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Use of antihistamines in pediatrics


A del Cuvillo,1 J Sastre,2 J Montoro,3 I Jáuregui,4 M Ferrer,5 I Dávila,6 J Bartra,7 J Mullol,8 A Valero,7

1 Clínica Dr. Lobatón, Cádiz, Spain
2 Service of Allergy, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid, Spain
3 Allergy Unit, Hospital La Plana, Villarreal (Castellón), Spain
4 Service of Allergy, Hospital de Basurto, Bilbao, Spain
5 Department of Allergology, Clínica Universitaria de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
6 Service of Immunoallergy, Hospital Clínico, Salamanca, Spain
7 Allergy Unit. Service of Pneumology and Respiratory Allergy, Hospital Clínic (ICT), Barcelona, Spain
8 Rhinology Unit, ENT Service (ICEMEQ), Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2007; Vol. 17, Suppl. 2: 28-40



Drugs with antihistamine action are among the most commonly prescribed medicines in pediatrics. According to the International Medical Statistics (IMS), almost two million antihistamine units (in solution) for pediatric use were sold in Spain during 2006 - at a cost of nearly 6 million euros. Of this amount, 34% corresponded to first-generation (or sedating) antihistamines.
The difficulties inherent to research for drug development increase considerably when the pediatric age range is involved. The use of any medication in this age group must adhere to the strictest safety criteria, and must offer the maximum guarantees of effi cacy. For this reason, detailed knowledge of the best scientific evidence available in relation to these aspects is essential for warranting drug use.
The first-generation antihistamines have never been adequately studied for pediatric age groups, though they are still widely used in application to such patients. In contrast, studies in children have been made with the second-generation antihistamines, allowing us to know their safety profile, and such medicines are available at pediatric dosages that have been well documented from the pharmacological perspective.
The present review affords an update to our most recent knowledge on antihistamine use in children, based on the best scientific evidence available.

Key words: Antihistamines. Pediatrics. Children. Allergic rhinitis. Atopic dermatitis. Allergic conjunctivitis.