Dr. Gray's Blog

Antihistamines might be helping you sneeze less, but weigh more

A recent study looking at folks taking histamine-1 receptor blockers (aka antihistamines) compared to those taking no antihistamines found that men taking the drugs weighed 20.9 pounds more than men not taking the drugs and were 70% more likely to be overweight. Women taking the antihistamines weighed an average of 9.7 pounds more than women not taking the meds and were 21% more likely to be overweight.

In addition to the weight differences, male antihistamine users had a greater waist circumference, body mass index, and fasting insulin levels, while female users had higher waist circumferences and BMIs.

In case you don’t know which meds we’re talking about, they include Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), and Allegra (fexofenadine).

So, you are left with a dilemma: do you take care of your runny nose and sneezing or do you gain 10-20 pounds? Hmm. Which will it be? Thankfully, there are other options for treating allergic rhinitis (nasal sprays) that don’t lead to weight gain.