Aaron Chy, BSc General, PharmD Candidate
Shedding tears of joy over the great weather? No – just allergies?
As the weather warms up and the sun finally stays out longer than 5 o’clock, we can finally say goodbye to winter for good. It’s time to pack up the winter jacket, break out the t-shirts and shorts, and head outside to catch some rays. Unfortunately, for some of us, the change in weather means time to deal with problems we totally forgot about over the winter. Seasonal allergies, also known as “allergic rhinitis,” or more simply “hay fever,” affect countless people annually. In fact, it’s the 12th most common reason for doctor visits.1
Symptoms are caused by pollen and other plant-related allergens that are released every season, and most often include:2
- Runny nose and itchy throat
- Itching, watering and redness in BOTH eyes
Symptoms can range from very mild to being severe enough to put a damper on your whole day. Fortunately, there are several options available to treat allergies.
Second Generation Antihistamines
We’ve covered these before in our previous article. To summarize briefly, first generation antihistamines like Benadryl® can be used to treat seasonal allergies; however, they are usually not recommended due to strong side effects like drowsiness and because they wear off quickly.3On the other hand, newer, second generation antihistamines are often taken once-daily, last a full 24 hours, and are often marketed as “non-drowsy” alternatives. However, this label isn’t always entirely true, as some medications like Reactine® have been known to cause drowsiness in up to 10% of the population.3
Bilastine, also known by its trade name Blexten®, is a new second generation antihistamine that doesn’t cause drowsiness and also doesn’t rely on the liver to be metabolized, meaning it’s much safer and has fewer drug interactions with other medications. It’s also dosed once-daily, just like other modern antihistamines.3
In addition to its use for allergies, Bilastine is also used to treat acute and chronic cases of hives, and it‘s shown to work better and faster than other antihistamines.
Currently, Bilastine is only available with prescription; fortunately, several drug insurance plans cover the medication, potentially saving you a few dollars at the local pharmacy compared to buying over-the-counter medications.
The Bottom Line
Bilastine, or Bilaxten®, is a safe, convenient and effective medication for those looking to treat their allergy symptoms, but can’t afford to deal with the side effects and safety concerns of other allergy medications. If this is something that you would like to try, reach out to a healthcare provider to see if it’s a good fit for you!
As always, we hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at email@example.com with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
- Antonijoan, R., Coimbra, J., Garcia-Gea, C., Puntes, M., Gich, I., Campo, C., & … Labeaga, L. (n.d). Comparative efficacy of bilastine, desloratadine and rupatadine in the suppression of wheal and flare response induced by intradermal histamine in healthy volunteers. Current Medical Research And Opinion, 33(1), 129-136.