al. found, when allergic rhinitis sufferers were treated with loratadine, they performed significantly better on several measures of working memory and complex attention, than untreated allergy sufferers. In addition, upon completing a five day course of loratadine, there was no statistically significant difference evident, in measures of working memory, concentration, sustained attention and visual discrimination and analysis, between allergic rhinitis sufferers receiving loratadine and individuals without diagnosed allergies.

Second-generation non-sedating antihistamines such as Loratadine, are therefore not only effective in relieving the physical symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but also helpful in alleviating the cognitive difficulties experienced by allergic rhinitis sufferers, and restoring cognitive function. Efficient cognitive processing at work and school being so important, this research comes as exciting news for allergy sufferers of all ages.

Allergic Rhinitis affects up to one in four Australians. At the Australian Allergy Centre, our team of medical professionals specialise in the diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis. Skin prick testing for airborne allergens such as pollens, house dust mite, moulds and animal dander, is Medicarerebatable. All consultations with our doctors are Medicare rebatable and no referral is necessary. Contact us today on 1300 MY ALLERGY to book an appointment.

Note: This information is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Individuals should always seek professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist before commencing any new medications.

Reference List:

Wilken, J., Kane, R., Sullivan, C. and Nowak, R. (in press). Cognition and Allergy: CLEAR Study Results. Accessed 13 October, 2015, http://www.academia.edu/9322166/Cognition_and_Allergy_CLEAR_Study_Results

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