Awareness of Family Physicians towards Antihistamines in Allergic Disorders and Pruritis; a Study Conducted On 100 Family Physicians in Pakistan

Erum Shahzad, Muhammad Itban Jamil, Hamza Hafeez


Background: Antihistamines are commonly prescribed in allergic disorders and pruritis. Antihistamines have two generations, first generation having more side effects, while second generation is safe. In our community dermatologists are few in number so mostly family physicians deal with such patients having skin allergies or pruritis and they initially prescribe them antihistamines, so it is necessary to know their awareness about antihistamines use.

Study design & duration: This is a descriptive study completed in duration of six months from January to June 2019.

Setting: Study was conducted on physicians and dermatologists belonging to Hyderabad and Bahawalpur cities.

Patients and methods:  One hundred family physician doctors were included in this study after taking informed consent from them. A validated-questionnaire was designed containing 10 questions about awareness and prescribing schedule of antihistamines, which was filled up and its data was analyzed using statistical software SPSS-20. Chi-square test was applied. Results were calculated in the form of percentages and means, were expressed via tables and graphs. P-value less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.     

Results: Out of total 100 physicians, 35% prescribed first generation of antihistamines while 65% prescribed second generation. Only 20% doctors were aware about ARIA and GA2LEN guidelines about giving priority to second generation antihistamines over older first generation, while 80% were not aware about it. About 65% physicians prescribed various antihistamines to their patients depending on age, pregnancy status and occupation, while 35% did not consider these factors. Only 62% doctors counseled their patients about taking rest, avoid taking alcohol and not to drive while they are taking antihistamine treatment. 10% physicians used to updose 3-4 times same antihistamine in their patients while 90% did not do that.    

Conclusion:  Although most of the family physicians prescribe second generation antihistamine while many of them were not aware properly to their dosing guidelines.


Allergic disorders, pruritis, urticaria, antihistamines, guidelines

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