Loratadine Uses, Side Effects & Interactions

Loratadine is most commonly sold under the name Claritin, and is used to help manage allergic reactions by blocking histamine. Learn how to take it properly.

Loratadine is an antihistamine which is used to block histamine in the body, a substance which causes allergic reactions. Loratadine is not meant to be used to treat hives on the skin and is not meant to be used in place of an epinephrine injector. This medication is intended to be used on a 24 hour dosing schedule, and patients may not take other allergy medications while loratadine is in your system. You may take this medication for long term allergy relief, but you may need to check with a doctor to determine that this is the most effective drug to treat your symptoms and that the high level of antihistamines are not affecting your system.

Indications and Usage

Loratadine is most commonly sold under the brand name Claritin, but may also be sold under the names Agistam, Alavert, Clear-Atadine, Dimetapp ND, Tavist Non-Sedating and Wal-itin. Combination products containing loratadine include Alavert D and Claritin D which also include pseudoephedrine. These medications are used to treat the symptoms of hay fever or other allergic reactions. However, these medications are not effective on allergic reactions on the skin. Loratadine is available in liquid, immediate acting and extended release tablets as well as a rapidly dissolving tablet.

Typically, patients are requested to take loratadine once a day. You can take your medication with or without food. Read the instructions carefully so ensure that you are taking the proper amount of medication as dosing sizes vary by brand. When using a disintegrating tablet, follow the package instructions to ensure that you can remove the tablet without starting the disintegrating process. You will need to swallow your medication whole, though you do not necessarily drink water with your dose aside from the liquid you use to swallow the pill.

Loratadine Dosage

  • Adults and children over the age of 6 are typically given 10 mg of loratadine per day. This usually equates to two teaspoons or one tablet, but you should read the instructions on your package to make sure that this is the case for the brand you are working with.
  • Children ages 2-5 should be limited to 5 mg or one teaspoon of the liquid form of loratadine per day. Children in this age group should not use loratadine tablets.
  • Pregnant women may be able to use loratadine without risk to their fetus, but there are no scientific studies that confirm whether or not this is a risk. Talk with your doctor about this risk before you start using loratadine to ensure that the benefits will outweigh the risks. If you are breastfeeding you may need to avoid using loratadine because it can be transferred to your child through the breast milk, and children are at an increased risk for side effects when exposed to loratadine.

Adults and children with liver failure or renal insufficiency may need to adjust their dosing to ensure that the drug is sufficiently clearing from your system before you take another dose. In most cases, this will mean taking the same sized dose recommended for your age group, but limiting your dosing to every other day. If you have any other concerns regarding how your doses should be administered, ask your doctor what kind of dosing schedule is appropriate for you.

Loratadine Side Effects

Common Side Effects

The most common side effect of loratadine is headache which has been reported in up to 12 percent of users. Other common side effects include drowsiness occurring in 8 percent of users, fatigue in 4 percent and dry mouth in three percent. Drinking plenty of water while your dose is in effect can help alleviate these symptoms. Some who use loratadine regularly report that these side effects get better with time. If your side effects appear to be severe, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not there is a better allergy medication for you.

In Children

Children using loratadine tend to experience more severe side effects than adults. Side effects in children include nervousness, wheezing, fatigue, hyperactivity, abdominal pain, pink eye, voice changes, upper respiratory tract infections and a general ill feeling in the body. These side effects occur in approximately 4 percent of children using loratadine. These side effects are not signs of a serious condition, but you may want to report them to your doctor to determine if they should continue taking loratadine regularly.

Effects of Overdosing

If you begin to suffer from fast or pounding heartbeat, extreme drowsiness, extreme headache or unusual body movements you may be suffering from an overdose of loratadine. Contact emergency medical services or your local poison control center immediately to get help. This is especially important if you begin to have trouble breathing or feel as though you are going to lose consciousness.


  • Allergy. Some people are hypersensitive to the ingredients used in loratadine. If you have had allergic reactions or extreme reactions to medication in the past, ask your doctor about this risk before starting to use this medication for your allergy symptoms. If you have side effects which are severe while using this medication, discontinue your dose right away.
  • You should not use other antihistamines while using loratadine. This can cause an overdose reaction in your body that could be quite dangerous. Read the directions on the package carefully to determine how many hours you must wait before taking another dose of loratadine or use any other type of antihistamine medication.
  • Other medications known to poorly interact with loratadine include erythromycin, cimetidine, and ketoconazole. These can affect the plasma levels in the blood when mixed with loratadine, which can lead to an increased risk of side effects in the patient.
  • Loratadine should not be used with alcohol. This can intensify your side effects, most notably drowsiness. If you consume these two substances at the same time, contact poison control to determine if you require medical attention.

Because loratadine is known for making patients drowsy, you may not be able to perform activities that require your full attention such as driving while this medication is in your system. Wait until you know how this medication is going to affect you before you perform such activities while on loratadine.



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