- What is loratadine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for loratadine?
- Is loratadine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for loratadine?
- What are the uses for loratadine?
- What are the side effects of loratadine?
- What is the dosage for loratadine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with loratadine?
- Is loratadine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about loratadine?
What is loratadine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Loratadine is a long-acting, non-sedating antihistamine that is used for the treatment of allergies. Histamine is a chemical that causes many of the signs and symptoms of an allergy. Histamine is released from histamine-storing cells (mast cells) and attaches to other cells that have receptors for histamine on their surfaces. Histamine stimulates the cells to release chemicals that produce effects that we associate with allergy, including welts, itching, and tissue swelling. Loratadine blocks one type of histamine receptor (the H1 receptor) and thus prevents activation of cells with H1 receptors by histamine. Unlike some antihistamines, loratadine does not enter the brain from the blood and, therefore, does not cause drowsiness when taken at recommended doses. The FDA approved loratadine in April 1993.
What brand names are available for loratadine?
Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin, and others
What are the uses for loratadine?
- Loratadine is used for the relief of nasal and non-nasal symptoms of seasonal hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
- It is also used to treat patients with chronic welts (urticaria) and allergic skin rash.
What is the dosage for loratadine?
The usual dose of loratadine is 10 mg daily for adults and children older than six years of age. The dose for children 2 to 6 years of age is 5 mg daily.
Which drugs or supplements interact with loratadine?
: Erythromycin, cimetidine (Tagamet), and ketoconazole (Nizoral) increase the blood concentration of loratadine by inhibiting the elimination of loratadine. This may result in increased adverse events from loratadine.
St. John's wort, carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril), and rifampin reduce blood levels of loratadine.
Is loratadine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Loratadine is secreted in breast milk at levels similar to blood levels. Nursing mothers should decide whether to stop breastfeeding or discontinue loratadine.
What else should I know about loratadine?
What preparations of loratadine are available?
- Tablets: 10 mg.
- Tablets, disintegrating: 5 and 10 mg.
- Tablets, chewable: 5 mg.
- Syrup: 5 mg/5 ml.
How should I keep loratadine stored?
Tablets should be stored between 2 C and 30 C (36 F and 86 F), and syrup should be stored between 2 C and 25 C (36 and 77 F).
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Loratadine (Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin, and others) is drug prescribed for the treatment of the symptoms of non-nasal and nasal seasonal allergic rhinitis and hives (urticaria or allergic skin rash). Drug interactions, dosing, and side effects are discussed in the information.
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Related Disease Conditions
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
Chronic rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) causes runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion. Post-nasal drip is drainage of mucus from the sinuses into the throat. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching including infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes covering the whites of the eyes. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents.
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin. Most often the cause of hives is unknown. Sometimes it is a sign of an allergic reaction to food or medications, but the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown. Dermatographism and swelling (angioedema) may accompany hives. Treatment to get rid of hives and alleviate symptoms typically includes antihistamines.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that begins with a large inflamed patch with well-defined scaly borders on the back, chest, or neck. In 1-2 weeks, the person will develop many smaller patches on his or her trunk, arms, and legs. Symptoms include mild itching and possible sore throat, fatigue, nausea, aching, and decreased appetite. Pityriasis rosea typically resolves on its own and symptoms and signs may be treated with topical steroid creams and oral antihistamines.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs of a food allergy reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Lichen planus is a common skin disease that features small, itchy pink or purple spots on the arms or legs. The abnormal areas on the skin in lichen planus are typically flat-topped (hence the term planus), itchy, and frequently have a polygonal or angular shape.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
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Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics may cause eye allergies. Allergic eye conditions include allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Dry eye, tear-duct obstruction, and conjunctivitis due to infection are frequently confused with eye allergies. Eye allergies may be treated with topical antihistamines, decongestants, topical mast-cell stabilizers, topical anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic medications, and allergy shots.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Allergy Treatment Begins at Home
Avoiding allergy triggers at home is one of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation are a few ways to allergy-proof the home. Cleaning, vacuuming, and using HEPA air filters also helps control allergies.
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Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin or eyes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, and anxiety. The most common drugs that people are allergic to include penicillins and penicillin type drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine. Treatment may involve antihistamines or corticosteroids. An EpiPen may be used for life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms.
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can either be delayed and cause a skin rash or immediate, which can lead to anaphylaxis. Avoiding latex is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
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