Claritin: Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects

Claritin is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. Claritin is the brand name for the drug loratadine. It is available for adults and children over age 2.

Claritin and a bunch of flowers
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Active Ingredient


As an antihistamine, loratadine is approved to treat allergy symptoms and hives.


Antihistamines are medications that reduce the effects of histamine, a natural chemical released by the immune system in response to a "threat." Histamine causes allergy symptoms.

Claritin is used to relieve those symptoms of seasonal allergies, hay fever, and hives which include:

Claritin can help many people with allergy symptoms, but the medication may not be appropriate for everyone:

  • If you are using Claritin to treat hives, contact your healthcare provider if they do not improve within three days or if they last for more than six weeks.
  • Do not use Claritin to treat hives that do not itch, are bruised or blistered, or are an unusual color.

Dosage and Directions

Adults and children ages 6 and older:

  • One (10mg) tablet every 24 hours
  • One (10mg) Reditab every 24 hours

Children ages 2 to 6 years old:

  • One (5mg) teaspoon every 24 hours
  • One (5mg) chewable tablet every 24 hours

Children under 2 years old:

  • Ask a doctor

When to Take Claritin

Since Claritin does not cause drowsiness, it can be taken at any time of day. Check the product label to see how much of a particular product you should take within 24 hours.

You can take Claritin with or without food.

Side Effects of Claritin

Some side effects may occur, depending on the individual. Following the directions provided on the medication label can reduce the risk of adverse reactions.

Possible side effects of Claritin to watch for include the following:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleed
  • Sore throat or sores in the mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping at night or falling asleep
  • Nervousness
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pains or diarrhea
  • Red, itchy eyes

When to Seek Emergency Care

Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you have hives and experience difficulty breathing, significant swelling of the tongue or lips, wheezing, difficulty speaking or swallowing, dizziness, drooling, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

These are signs of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Is It OK to Take Claritin Every Day?

Claritin is considered a safe antihistamine that can be used every day, long term. However, there are very rare instances of liver damage that may have been caused by loratadine.

In these cases, the people who developed liver problems may have been pre-disposed to the illnesses.

Warnings and Interactions

While Claritin is available over the counter, you should check with your healthcare provider if you have specific health needs, such as:

  • You are allergic to loratadine, or any other medications.
  • You have ever had asthma, kidney, or liver disease.
  • You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • You have phenylketonuria (PKU). Some rapidly dissolving tablets contain aspartame, which could be dangerous if you have this condition.

Claritin should not be taken alongside some other prescription medications, such as the antibiotic erythromycin. Speak to your pharmacist about other drugs you are taking.

Alcohol Warning

Do not drink alcohol when taking Claritin. It can increase the impact on your nervous system and result in excessive sleepiness, loss of coordination, or overdose. It may also reduce the effectiveness of the antihistamine.


Other over-the-counter allergy medications that can be used in place of Claritin include:

  • Allegra (fexofenadine),
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)

In addition to other medications, there are some natural antihistamines and alternative treatments that you can consider to treat your allergies. These include:

  • Quercetin
  • Vitamin C
  • Stinging nettle
  • Butterbur


Claritin is an over-the-counter antihistamine that can ease common symptoms related to seasonal allergies, hay fever, and hives. It does not cause drowsiness. Formulas are available for children as well as adults. It is generally a safe medication, but talk to your healthcare provider if you have special health needs or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

A Word From Verywell

Keep in mind that Claritin is specifically an allergy medicine. It is not effective when dealing with colds, the flu, or other respiratory infections. Taking Claritin will not help with a runny nose or other irritation caused by viral or bacterial infections. Call your healthcare provider for help with those conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Claritin cause anxiety?

    Claritin (loratadine) causes mild sleepiness, so it is unlikely to cause anxiety. In fact, it may relieve some anxiety. However, other medications that mix loratadine and pseudoephedrine (including Claritin-D) can increase anxiety.

  • Can I take allergy medicine if I have high blood pressure?

    Over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin should not affect your blood pressure. However, allergy medicine that includes a decongestant may raise it. Talk to your healthcare provider before using these medications.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Arshad H, Khan A, Assad U, Kittaneh M, Berkelhammer C. Antihistamine-induced hepatitis: 2 cases involving loratidine. Case Reports in Hepatology. 2016;2016:1-2. doi:10.1155/2016/6890313

  2. American Academy of Family Physicians. Antihistamines.

  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Mixing Alcohol With Medicines.

  4. Głowacka K, Wiela-Hojeńska A. Pseudoephedrine—benefits and risks. IJMS. 2021;22(10):5146. doi:10.3390%2Fijms22105146

Additional Reading
  • "Claritin Allergy Products." Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Inc. 2009. 17 April 09.
  • "Loratadine." MedlinePlus Drug Information 01 Sep 08. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. 17 April 09.

By Kristina Duda, RN
Kristina Duda, BSN, RN, CPN, has been working in healthcare since 2002. She specializes in pediatrics and disease and infection prevention.