H1 Antagonist - Pharmacology


In type I hypersensitivity allergic reactions, an allergen (a type of antigen) interacts with and cross-links surface IgE antibodies on mast cells and basophils. Once the mast cell-antibody-antigen complex is formed, a complex series of events that eventually leads to cell degranulation and the release of histamine (and other chemical mediators) from the mast cell or basophil occurs. Once released, histamine can react with local or widespread tissues through histamine receptors.

Histamine, acting on H1-receptors, produces pruritus, vasodilation, hypotension, flushing, headache, tachycardia, bronchoconstriction, increase in vascular permeability, potentiation of pain, and more.

While H1-antihistamines help against these effects, they work only if taken before contact with the allergen. In severe allergies, such as anaphylaxis or angioedema, these effects may be so severe as to be life-threatening. Additional administration of epinephrine, often in the form of an autoinjector (Epi-pen), is required by people with such hypersensitivities.

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