Hismanal should not be taken with certain other drugs

Hismanal should not be taken with certain other drugs – antihistamine drug

People who take the non-sedating prescription antihistamine Hismanal (astemizole) should not take certain antifungal or antibiotic drugs at the same time because of the risk of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, commonly known as abnormal heart rhythms. This is the second non-sedating prescription antihistamine found to have tiffs potential drug interaction problem.

Hismanal is prescribed to treat seasonal allergies and hives.

Last October, FDA asked Janssen Pharmaceutica, manufacturer of Hismanal, to warn physicians and other health professionals not to prescribe the antibiotic erythromycin or the anti-fungals Nizoral (ketoconazole) or Sporanox (itraconazole) for people taking Hismanal. FDA took tiffs step after receiving reports of serious arrhythmias in two patients who took Hismanal with erythromycin, or erythromycin plus Nizoral. Subsequently, Janssen submitted preliminary information indicating greatly increased blood levels of Hismanal in patients taking Nizoral.

Although no problems were reported with Sporanox, FDA included it in the warning because it is chemically and pharmacologically similar to Nizoral.

Last July, FDA warned that exceeding Hismanal’s recommended dose of 10 milligrams (one tablet) per day also increased the risk of arrhythmias.

In addition, FDA warned, people with liver disease are at increased risk because they cannot properly metabolize (process) Hismanal. This leads to an accumulation of the drug in the body that can result in arrhythmias and other cardiovascular problems, including cardiac arrest and death.

Last July, FDA also asked Marion Merrell Dow, Inc., to issue a similar warning for its non-sedating prescription anti-histarnine Seldane (terfenadine).

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