I have two questions
related to antihistamine use:
1) I'm able to reach
orgasm through masturbation. However, I have only climaxed once with
a man. This was with my current husband, through oral sex, and a
little bit before we got married (over thirteen years ago). This has
led to frustration and marital problems. I've been taking
antihistamines for about thirteen years for chronic hives (urticaria).
How great of a role does antihistamine use (especially long-term)
play in female sexual dysfunction? I'm currently using Claritin (loratadine).
2) I've been told by
some health practitioners that antihistamine use is safe during
pregnancy and by others that it's not (especially during the first
trimester). Those who have told me it's not safe mention possible
neurological problems such as spina bifida. I've been working on not
taking the antihistamines at all by attempting to control my hives
through diet. Most of the time, I have to take them on a daily
basis. In the event that I'm unable to keep from taking the
antihistamines, would it indeed pose a threat to the unborn baby?
I've not experienced
an orgasm with any other man. I believe anxiety and use of
antihistamines may contribute significantly to my problem. I 've
been taking supplements including Indian herbs for approximately a
month to enhance sex drive, arousal, and orgasms. However, I haven't
noticed much improvement.
Thank you for sharing
your concern with us. I am sorry I could not respond earlier because
I was away attending a regional sexology conference in Chennai.
As regards your questions about antihistamines:
1) It appears to me that your sexual problem is not directly related
to use of antihistamines. If it were, orgasm through masturbation
must have been equally difficult, which was not the case with you.
The second reason is that antihistamines, particularly loratadine,
are not reported to interfere with orgasm. On the contrary there are
reports that claim claritine as a treatment for antidepressant
induced sexual dysfunction including orgasmic dysfunction.
Therefore I have reason to suspect that your orgasmic dysfunction
could be very similar to any other woman's, the only probable
difference is that yours was a bit compounded by the presence of a
chronic health condition. You know, all chronic illnesses affect the
quality of life physically, psychologically and emotionally. It also
affects the life partner in one way or the other and often leads to
marital and sexual problems, arising not out of disease or drugs,
but as a sequale of the illness. It calls for lot of adjustments and
compromises. The disappointments often appear larger than real...
Indirectly all these factors lead to some form of sexual
dysfunction. The thought that you might be having a sexual
dysfunction fosters anxiety which in itself is a culprit in orgasmic
dysfunction. I am sure you must have understood all these things by
now and I am glad that you both are taking marital therapy. The
later should help you understand each other better and, with
specific suggestions, your sexual life should also improve.
I call upon you to recollect your masturbatory experience. How
exactly could you reach orgasm? What mental preparations and
physical acts helped you reach climax? In what way are they
different from your sexual act with your partner? Try to explore
these aspects and incorporate the missing elements into your
partner-sex. Try different positions and techniques if you have not
already done. Adopt positions that allow direct stimulation of
clitoris. You may also wish to use fantasy, erotic movies, vibrators
during sex which can help you reach orgasm faster. The most
important thing is to get rid of anxiety and to relax. Try
practising deep-and-slow breathing exercises every day for 15-20
minutes in the morning and another 15-20 mins. in the evening (empty
Books such as Becoming Orgasmic by Joseph LoPiccolo and For Yourself
by Lonnie Barbach should be of help to you.
2) Regarding safety of
Loratadine in pregnancy, this question does not fall under my
purview. Hence I quote below what I gathered elsewhere, hoping that
it will be of some use to you:
The Net Doctor (UK)'s medical team
has this to say:
"Loratadine is one
of the newer antihistamines, which seems to be less likely to
cause drowsiness than older antihistamines.
The caution on the box is one given with all antihistamine
medication. This relates to the fact that there is insufficient
evidence to state that these drugs are safe to be used in
However there is no evidence that antihistamine medication used
in early pregnancy causes abnormalities in the foetus.
In later pregnancy it is thought that high doses may have toxic
effects. Medication should be used in pregnancy only when the
benefit to the mother is thought to be greater than the risk to
the foetus, and this is especially important from week three
until week 11. Later on in pregnancy medication may affect the
growth of the foetus or have other toxic effects.
It is very unlikely that taking loratadine at a dose of 10mg
daily would have any harmful effects upon a developing foetus,
but the drug is not safe beyond all doubt.
One alternative would be for you to use antihistamine eye drops
and nasal spray rather than an oral medication."
Mayo Clinic, a reputable institute, says:
medication loratadine (Claritin, others) is a category B drug.
This indicates that animal studies haven't shown any risks to
the fetus. But the drug hasn't been adequately tested in human
pregnancy to prove its safety."
In yet another recent
study it was found that Loratadine has no more adverse affects on
pregancy than would occur in normal healthy females. Read it
Allergy and Clinical Immunology: 2003 Mar;111(3):479-83.
Fetal safety of loratadine use in the first trimester of
pregnancy: a multicenter study.
Moretti ME, Caprara D, Coutinho CJ, Bar-Oz B, Berkovitch M,
Addis A, Jovanovski E, Schuler-Faccini L, Koren G.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
BACKGROUND: Women in their childbearing years often require drug
therapy for allergic conditions. Loratadine, a newer nonsedating
antihistamine, is often used because of its preferred side
effect profile. To date no published data exist on the safety of
loratadine use in pregnancy.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether the use of loratadine
in the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with an
increased risk for major malformations. Secondary outcomes
included rates of miscarriage, birth weights, and gestational
age at delivery.
METHODS: All women were prospectively enrolled from 4
participating centers. Detailed maternal medical history and
drug exposures were collected at intake, whereas pregnancy
complications and outcomes were collected at follow-up. A group
of unexposed control subjects were recruited and followed up in
a similar manner.
RESULTS: This report includes follow-up on 161 loratadine
exposed pregnancies and an equal number of unexposed control
subjects. Maternal characteristics (age, pregnancy history,
alcohol consumption, and smoking habits) were not different
between the 2 groups. There were 5 malformations observed in the
exposed group and 6 in the control group, which was not
significantly different. Similarly, the live birth rate,
gestational age at delivery, and birth weights were not
different between the 2 groups.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that loratadine use in
pregnancy is not associated with a large risk for major
malformations. Further studies are warranted to confirm these
findings and to increase study power.
I do hope this information might assure you that you are not a great
risk. However, it would be a safe to get yourself and your future
baby tested regularly during pregnancy so that timely interventions
could be taken in the unlikely event of fetal problems.
I wish you all the best and would be ready to assist you in case you
need further information/help. Please feel free to contact.
I shall also appreciate if you could rate this reply on a scale of 1
to 10, 1 being the least useful and 10 the most useful. You will be
helping us serve you better.
Dr. Poosha Darbha