So concludes a new study published in the current issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in which researchers compared 18 previous trials investigating antihistamine-caused sedation levels in 1,500 people between ages 8 and 81.Most of the studies reviewed used doses that were twice the recommended amount -- 50 milligrams -- of diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl and other first-generation "sedating" allergy medications.For people who need to get to sleep, however, the drowsiness is the main benefit of antihistamines.
Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine which the body produces as part of its natural defences.
Histamine is released as a reaction to foreign substances (allergens), and starts a chain reaction that leads to the release of other chemicals that add to the allergic response. There are two different types of antihistamine; sedating antihistamines, which can enter the brain and cause drowsiness and non-sedating antihistamines which do not.
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