Treatment search

Antihistamines may help solve long COVID, scientists say: treatment discovered by accident

Antihistamines could provide relief to millions of people suffering from the painful and debilitating symptoms of long COVID that can be so severe that daily life can be affected.

The effects of COVID-19 on individuals can range from mild symptoms to several weeks of illness, but various conditions, including brain fog, joint pain and fatigue, can last for months after initial infection – collectively referred to as long COVID. .

The realization that antihistamines could provide some relief came by chance after two healthy, active middle-aged women with long COVID discovered that the pills helped.

The two women, who have not been identified, were taking over-the-counter antihistamines to treat other conditions.

Two long-time COVID patients in California, including one who was a healthcare worker, almost completely alleviated their symptoms by taking antihistamines daily

The first woman, a healthcare worker in her 40s, triggered a dairy allergy by eating cheese, and the second woman ran out of the allergy medications she usually took, and experienced an improvement in her cognition and much less fatigue the next morning.

In the first case, the woman with long-term COVID-19 was unable to exercise and suffered from chest pain, headache, rash and bruising, while the second had to cope joint and abdominal pain, as well as rashes and lesions. known as “COVID toes”. She is believed to have been one of the first people in the United States to fall ill with COVID.

In the first case, after accidentally eating cheese about six months after having long COVID, she took a 50mg pill of the antihistamine diphenhydramine and suddenly noticed that her fatigue was all but gone.

The woman took no other antihistamines for 72 hours; when her symptoms returned, she took the medication and again found relief.

Her doctor then prescribed her a daily dose of an antihistamine which significantly reduced her long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms. She eventually said she had regained 90% of her pre-COVID-19 daily functions. Nine months later, she is said to be still doing well.

The evidence is anecdotal, but similar positive results from taking antihistamines have been found in previous studies.

The evidence is anecdotal, but similar positive results from taking antihistamines have been found in previous studies.

In the second case, the woman took another over-the-counter antihistamine to replace what she had been taking for years to manage her seasonal allergies.

She noticed that her long fatigue due to COVID-19 and her overall cognition had improved. She also continued to take it daily with other allergy medications.

The second woman also found that she significantly reduced her long additional symptoms of COVID-19, regaining 95% of her overall functioning, before she contracted the disease.

Both cases were reviewed by nursing scholars at the University of California, Irvine, and the results were published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

“Patients tell us that they wish more than anything to be able to work and do the most basic activities they were used to before getting sick with long COVID. They are desperate for something to help them get back on their feet,’ report author Melissa Pinto, associate professor of nursing at UC Irvine, told UCI News.

“Patients tell us that they wish more than anything to be able to work and do the most basic activities they were used to before getting sick with long COVID.  They are desperate for something to help them get back on their feet,' report author Melissa Pinto said in the photo. should offer hope to the estimated 54 million people around the world who have been in distress for months, if not years.

“Patients tell us that they wish more than anything to be able to work and do the most basic activities they were used to before getting sick with long COVID. They are desperate for something to help them get back on their feet,’ report author Melissa Pinto said in the photo. should offer hope to the estimated 54 million people around the world who have been in distress for months, if not years.

“Currently, there is no cure for [for long COVID], symptom management only. A number of options are being tried, including antihistamines. The possibility that an easily accessible over-the-counter drug could ease some of the symptoms should give hope to the estimated 54 million people around the world who have been in distress for months or even years.

If correct, it would match what has been found in previous studies, including those documented in the Journal of Investigative Medicine and Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, which also showed similar benefits to using antihistamines for treat the long COVID.

“Most patients tell us that providers didn’t recommend anything that helped them. If patients wish to try over-the-counter antihistamines, I urge them to do so under medical supervision. And because providers may not be aware of potential new treatments, I would encourage patients to be active in their care and to consider taking research and case reports like ours to appointments with providers. so they can help create a diet that will work,’ Pinto said.

“The next steps in this antihistamine treatment research are to conduct large-scale trials to assess efficacy and to develop dosing regimens for clinical practice guidelines.”