Encyclopedia of Medical Immunology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Ian R. Mackay, Noel R. Rose, Dennis K. Ledford, Richard F. Lockey

Topical Antihistamines

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9194-1_246


Topical antihistaminic agents; Topical histamine antagonists; Topical histamine blockers


Topical antihistamines are applied to skin to provide relief of pruritus. Although antihistamines demonstrate H1 and H2 histamine receptor blockades, the exact mechanism of how they exert antipruritic effects remains unknown (Zonalon® and Benadryl® topical cream prescribing information). Two common uses for topical antihistamines are for temporary relief of pain and itching associated with multiple insults, including insect bites, minor skin irritations, and urushiol-induced contact dermatitis associated with the Toxicodendron genus in North America. There is an overarching question to the safety and efficacy of topical antihistamines.

Mechanism of Action

Histamine is an endogenous autacoid amine that has many important physiologic functions in neurotransmission, inflammation, and gastric acid secretion (Thurman 2008). Most notably, histamine is vital in mediating...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical ResearchUniversity of South Florida, College of PharmacyTampaUSA