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Updated 11 February 2013

Cyproheptadine

Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine drug with anti-serotonergic properties, meaning that it either reduces the effect or the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

1

Cyproheptadine is the active ingredient of Cipla-Actin and Periactin.

General information

Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine drug with anti-serotonergic properties, meaning that it either reduces the effect or the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. As a result appetite is stimulated markedly, an effect that is of particular use in underweight people. It is furthermore used to treat and prevent the symptoms of allergic conditions such as hay fever, including watery and itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

Because of cyproheptadine's significant sedative properties it can be used to treat insomnia. It is reported that the medication also enhances the quality of sleep.

How does cyproheptadine work?

When you are exposed to an allergen, your body reacts by producing a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes the symptoms that we associate with allergy. Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine, meaning that it counteracts the action of histamine to help relieve you of the symptoms of allergy. Its effect on appetite is a result of it reducing the effect of serotonin on the hypothalamus, a part of the brain which regulates appetite.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 2

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Cyproheptadine is an anti-histamine. It also increases appetite.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? No

User information

Onset of effect: Within 60 minute

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Stopping this medicine: This medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: Side effects may be more likely with prolonged use.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have liver disease,
  • you have glaucoma,
  • you have an enlarged prostate,
  • you have difficulty urinating, or
  • you are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Should be used during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed. Discuss with your doctor before use.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 2 years.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as adverse reactions may be more likely.

Driving and hazardous work: This medication should be avoided as it may cause extreme sedation.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol as it may increase sedative effects.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Drowsiness

x

x

Dry mouth/ constipation

x

x

Blurred vision

x

x

Weight gain

x

x

Euphoria, excitement, irritability

x

x

Urinary retention

x

x

Difficulty breathing

x

x

Depression

x

x

Rash/ itchy skin

x

x

Seizures

x

x

Fainting

x

x

Hallucinations

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Alcohol

Increased risk of sedation

Benzodiazepines

Increased risk of sedation

Sedatives

Increased risk of sedation

Other antihistamines

Increased risk of sedation

Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like fluoxetine

Reduced effect of SSRI

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver disease, glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, or if you have difficulty urinating.

Overdose action

An overdose of this medication can be serious. Seek immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include hallucinations, convulsions, dilated pupils, and coma.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 2-4mg 3-4 times a day (maximum 32mg/day).

Children 2-6 years: 2mg 2-3 times a day (maximum 8mg/day)

Children 7-14 years: 2-4mg 2-3 times a day (maximum 16 mg/day)

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
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