Users of two common antihistamines—desloratadine and loratadine—have lower mortality rates from cutaneous malignant melanoma than patients who use other antihistamines, researchers reported in Allergy.
Using data from three large registries in Sweden, researchers identified 24,562 patients who were diagnosed with skin cancer between 2006 and 2014. Of those, 1,253 were antihistamine users. Most used desloratadine (n = 395), cetirizine (n = 324), loratadine (n = 251), or clemastine (n = 192).
Particularly in patients aged 65 and older, they found improved survival rates among patients who used desloratadine or loratadine, regardless of patient or tumor characteristics. Additionally, some evidence suggested that the two antihistamines may reduce the risk of developing a new malignant melanoma. None of the other antihistamines were associated with improved survival.
“The finding is interesting and may also help in advanced stages of the disease,” the researchers said. “In addition, the medicines have virtually no side effects.”
They are planning additional studies to investigate the mechanism of action, appropriate dosages, and optimum treatment timeframe.