Ketotifen is a medication that was first created to treat allergies and asthma as an antihistamine. It works by calming down mast cells and keeping them from releasing histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. More recently, doctors have realized that ketotifen has some extra benefits that make it helpful for treating certain conditions besides just allergies.
The way ketotifen reduces allergy symptoms is by blocking histamine from attaching to H1 receptors. This alleviates itchiness, sneezing, runny nose, hives, and shortness of breath caused by histamine.
Benefits Of Ketotifen
In addition to its antihistamine effects, ketotifen has a number of other benefits that researchers are still working to fully understand.
- May improve symptoms of asthma: Several studies have found ketotifen can reduce asthma symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, and bronchial hyperreactivity. It may work by reducing airway inflammation.
- It helps relieve itching from hives and eczema: The antihistamine effects of ketotifen help calm down itchiness associated with chronic hives (urticaria) and eczema. It can provide rapid relief.
- May support weight loss: Some research indicates ketotifen may help regulate hunger signals and fat-storage hormones like leptin. This could potentially promote weight loss, especially in those with obesity.
Side Effects of Ketotifen
When used as prescribed under medical supervision, ketotifen is generally well tolerated. However, there are some potential side effects to be aware of:
- Drowsiness: The most common side effect is feeling sedated or drowsy. This is due to the antihistamine effects. Taking it at night can help reduce daytime sleepiness.
- Dry mouth: Decreased saliva production may occur. Sipping water regularly can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
- Headache: Some people may experience headaches, particularly when starting treatment. Headaches often improve over time.
The typical dosage range for ketotifen is 1-2 mg taken 1-3 times per day. The exact dosage prescribed will depend on several factors:
- Age of patient
- Condition being treated
- Response to treatment
- Other medications being taken
For allergic rhinitis or chronic hives, the starting dose is often 1 mg twice a day. The dose may be increased up to 2 mg twice daily if needed.
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