Your guide to lactose-free antihistamines
Woman holding lactose-free sign  

When you’re lactose intolerant, it isn’t just your diet you need to monitor. You’ll need to be careful when it comes to your medicines, too. This can be tricky, especially when hay fever season arrives and you’re suddenly scrambling for antihistamines to soothe your symptoms!

However, if you have a lactose intolerance, it’s not as easy as picking up the first antihistamine box you see on the shelf. In this guide we’ll make a list of lactose-free antihistamines that are both safe and effective. 

After all, you shouldn’t have to choose between your unpleasant lactose intolerance symptoms and allergies!


What is lactose intolerance?


Lactose intolerance can sometimes be mistaken for a dairy allergy, but the two differ. Lactose intolerance involves the digestive system, whereas a dairy allergy involves the immune system.

It’s usually caused when your body doesn’t make enough of an enzyme known as lactase, which helps you to digest lactose. You can develop a lactose intolerance at any age, but it might also be a complication of inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease.

Lactose is included in most dairy products, which is where the confusion can come from! If you’re intolerant to lactose, you’ll know to avoid things like milk, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurt and ice cream. 

It can also be found in processed foods like cereals and sauces, too. It’s important to be vigilant when you’re food shopping or eating out to prevent a bout of uncomfortable symptoms. The same goes when you’re selecting your antihistamines!

Speaking of symptoms, if you consume lactose when you’re intolerant to it, you may experience:

  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eczema
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration

What are antihistamines?


Antihistamines are a type of medicine you take when you have an allergic reaction to something, such as hay fever, hives, and reactions to insect bites or stings. There are two types of antihistamines, drowsy and non-drowsy, and they come in numerous forms, from tablets and syrups to nasal sprays and eye drops.

Around 1 in 10 adults and children have a lactose intolerance here in the UK. If we pair that with hay fever being one of the most common allergies, then it makes sense for there to be a wide range of lactose-free antihistamines, right?


Can you get lactose-free antihistamines? 


Well, lactose-free antihistamines do exist. But there isn’t a specific brand with a lactose-free range, so you really have to keep your eyes peeled for the label. Thankfully, we’re here to do the hard work for you.


The best lactose-free antihistamines


Benadryl Allergy Liquid Release Capsules are lactose-free and non-drowsy, so you don’t have to worry about feeling sluggish throughout the day. They contain the active ingredient cetirizine, an antihistamine that blocks the histamine produced in your body in response to an allergic reaction. 

These capsules help to both relieve and prevent sneezing, coughing, and itching. However, they’re unsuitable for children under the age of twelve.

If cetirizine doesn’t work for you, there are other lactose-free options like Telfast Tablets. These tablets contain the active ingredient fexofenadine, another non-drowsy antihistamine. 

You simply swallow your Telfast tablet whole with water before a meal, and your symptoms should be relieved within an hour, lasting for the next twenty-four hours. Again, these aren’t suitable for children under the age of twelve.


Lactose-free antihistamines for children


If you’re looking for lactose-free antihistamines for your child, we can help with that, too! Your most budget-friendly option would be to choose a brand may vary product or a generic product

These are simply non-branded versions of your favourite medicines. They’re cheaper and just as effective! Try Cetirizine Allergy Relief For Children Oral Solution. This allergy syrup is suitable for children from the age of six to relieve symptoms of hay fever, dust allergies, pet allergies or skin allergies, and it gets to work fast.

If you’d prefer your child to have a healthier, sugar-free option, then Piriteze Allergy Syrup Sugar Free Banana Flavour is your best bet. This syrup contains the same active ingredient, cetirizine, but as it’s branded, it is more expensive.

    Woman suffering from hay fever sneezing into a tissue  

If you’re lactose intolerant, we hope these options provide you with a sense of relief this hay fever season and beyond! When you’re shopping on our site, simply filter the products under ‘lactose-free’ or look for the icon.

Wondering when you’ll need to stock-up on antihistamines? Our hay fever calendar tells you the highs and lows of hay fever season, helping you to plan ahead of time when you’re most likely to be affected.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 07 February 2024
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