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Clin Pharm. 1989 May;8(5):331-44.

Nonsedating histamine H1-receptor antagonists.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice/Pharmacy Administration, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, PA 19104.


The chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, adverse effects, and dosages of the nonsedating histamine H1-receptor antagonists terfenadine, astemizole, loratadine, and acrivastine are reviewed. Terfenadine and astemizole are chemically unrelated to histamine H1-receptor antagonists such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine. Loratadine is structurally related to the antihistamine azatadine, and acrivastine is a side-chain-reduced metabolite of the antihistamine triprolidine. Like other histamine H1-receptor antagonists, they competitively block histamine receptor sites rather than inhibiting histamine release. All four drugs have relatively long half-lives and are rapidly absorbed after oral administration. Terfenadine, astemizole, and loratadine are metabolized extensively in the liver; terfenadine and astemizole are both 97% protein bound. Terfenadine 60 mg twice daily has been shown to be as effective as conventional antihistamines for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. In clinical trials, astemizole 10 mg daily was comparable to or better than chlorpheniramine for treatment of chronic rhinitis. Both terfenadine and astemizole were effective for treatment of chronic urticaria. For treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis, loratadine combined with pseudoephedrine may be preferable to triprolidine-pseudoephedrine and acrivastine-pseudoephedrine combinations that require more frequent dosing. Acrivastine must be administered more frequently than the other nonsedating antihistamines. None of these four agents impairs psychomotor activity. Infrequently reported adverse effects include dry mouth, skin reactions, and weight gain. The absence of substantial sedative effects and the less-frequent dosing schedules make these agents good alternatives to the classic antihistamines for treatment of seasonal and chronic rhinitis and chronic urticaria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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