Antihistamines - Interactions

Can I drink alcohol when I'm taking an antihistamine?

Alcohol interacts with antihistamines. Probably the effect is greater for the sedative antihistamines, but it can occur with either type. Alcohol and an antihistamine in combination are more likely to make you feel sleepy than either on its own. So the answer is be wary and don't overdo it!

Is it safe to take antihistamines with other medicines?

Some medicines may interact with antihistamines, increasing the side-effects of either or both medicines. Usually it is better to avoid taking antihistamines at the same time as certain medicines, including:

  • Certain types of antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and lofepramine may interact with antihistamines. Other antidepressants such as moclobemide.
  • Antacids, which may interfere with the way the antihistamine is absorbed, thus making it less effective.
  • Other tablets which make you drowsy, as the combination may be too much. For example opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines and Z drugs.
  • A group of medicines called antimuscarinics. This includes medicines such as hyoscine, oxybutynin, propantheline and tolterodine. Because these medicines can give you similar side-effects, such as a dry mouth or problems passing urine, the combination may make the side-effects more serious.

If you are buying your antihistamine from a pharmacy, make sure you tell the pharmacist if you take other medicines so they can advise accordingly.

Also watch the ingredients in other over-the-counter treatments. For example, remedies for coughs and colds may contain antihistamines, in which case you might end up taking double the dose by mistake.

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Author:
Dr Mary Harding
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
9156 (v5)
Last Checked:
05 July 2017
Next Review:
04 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.