Loratadine is an antihistamine medication used for the temporary relief of symptoms related to hay fever, allergies, and hives. It functions by blocking the actions of histamine, a substance responsible for inducing allergic symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itching in the eyes, nose, or throat, and hives-related redness and itching.
Note that loratadine does not prevent hives or other skin reactions caused by allergies. A combination product of loratadine and pseudoephedrine is also available. For information on the use of the loratadine and pseudoephedrine combination product, consult the product label or to seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Uses and Dosage
Loratadine is available in syrup, tablet, and rapidly disintegrating tablet form for oral administration. It is typically taken once daily, with or without food. Follow the instructions on the package label precisely and to seek clarification from a doctor or pharmacist on any unclear aspect.
For the rapidly disintegrating tablet, the package instructions should be followed to remove the tablet from the blister pack without breaking it. The tablet should then be placed immediately on the tongue, where it will dissolve quickly, and can be consumed with or without water.
Avoid using loratadine to treat hives that are discolored, bruised or blistered, or do not itch. In such cases, consult a doctor. In case the hives persist beyond 3 days of treatment or persist for over 6 weeks, stop taking loratadine and consult a doctor.
In case of the following symptoms during treatment for hives with loratadine, emergency medical help should be sought immediately: difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or breathing; swelling in and around the mouth or tongue; wheezing; drooling; dizziness; or loss of consciousness. These symptoms may indicate a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. In such cases, the doctor may prescribe an epinephrine injector (EpiPen). Loratadine should not be used as a substitute for the epinephrine injector.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- feeling tired or drowsy
- stomach pain
- dry mouth
- feeling nervous
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- fast or uneven heart rate
- severe headache
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out
Prior to administering loratadine, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist of any prior allergic reactions to the medication or its inactive ingredients. Your medical history should be disclosed to ensure the safe usage of loratadine. Consult your doctor before self-treating if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease.
While loratadine is generally not known to induce drowsiness when taken at recommended dosages, exercise caution while performing activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery.
In case of hives, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms such as hives of a different color, hives that appear bruised or blistered, or hives that do not itch, as these may be indicators of a more serious condition.
If you have diabetes, phenylketonuria, or are required to limit sugar or aspartame in your diet, caution should be exercised when taking loratadine as liquid products or chewable tablets may contain these substances.
While loratadine may be used during pregnancy, discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. It is also unlikely to cause harm to a nursing infant, but it is advisable to consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Claritin is available in the following forms and strengths:
How long does it take for Claritin to kick in?
For most people, Claritin begins working within three hours after taking it.
Is it OK to use Claritin everyday?
Yes, you can take Claritin daily and long term. It is an antihistamine used to treat for allergy symptoms. If your symptoms are year round then it is able to be taken long term.