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Anti-histamine tablets (non-sedating)

Patient information A-Z


The following are some examples of brand names of non-sedating antihistamine tablets:

  • Cetirizine (Zirtek® )
  • Loratidine (Clarityn® )
  • Fexofenadine (Telfast® )

What are antihistamine tablets and what do they do?

Antihistamine tablets work to reduce itching which many people with kidney diseases find to be a problem, especially at night when they are trying to get to sleep.

Antihistamine tablets such as Cetirizine are known as non-sedating antihistamines as they do not usually make people drowsy, which means that they can be taken during the day and do not cause the drowsiness seen with tablets such as chlorphenamine (Piriton® , which are sedating antihistamine tablets).

Why am I prescribed an antihistamine tablet?

Itching is a common problem in patients with kidney diseases due to a build up of toxins such as urea and phosphate in the body, which can lead to itchy skin.

How do I take my antihistamine tablet?

The non-sedating antihistamine tablets are taken once daily, usually in the morning.

Non-sedating antihistamine tablets should be taken when needed.

Are there any side effects?

The main adverse effects seen with non-sedating antihistamine tablets include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

These side effects should be mild but if you have any concerns about these or any other side effects please contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice.

If you are affected with drowsiness when taking these tablets you should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.

Are there any problems taking antihistamine tablets with any other medications?

Antihistamine tablets such as Cetirizine can enhance the effects of alcohol and so you may feel drowsy if you drink alcohol when taking these tablets.

Only take tablets prescribed for you by your doctor and check with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines.

Further information

Further information about your tablet can be found in the patient information leaflet found in the tablet/capsule box or on the container.

If you have any other questions about your medication, please contact the medicines helpline on 01223 217502.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151