It’s very important for everybody, especially parents, to know that certain antihistamines are as addictive as recreational drugs. They are also able to produce crippling withdrawal effects that can lead to uncontrolled allergy symptoms due to excess production of histamine in the blood.
There are actually some very effective natural antihistamine withdrawal treatments that can aid your well-being while trying to stop being dependent on drugs. These supplements will either act as natural antihistamines to bring histamine down to a normal level whilst withdrawing, or lessen the effects of the withdrawal due to lack of the drug.
Which Antihistamines are Most Addictive?
According to research done in 2016, there have been a dozen cases of severe withdrawal symptoms after taking OTC levocetirizine. Apparently, these eleven women and one man have been using these medications for 6 months to 3 years. After stopping medication with xyzal completely, they all had severe pruritus (itching) and other allergy symptoms.
The subjects had tried to stop their addiction to this new OTC drug, but they always had to give in because the withdrawal symptoms were unbearable. The researchers at NCBI tried tapering these people off while giving them steroids to avoid withdrawal physically.
We also know that diphenhydramine (Benadryl) causes a dependency as well. Not only that, it will cause nervous system damage when taken chronically. This first-generation allergy medication also causes these uncomfortable short-term symptoms:
- A headache
- Dull vision
Extensive claims highly suggest that these medications also cause a dependency:
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec) – My experience. Zyrtec withdrawal symptoms seem to be the worst for people.
- Steroid nasal sprays. These have proven to produce stimulant chemicals in the brain, like cocaine or caffeine. Many people are dependent on this stuff and it is truly difficult to stop taking them when addicted.
But WebMD says antihistamines are not addictive!
WebMD does not provide accurate health information. Their claims are sometimes very false and vague in a way that it isn’t even an expert response.
An MD contributor Paul Enright has posted on WebMD that antihistamines aren’t addictive because no matter how long you take antihistamines, even if you quit cold turkey, your body won’t be any more allergic to things.
He then says this little gem:
“If you get rid of the windshield on your car, bugs will again hit your face. If you then replace the windshield, it won’t remove the bugs already in your eye. Does this mean that you are “addicted” to the windshield?”
Do you see how “experts” and doctors on the media can sound like a load of crap? So many people are saying now that they are having withdrawals from Zyrtec and getting itchy rashes.
The truth is that TV doctors and even local doctors are influenced by the pharmaceutical companies to promote the health benefits of antihistamines. However, many have claimed that antihistamines have made their allergies uncontrollable?
These doctors are paid tens of thousands from insurance companies by prescribing antihistamines. If he told you the truth (that it’s your diet and lifestyle), he wouldn’t be prescribing anything and wouldn’t be making any money!
The exact same can be said for antibiotics abuse. The over-prescribing of these drugs are bringing an end to the miracle of modern medicine.
Once your online doctor provides some sources to back his claims from a relevant study that accurately supports his claim, then we will consider if antihistamines are safe.
Benadryl Withdrawal and Addiction
When you try to stop taking Benadryl cold turkey, you will have trouble sleeping, allergy symptoms, and trouble concentrating. Benadryl withdrawal is one of the most difficult to go through, I would know. It will have you lying awake all night, especially if you have been taking Benadryl or other Diphenhydramine generic supplements for years.
Personally, I took Benadryl on-and-off for about 2 years to help with getting to sleep some nights as well as treating my seasonal allergies during the day. Eventually, the effects of the Diphenhydramine did not seem to be worth it anymore, so I tried to stop taking it. I had to deal with several weeks of intensified allergy symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and the strangest part was this rash that I developed.
Most people think that the skin reaction is exclusively from stopping Zyrtec, but a Benadryl withdrawal rash was debilitating for me because it developed into psoriasis. I stopped Benadryl cold turkey, which probably isn’t the best idea, and I had started scratching my inverse elbow areas and the equivalent to that area on my legs.
All of the rashes disappeared after the withdrawal phase ended, but one on my left arm stayed for weeks after that because psoriasis had developed. I had an entirely new problem here and I needed to go to the doctor to get psoriasis cream. This is where I kind of realized that allergy medications were just giving me a downward spiral of health problems. Plus, these pills are probably affecting my health in adverse ways anyhow.
This is just a short summary of my Benadryl addiction experience because dealing with the withdrawals also gave me neurological symptoms, nausea, and lack of appetite. If I could go back and try to withdraw from Diphenhydramine again, I would taper off of it slowly and supplement with quercetin and/or a histamine blocker so that histamine levels did not skyrocket for me during this crucial time.
Read more about my extensive Benadryl withdrawal guide here.
Zyrtec Withdrawal Symptoms
Many people who take over-the-counter Cetirizine every day don’t even recognize that they may be addicted to this substance. It’s such a small pill so it’s like whatever, you won’t sneeze right? Who cares?
But many find themselves not able to go without it for even a single day because their allergy symptoms are so bad, even on low pollen days. It seems to be a fad that allergy sufferers stop taking Cetirizine and find out that the Zyrtec withdrawal causes unbearable itchiness on the skin.
Some develop a rash and for others, it’s like little bugs are tickling you all over. I am familiar with this incessant desire to scratch because it’s such an annoying feeling. Sweating during exercise seems to make the itchiness worse during Zyrtec withdrawal. Imagine it’s like tiny spots all over your body (back especially) suddenly itch intensely one-by-one and it’s sometimes so aggravating. It kind of reminds me of somebody withdrawing from crack so I don’t know why we give this stuff to children.
This itching on your skin, along with the increased severity of your seasonal allergy symptoms is due to the dramatic rise in histamine levels in your blood and your digestive system. Thankfully, these effects will die down with time.
If you’d like an estimate as to how long Cetirizine withdrawal will last, I would estimate that a year of addiction will equate to a week of withdrawal symptoms. That’s what it was for me.
If you would like to easily get through the withdrawal phase of Zyrtec, taking a Diamine Oxidase histamine blocker like this one will make it extremely easy. This stuff straight up blocks and degrades the production of histamine by your immune system and from the food that you consume, which could make it worse. When your immune system has returned to normal, you can focus on healing your allergies and you can have the remaining histamine blockers for when you are faced with an emergency high pollen day.
While I was taking Allegra, or Fexofenadine, I finally came to my senses that any innovations in OTC antihistamines probably weren’t going to make my allergies better for the long-term. Allegra is probably one of the cleaner antihistamines, but it still gave me withdrawal symptoms after taking it for 5 months.
Allegra withdrawal symptoms are less physical like Zyrtec or Benadryl might be because it affected me more in my head. I found that when I was taking Allegra, my mood was more depressed and my liver felt more sluggish, which is terrible for your health. But when I stopped taking the OTC Fexofenadine, the side effects that it was causing for my body were more intense for a short time.
So for about a week, my depression got much worse, my motivation went down, and I had other weird cognitive problems. I was having hallucinations that grey shadows and geometric patterns were in my peripheral vision. I also had a terrible headache, couldn’t remember anything, and a pain in my sinuses bothered me a lot.
It seems that antihistamines act on serotonin receptors, which makes sense for my depression symptoms. This makes me fearful of what they are really doing to our bodies and how they can actually affect our thoughts. This also made me realize that it’s time to stop taking antihistamine drugs and find out what my real problem with allergies is.
How I Got Through Antihistamine Withdrawal
If you are among the millions that are addicted to antihistamine drugs right now, you might be thinking that your finances are being sucked out of you by the pharmaceutical companies.
And you’d be right!
I was in that spot a few years back when my food and seasonal allergies were unbearable. It was often very necessary for me to take an antihistamine, or else I would be blowing my nose to no end, sneezing, looking horrible, yeah.
It was embarrassing.
I tried each OTC antihistamine that was available at the time. It seemed that cetirizine (Zyrtec) was the most effective for my allergy symptoms, especially during the Fall and Spring.
However, I would be disappointed to know that this is an allergy drug that makes users suffer when they quit. I can vouch from experience that Zyrtec has some serious addictive potentials. I experienced some annoying itchiness during Zyrtec withdrawal. That seems to me a common symptom that I get. My use of this drug lasted around 5 months and I cannot imagine the pain from taking it for years like some people have.
Eventually, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to be addicted to this drug (I was also dependent on a store-brand nasal spray), so I tried learning about the core and cause of antihistamine dependency and withdrawal and what it really means. I tried a few things like ginger tea and saline nasal spray, but I still felt like garbage.
I knew there had to be something out there that could help nourish me and get me through the withdrawal.
Natural Antihistamine Withdrawal Treatment
Organic quercetin is a non habit-forming natural antihistamine
This Quercetin is the most effective natural antihistamine that has been discovered in nature. If you are suffering from the withdrawal of antihistamines, then organic quercetin will decrease the amount of histamine in your blood, while not affecting your brain harmfully. It can definitely help you get through your Benadryl or Zyrtec withdrawal phase easily.
MSM Crystals will heal sulfur deficiency, a cause of allergy symptoms
MSM is a nutrient that is found in the cells of all plants, animals, and insects. At this time, our soils are undergoing a change due to the overuse of agricultural chemicals and physical practices. Therefore, some minerals like sulfur are not available from our food supply. MSM is the biological form of sulfur that is found in our bodies. Once you take one dose, you’ll feel a world of difference.
MSM crystals can get you through withdrawal because once MSM is in your bloodstream, it eliminates all allergic reactions in your blood and reduces inflammation for 12 hours. A dose is so small, tasteless and inexpensive while working so well for allergies. After the withdrawal phase, you can continue using MSM crystals for their wonderful range of health benefits.
Read more about sulfur and MSM deficiency here.
Histamine Blockers can completely eliminate the effects of histamine
Histamine blockers are a newly-developing science so they are on the pricier side, but they are definitely worth it for some people. For children, the elderly, and immune-impaired, it can really help you get off your antihistamine drug and prevent the annoying symptoms from bothering you. It looks like this one is the best deal for the quality, and its effectiveness is proven by clinical trials and research.
These supplements were designed to help people with histamine intolerance, which is something that you likely have anyway if you have allergies. However, it really works for me in a number of ways, especially if I consume something I am allergic to in food.
Bottom Line: These drugs change your brain / Taper off the drugs
If you take antihistamines regularly, then there may be a serious problem with your health. Antihistamines pills and nasal sprays can change the brain to produce a reward just like recreational drugs and alcohol do.
It’s very understandable that the withdrawal process is very painful, but thing always get worse before they get better in regards to health. If you are suffering from antihistamine dependency, then I suggest that you start tapering off and you try one of the methods that I have used for my severe withdrawal to cetirizine and nasal sprays.
Please let me know how they worked for you if you already tried them!
If you have a question or something to add about natural antihistamine withdrawal treatment , please let me know it in the comments! Also, if you have tried quitting antihistamines, let us know your story and try to help each other deal with life naturally again.
The world is a much better feeling place when you are not addicted to a substance.
I am always here for you,