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Help With Allergies.

Seasonal allergies affect approximately 6 million children. They have the running nose, itchy eyes, sometimes hives, and general miserableness that goes with allergies. Antihistamines help, but need to be taken a few times throughout the day and may cause drowsiness.

There's a class of prescription antihistamines that have fewer side-effects than the older antihistamines. All these newer antihistamines are available only by prescription and, until recently, none were approved for children under six years old.

This changed in June when Zyrtec was approved for use in children down to two years old. It's a once-a-day antihistamine with fewer side-effects than other antihistamines approved for this young a child.

No drug is side-effect free, and the same is true for Zyrtec. Even though it causes less drowsiness than many other antihistamines, two to four percent of children using the drug had this problem. That compares to one percent of children taking the placebo.

Hopefully, other newer antihistamines will be approved for children. Although no more effective than Zyrtec, they do cause even less drowsiness.

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Publication:Pediatrics for Parents
Date:Feb 1, 1999
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