The University Record, October 9, 2000

Letters

The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community. Those on topics of broad University interest will be given preference for publication. Letters should be no more than 500 words in length and must be signed. The editorial staff reserves the right to reject any letter and to edit and/or condense letters for publication. The editorial staff also may limit the number of weeks letters may be published on an issue, and the number of times any one person’s viewpoint on a single issue will be published. Letters may appear in small type. Organizations submitting material must include the name and address of an appropriate officer. Letters must be received by noon Wednesday to receive consideration for publication in the next issue.

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