The University Record, October 9, 2000


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Some allergy drugs better than others

A recent article about the increase in prescription prices suggested that medications for allergic disease were over-prescribed or there were cheaper alternatives that were just as efficacious. I beg to differ on both counts.

Allergic disease affects 40–50 million Americans, and we seem to [be] becoming a more allergic society. The overwhelming majority of over-the-counter antihistamines can cause drowsiness, and some individuals use OTC antihistamines as a sleeping aid because of this profound effect.

A recent study from the University of Iowa showed that the standard doses of diphenhydramine (Benadryl) had an effect on driving comparable to alcohol. A non-sedating antihistamine by comparison had no effect on driving ability. On the Pennsylvania turnpike in 1998, a Greyhound bus crash killed seven people and injured 18. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the driver’s irregular work habits and [said the driver] also was impaired by antihistamines.

For those of us suffering from allergic disease, the non-sedating antihistamines have been a godsend.

Terrance G. Solan, certified registered nurse anesthestist, University Hospital