H1-antihistamines for the treatment of anaphylaxis with and without shock

October 2017

Emergency Care

Country of origin: USA

Anaphylaxis is a rare, but potentially life-threatening emergency. Evidence suggests that incidence may be increasing rapidly. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include a variety of foods, drugs and insect venoms.

H1-antihistamines are commonly used for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis although the evidence underpinning this treatment is unclear. A systematic review of the literature has been conducted, searching key databases for high quality published and unpublished material on this subject; in addition, experts in this area and relevant pharmaceutical companies were contacted.

The searches failed to retrieve any randomised controlled trials on this subject. The review concludes there is no evidence from randomised controlled trials to support the use of H1-antihistamines in the emergency management of anaphylaxis.

The Cochrane review is available online.

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