Antihistamines are a class of drugs that inhibit the action of histamine by attacking the specific cell receptors meant for histamines. Histamine is an immune substance released by body’s immune system upon attack by allergens or due to intake of histamine-deficient food, some food items also trigger their excessive production which creates immune response. Histamine attaches to specific receptors of body cells which results in symptoms such as running nose, watery eyes, pain, itching, redness, and wheezing. Antihistamines are used to relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies, motion sickness, nausea, cold and cough, anxiety. They are also used to treat skin allergies such as urticarial. Besides being used for seasonal allergies, antihistamines are administered in case of chronic allergies or other recurring conditions.

Changing lifestyle and rise in environmental pollution are projected to increase the number of patients affected with seasonal allergies. According to the World Health Organization’s “White Book on Allergy 2011-2012”, allergic rhinitis affected 10% to 30% of the world population, while lifetime prevalence of urticarial worldwide was above 20%. High prevalence of allergies and increase in incidences among children are projected to augment the intake of antihistamines during the forecast period. Antihistamines are inexpensive and some of them are also available as an over-the-counter medicine. They are preferred as the initial line of treatment for various allergies such as hay fever as they offer quick relief and have low side-effects. These factors are projected to drive the expansion of the global antihistamines market. However, most of these drugs are off-patent and have attracted several small and large-scale generic players, thereby resulting in intense price competition and devaluation of the market.

The global antihistamines market can be segmented based on dosage form, access, distribution channel, and region. In terms of dosage form, the global antihistamines market can be divided into tablets & capsules, liquids, injectable, nasal sprays, and eye drops. The tablets & capsules segment is projected to account for the dominant share of global antihistamines market owing to their low cost, ease of administration, and convenience in storage. In terms of access, the global antihistamines market can be classified into prescription-based and over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines. Major companies are striving to switch their antihistamines drugs from prescription-based to over-the-counter availability, which is estimated to boost the growth of the OTC segment. Based on distribution channel, the global antihistamines market can be segregated into hospital pharmacies, retail pharmacies, drug stores, and online pharmacies. The retail pharmacies segment is anticipated to account for a prominent share in the global antihistamine market during the forecast period.

Geographically, the global antihistamines market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is estimated to constitute a prominent share of the global market during the forecast period, owing to high price of antihistamines in this region and also rise in the trend of self-medication. Moreover, high prevalence of allergic conditions in this region is estimated to propel the antihistamines market. Europe is anticipated to account for a significant share of the global market during the forecast period. According to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, around 100 million people in Europe suffer from allergic rhinitis. Increase in health care expenditure in Asia Pacific is projected to fuel the expansion of the antihistamines market during the forecast period.

Major players operating in the global antihistamines market are Bayer AG, Almirall S.A., Meda Consumer Healthcare Inc., AstraZeneca AB, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis AG, Sanofi SA, Pfizer, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Akorn, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and others.

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