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What is Pyrilamine?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pyrilamine is an antihistamine medication patients may take to block the activities that take place at histamine receptors, as when people experience allergic reactions and inflammation. Over-the-counter medications for allergy and inflammation often contain this compound, and it is also available by prescription for the treatment of some conditions. It is generally safe for use, but may not always be as effective as some other medications, and patients may experience adverse reactions to the drug.

When people take pyrilamine, it prevents histamine from connecting with receptors. This limits swelling, flushing, sneezing, and itching, as well as watery eyes and nose, symptoms people often experience with allergies. People can take this medication orally to manage issues like hay fever, or apply it as a topical cream, gel, or spray to treat a skin reaction. Medications available without a prescription may have varying concentrations of pyrilamine, and may blend it with other drugs like acetaminophen to treat pain at the same time as the inflammation.

This is a first generation antihistamine, and the most common side effect is drowsiness. It can pass the blood-brain barrier and acts in the brain to make people feel sluggish. For this reason, people cannot take pyrilamine before they plan to operate heavy machinery or engage in other heavy physical activities. It can also be dangerous in people who have not taken it before and are not aware of how drowsy it may make them. It can be helpful to take the first dose before bed, so any drowsiness is not a problem.

Drug conflicts can occur while taking this drug. Before receiving any prescriptions, patients should make sure their doctors know about all medications they are taking. At a pharmacy, people can also get information about potential conflicts between drugs they buy over the counter, including issues like overdoses caused by small concentrations of the same drug in multiple medications. If people notice symptoms like rashes, difficulty breathing, or nausea after taking pyrilamine, they should stop taking the drug and may want to discuss the situation with a doctor to see if they have allergies.

Usually, people can store pyrilamine in a cool, dry place. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets, and it is a good idea to check the expiration date periodically to make sure the medication is still good. This can be a useful drug to keep in stock in a drug cabinet or first aid kit.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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