Some antihistamines cause drowsiness, which can be increased by alcohol. The detrimental effects of alcohol on driving skills are considerably increased by the use of the older more sedative antihistamines (e.g. diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine) and appear to be minimal or absent with the newer non-sedating antihistamines (e.g. cetirizine, loratadine). Note that some of the more sedative antihistamines are common ingredients of cough, cold and influenza remedies.
The degree of impairment will depend on the individual patient. However, warn all patients taking sedating antihistamines of the potential effects, and counsel against driving or undertaking other skilled tasks.
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