What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

Older antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine, are the preferred agents to treat allergic rhinitis during pregnancy and are both Category B medications.

Newer antihistamines such as over-the-counter loratadine (Claritin, generic forms) and cetirizine (Zyrtec, generic forms) are also Pregnancy Category B medications. A newer prescription antihistamine that is Pregnancy Category B is Xyzal (levocetirizine).


Decongestants

Pseudoephedrine (known by the brand name Sudafed and others) is the preferred oral decongestant to treat allergies during pregnancy.

Classified as Pregnancy Category C, pseudoephedrine is known to hazardous in certain situations.


Medicated Nasal Sprays

Cromolyn nasal spray is helpful in treating allergic rhinitis if it is used before exposure to an allergen and prior to the onset of symptoms. This medication is Pregnancy Category B and is available over the counter.

If Cromolyn is not helpful, a nasal steroid spray called Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide) received a Pregnancy Category B rating. Every other steroid nasal sprays are category C) and should be avoided during pregnancy.


Antihistamine tablets (oral antihistamines)

Antihistamine tablets can assist relieve itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing, but not every types are suitable to take during pregnancy, so always check with a GP beforehand.

Pharmacists are unlikely to sell antihistamines without a prescription for use in pregnancy because of manufacturers’ restrictions.

If you cannot use nasal sprays or eyedrops or they do not work for you, a GP may recommend an antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness, such as:

  1. loratadine – this is generally the first choice for pregnant women because of the quantity of safety data available for it
  2. cetirizine – if loratadine is not suitable or does not work for you, a GP may recommend cetirizine, another antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness

Chlorphenamine is also considered one of the safer antihistamines to take during pregnancy, but because it can cause drowsiness, loratadine and cetirizine are generally the preferred options.

For information about taking specific medicines in pregnancy, see the bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) website.

It’s understandable that a lot of women don’t love to take unnecessary medicines when they’re pregnant.

What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

No mother-to-be would ever desire to put her baby at an increased risk of a birth defect caused by medication. However, allergies can make some lady so miserable that medications may be needed just so that allergy symptoms are not taking over their lives.

According to the Food and Drug istration (FDA), no medicines are considered completely safe in pregnancy. This is because no pregnant lady would desire to sign up for a medication safety study while she is pregnant.

Therefore, the FDA has assigned risk categories to medications based on use in pregnancy:

  1. Category C medications may result in adverse effects on the fetus when studied in pregnant animals, but the benefits of these drugs may outweigh the potential risks in humans.
  2. Category B medications own been studied in pregnant animals, which show that they are relatively safe, but no human studies are available.
  3. Category A medications are medications in which there are excellent studies in pregnant women showing the safety of the medication to the baby in the first trimester.

    Few medications are in this category and no asthma medications are rated category A.

  4. Category D medications show clear risk to the fetus, but there may be instances in which the benefits outweigh the risks in humans.
  5. Category X medications show clear evidence of birth defects in animals and/or human studies and should not be used in pregnancy.

Which Medications Are Safe in Pregnancy?



Get advice first

Although you can purchase numerous hay fever medicines over the counter, it’s best to get advice from a pharmacist or GP before taking any medicine when you’re pregnant.

They’ll assess your symptoms and the benefits of taking a medicine against the risk of any side effects.

To ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high, it helps to:

  1. stay indoors whenever possible
  2. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  3. keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

If you decide to take hay fever medicine, you’ll generally be advised to attempt a nasal spray or eyedrops first.


Immunotherapy

Allergy shots can be continued during pregnancy, but it is not recommended to start this treatment while pregnant.

Typically the dose of the allergy shots is not increased, and numerous allergists will cut the dose of the allergy shot by 50% during pregnancy.

Some allergists feel that allergy shots should be stopped during pregnancy given the risk of anaphylaxis and the resulting harm to the fetus. Other than anaphylaxis, no data shows that the allergy shots themselves are actually harmful to the fetus.

How to Treat Allergies During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, allergy medications are classified as either Pregnancy Category B or Category C.

Pseudoephedrine should not be used during the entire first trimester as is linked to a birth defect called gastroschisis in which the baby's intestines are found exterior of the body.

Thanks for your feedback!

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

Read our editorial policy to study more about how we fact-check and hold our content precise, dependable, and trustworthy.

  • Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters.

    What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

    Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.

  • Kar S, Krishnan A, Preetha K, Mohankar A. A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012;3(2):105–108. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.95503

  • Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.
  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

About loratadine

Type of medicine Antihistamine (non-drowsy)
Used for Allergies including hay fever and allergic skin rashes
Also called Clarityn® Allergy; Clarityn® Rapide Allergy; Boots One A Day Allergy Relief; LloydsPharmacy Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief; Numark Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief
Available as Tablets, orodispersible tablets (which melt in the mouth) and oral liquid medicine

Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines — it is an anti-allergy medicine.

It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, home dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances. This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops.

What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.

Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can purchase it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Tablet formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Loratadine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters.

    What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

    Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.

  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

About loratadine

Type of medicine Antihistamine (non-drowsy)
Used for Allergies including hay fever and allergic skin rashes
Also called Clarityn® Allergy; Clarityn® Rapide Allergy; Boots One A Day Allergy Relief; LloydsPharmacy Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief; Numark Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief
Available as Tablets, orodispersible tablets (which melt in the mouth) and oral liquid medicine

Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines — it is an anti-allergy medicine.

What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, home dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances.

What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops. The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.

Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can purchase it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Tablet formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Loratadine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.


Before taking loratadine

To make certain that this is the correct treatment for you (or your child), before you (or they) start taking loratadine it is significant that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:

  1. You/they own any liver problems.

    What allergy medicine can i take if im pregnant

    If so, the recommended dose may need to be reduced.

  2. You/they are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines being taken which are available to purchase without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  3. You/they own a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  4. You/they are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.
  5. You/they own ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.


RELATED VIDEO: