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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simon Thomas
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Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergy, dizziness and nausea. The sedating antihistamines are non-specific in their actions and often have marked anticholinergic effects. Features of overdose include tachycardia, blood pressure disturbances, dry mouth, ataxia, agitation, psychosis and, uncommonly, convulsions. Sedation is exacerbated by associated alcohol consumption. Non-sedating antihistamines are less toxic in overdose but may cause tachycardia, drowsiness, gastrointestinal disturbances and headache. Arrhythmias have occasionally been reported with sedating and non-sedating antihistamine overdose. Treatment of antihistamine overdose includes activated charcoal (when indicated) and general supportive care. Cardiovascular monitoring, including of the electrocardiogram, is appropriate. Convulsions should be treated with a benzodiazepine. Patients who have not developed toxicity within 6 hours of overdose are unlikely to do so.
Author(s): Thomas SHL
Publication type: Review
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/03/2012
ISSN (print): 0304-5412
ISSN (electronic): 1578-8822