Wonders never cease. At least not in the art of medicine as a treatment for colitis. While the sulfa drugs and the various drugs produced from mold have been startling, the imagination is literally stunned by the prompt and authoritative way in which the antihistamines work in some cases. The wonder is still greater since we do not thoroughly understand how these antihistamine substances actually work.
While we do have a fairly good idea of the chemical mechanics of the sulfa drug and, to some extent, of the antibiotics like penicillin, the antihistamines savor more of magic than of medicine.
It is well to bear in mind, however, that these antihistamine substances, like any other remedy, are but a key to a lock. While they will promptly open the lock for which they are fitted, they are of no use in one for which they are not fitted. Thus, in that very small percentage of cases of colitis which are caused by food allergy, the antihistamines are prompt and efficient in their control of the situation.
However, in other varieties of colitis, they have no favorable effect and should not be used as a treatment for colitis. Indeed, the use of antihistamines, since they are powerful drugs, carries with it a certain risk of bad side effects in every case. When this risk is not counter balanced by a reasonable hope of benefit, there is not much sense in their employment or treatment. Here are some of the bad effects of antihistamines:
Drowsiness and dizziness are prone to occur and vision may be definitely disturbed. In some cases, headache and faintness are evident, and occasionally we see a case where vomiting and diarrhea follow the use of these substances. While these side effects are not uncommon, they are on the other hand not serious since they usually disappear upon withdrawal of the drug. One caution that should be observed, however, is that a person taking these drugs should not drive a car as his vision and his reflexes may not be equal to the task.
Consequently, it is highly unwise for a person not a doctor to try to use them since even doctors themselves are not sure of possible side effects. Do not be enticed by some good friend who says he knows a fellow who had colitis too and was cured by just three or four doses of this or that antihistamine. He may mean well but remember you get no refund on a parachute that does not open, nor any second chance when a powerful drug backfires.