Table 1:

Summary of preferred antihistamines for allergy and urticaria

Antihistamine (standard single adult dose, mg)Available in liquid form?Prescription required?Approval for children?Evidence for safety during pregnancy/breastfeeding
HC (age)FDA* (age)
Bilastine (20)NoYesN/AN/ALack of data
Cetirizine (10)YesNoYes (2 yr)Yes (6 mo)Yes
Desloratadine (5)YesNoYes (2 yr)Yes (6 mo)Yes
Loratadine (10)YesNoYes (2 yr)Yes (1 yr)Yes
Rupatadine (10)YesYesYes (2 yr)N/ALack of data
  • Note: FDA = Food and Drug Administration, HC = Health Canada, N/A = not applicable.

  • * FDA and/or supporting randomized controlled trial evidence for efficacy and safety.

  • Most affordable (see Appendix 1, available at

  • Prescription not required, but can be prescribed and covered by some provincial plans as an affordable route of accessing this medication. However, prescriptions often have barriers to access (e.g., Exceptional Access Program forms with very low approval rates).