All About Loratadine (Claritin)

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In This Article

Loratadine (brand name Claritin) is an antihistamine used to treat allergies, (allergic rhinitis), and allergic symptoms including runny nose, itchy eyes, nose, or throat, urticaria (hives), and certain allergic skin reactions. It can be used for both seasonal or perennial allergies. It is considered a tricyclic antihistamine. Loratadine is available over-the-counter.


Loratadine comes in a pill or liquid form. The standard adult dose for loratadine is 10 milligrams (mg) daily. You can take loratadine with or without food. You should follow the instructions given by your physician and pharmacist.

If you miss a dose take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose in which case you should just skip the dose you missed. This medication may be prescribed "off-label" which means that your doctor may prescribe this medication for an illness other than allergies.

If you accidentally take more of this medication than prescribed call Poison Control or 911.

Other Names for Loratadine

Loratadine is sold under the names Claritin, Alavert, Claritin Redi Tabs, and Claritin 24 hour. The following are combination products which contain loratadine: Claritin D, Claritin D 12 hour, Claritin D 24 hour

Precautions and Contraindications

Loratadine should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding without consulting your doctor, as it's safety has not been established.

People with liver problems should talk to their doctor before using loratadine as they usually require a lower dose.

You should not take loratadine if you have previously had an allergic reaction to any medications containing loratadine.

If you have phenylketonuria (PKU), be sure to check the label on quick-dissolve tablets, as they may contain aspartame.

Side Effects

Side effects of loratadine in clinical trials were mild. During clinical trials, sleepiness was not reported more often with the use of loratadine than with a placebo.

Side effects reported with the use of loratadine included:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleed
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nervousness
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleepiness
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal movements (hyperkinesia in children)
  • Alopecia (hair loss, rare)
  • Abnormal liver function (rare) 

Contact your doctor if you have any severe side effects after taking loratadine.

The following side effects need to be treated immediately as they may indicate a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Drooling
  • Wheezing

These conditions may or may not be accompanied by a rash or hives.

Warning and Interactions

Some medications have been shown to interfere with loratadine blood concentrations, including:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Cimetidine

Your doctor should have a complete list of all medications that you are taking including over-the-counter and prescription medications, vitamins, and herbs.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration: AccessData. Label: Claritin.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration: AccessData. Full Prescribing Information: Claritin.

Additional Reading
  • U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Loratadine. Updated May 18, 2018.