Histamine is the primary mediator involved the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis and chronic urticaria, and this explains the prominent role that histamine H1-receptor antagonists have in the treatment of these disorders. However, histamine is clearly not the only mediator involved in the inflammatory cascade. There is an emerging view that drugs which can inhibit a broader range of inflammatory processes may prove to be more effective in providing symptomatic relief in both allergic rhinitis and chronic urticaria. This is an important consideration of the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) initiative which provides a scientific basis for defining what are the desirable properties of an ‘ideal’ antihistamine. In this review of rupatadine, a newer dual inhibitor of histamine H1- and PAF-receptors, we evaluate the evidence for a mechanism of action which includes anti-inflammatory effects in addition to a powerful inhibition of H1- and PAF-receptors. We assess this in relation to the clinical efficacy (particularly the speed of onset of action) and safety of rupatadine, and importantly its longer term utility in everyday life. In clinical trials, rupatadine has been shown to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU). It has a fast onset of action, producing rapid symptomatic relief, and it also has an extended duration of clinical activity which allows once-daily administration. In comparative clinical trials rupatadine was shown to be at least as effective as drugs such as loratadine, cetirizine, desloratadine and ebastine in reducing allergic symptoms in adult/adolescent patients with seasonal, perennial or persistent allergic rhinitis. Importantly, rupatadine demonstrated no adverse cardiovascular effects in preclinical or extensive clinical testing, nor negative significant effects on cognition or psychomotor performance (including a practical driving study). It improved the overall well-being of patients with allergic rhinitis or CIU based on findings from quality of life questionnaires and patient global rating scores in clinical trials. Thus, rupatadine is a recently introduced dual inhibitor of histamine H1- and PAF-receptors, which has been shown to be an effective and generally well-tolerated treatment for allergic rhinitis and chronic urticaria. It possesses a broader profile of anti-inflammatory properties inhibiting both inflammatory cells and a range of mediators involved in the early- and late-phase inflammatory response, but the clinical relevance of these effects remain to be clarified.