- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: loratadine
Drug Class: Antihistamines, 2nd Generation
What is loratadine, and what is it used for?
Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine drug used to relieve nasal and non-nasal symptoms of hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) and to treat chronic itching from hives (chronic idiopathic urticaria).
Antihistamines work by blocking the activity of histamine, a natural chemical irritant in the body that causes allergy symptoms. Loratadine is available over the counter (OTC) in the U.S.
Histamine is a chemical released by mast cells and basophils, types of immune cells, in response to allergen exposure. Histamine binds to histamine H1 receptors, protein molecules located on cell membranes, and activates the immune response that results in inflammation and allergy symptoms. Loratadine binds to histamine H1 receptors, preventing their activation by histamine and the resultant allergic reactions.
Like other second-generation antihistamines, loratadine selectively binds to histamine H1 receptors primarily located on respiratory smooth muscle cells, cells lining blood vessel walls, the gastrointestinal tract, and immune cells. Loratadine does not cross the blood-brain barrier and has no central nervous system (CNS) effects, hence, it does not cause drowsiness, sedation, and impairment of psychomotor functions like first-generation antihistamines do.
Loratadine is approved for use in adults and pediatric patients of age 2 years and older, for the relief of nasal and non-nasal symptoms from:
Who should not take loratadine?
- Do not use loratadine if you are hypersensitive to any of the components in the formulation.
- Do not administer OTC cough medicines containing loratadine to children below 2 years of age and use with caution in children over 2 years.
- Use with caution in elderly patients.
- Use with caution in patients with impaired kidney or liver function.
- Loratadine may potentiate the sedative effect of sedative drugs and alcohol if taken concurrently.
- Some formulations contain benzyl alcohol which has been associated with a potentially fatal “gasping syndrome” in newborns. Use with caution.
- Some formulations may contain phenylalanine, an amino acid. Take with caution if you have phenylketonuria, an inherited disorder with inability to metabolize phenylalanine.
What are the side effects of loratadine?
Common side effects of loratadine include:
- Drowsiness (somnolence)
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Oral inflammation (stomatitis)
- Abdominal pain
- Altered salivation
- Taste perversion (dysgeusia)
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Gas (flatulence)
- Indigestion (dyspepsia)
- Loose stools
- Increase in appetite
- Chest pain
- High or low blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension)
- Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Fainting (syncope)
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Dry nose
- Nasal bleeding (epistaxis)
- Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- Bronchial inflammation (bronchitis)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Inflammation of the voice box (laryngitis)
- Throat inflammation (pharyngitis)
- Flu-like symptoms
- Viral infections
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Sleeplessness (Insomnia)
- Loss of memory (amnesia)
- Lack of concentration
- Reduced skin sensation (hypoesthesia)
- Numbness and tingling (paresthesia)
- High muscle tone (hypertonia)
- Muscle spasm (hyperkinesia)
- Muscle pain (myalgia)
- Weakness (asthenia)
- Lower limb pain
- Back pain
- Joint pain (arthralgia)
- Voice disorder (dysphonia)
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Eyelid twitching (blepharospasm)
- Inflammation of conjunctiva, the membrane over the eye whites and inner eyelid surfaces (conjunctivitis)
- Ear pain (otalgia)
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Dry hair
- Skin rash
- Dry skin (xeroderma)
- Itching (pruritus)
- Skin photosensitivity
- Excessive sweating (diaphoresis)
- Purple bruises due to bleeding beneath the skin (purpuric disease)
- Swelling beneath the skin and mucous membranes (angioedema)
- Changes in urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary retention
- Urine discoloration
- Inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis)
- Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Decreased libido
- Breast pain (mastalgia)
- Weight gain
- Increased thirst
Less common side effects of loratadine include:
- Swelling of extremities (peripheral edema)
- Abnormal liver function
- Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
- Liver tissue death (hepatic necrosis)
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Overgrowth of breast tissue (breast hypertrophy)
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Red skin lesions from drug reaction (erythema multiforme)
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of loratadine?
- 5 mg/5 mL
- 10 mg
- 5 mg
- 5 mg
- 10 mg
- 10 mg
- 10 mg orally once daily or 5 mg twice daily; not to exceed 10 mg/day
- 10 mg orally once daily; not to exceed 10 mg/day
- Renal impairment (GFR below 30 mL/minute): 10 mg orally every other day
- Hepatic impairment: 10 mg orally every other day
- Children below 2 years: Safety and efficacy not established
- Children 2-6 years: 5 mg orally once daily
- Children above 6 years: 10 mg orally once daily; not to exceed 10 mg/day
Children above 6 years: 10 mg orally once daily
Renal impairment (GFR below 30 mL/minute)
- Children 2-6 years: 5 mg orally every other day
- Children 6 years: 10 mg orally every other day
- Children 2-6 years: 5 mg orally every other day
- Children 6 years: 10 mg orally every other day
Claritin RediTabs: Dissolve on the tongue
- Loratadine overdose can cause drowsiness (somnolence), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), and headache in adults, and palpitations and drug-related movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms) in children.
- Overdose treatment is symptomatic and supportive care, which may include inducing vomiting or performing gastric lavage and administration of activated charcoal to eliminate any undigested drug and other measures as deemed necessary.
What drugs interact with loratadine?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Severe Interactions of Loratadine include:
- Serious Interactions of Loratadine include:
- Loratadine has moderate interactions with at least 133 different drugs.
- Loratadine has mild interactions with at least 53 different drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Animal reproductive studies show no fetal harm, however, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies on loratadine use in pregnant women. Use the lowest effective dose of loratadine during pregnancy, only if clearly needed.
- Loratadine is present in breast milk. Make a decision to discontinue nursing or loratadine, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. If a breastfeeding infant is exposed to loratadine in breast milk, monitor the baby for drowsiness, jitteriness, and irritability.
- Antihistamines may reduce milk production if administered before the establishment of lactation.
What else should I know about loratadine?
- Take loratadine exactly as prescribed, or as per label instructions if self-medicating with OTC drug.
- Avoid concurrent use of alcohol and other sedative drugs with loratadine, it may potentiate their sedative effects.
- Although second-generation antihistamines are generally non-sedating, loratadine may cause drowsiness. Exercise caution and avoid driving and other hazardous activities until the drug’s effects can be determined.
- Store safely out of reach of children.
- In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine drug used to relieve nasal and non-nasal symptoms of hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) and to treat chronic itching from hives (chronic idiopathic urticaria). Common side effects of loratadine include headache, drowsiness (somnolence), fatigue, dry mouth (xerostomia), oral inflammation (stomatitis), abdominal pain, altered salivation, taste perversion (dysgeusia), loss of appetite (anorexia), gas (flatulence), indigestion (dyspepsia), constipation, diarrhea, and others. Do not take with alcohol or other sedative drugs. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Related Disease Conditions
How Long Does an Allergic Reaction Last?
Allergic reactions may last for varying lengths of time. They may take a few hours to a few days to disappear. If the exposure to the allergen continues, such as during a spring pollen season, allergic reactions may last for longer periods such as a few weeks to months.
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.
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.
What Are the 4 Types of Allergic Reactions?
Allergists recognize four types of allergic reactions: Type I or anaphylactic reactions, type II or cytotoxic reactions, type III or immunocomplex reactions and type IV or cell-mediated reactions.
Can You Suddenly Become Allergic to Cats?
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What Are the 20 Most Allergic Foods?
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Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
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Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
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Insect Sting Allergies
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Do Allergy Desensitization Shots Work?
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Sinus Infection vs. Allergies
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Are Food Allergies Passed Down Genetically?
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COVID-19 vs. Allergies
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How Do I Know if I Am Lactose Intolerant or Allergic to Milk?
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Why Won’t My Allergy Symptoms Go Away?
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What Is the Fastest Way to Fix Seasonal Allergies?
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What Are the 4 Most Common Allergens?
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How Common Is It to Be Allergic to Nickel?
Nickel allergies are common in 10 percent of the population in the United States and 18 percent of people in North America, including 11 million children.
What Causes Nose Allergies?
Nose allergies can be caused by irritants such as pollen, animal dander, and household dust. Learn about symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
How Do You Know if You Are Allergic to Pollen?
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What Are the Symptoms of Ragweed Allergy?
The common symptoms of ragweed allergy are sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery red eyes, headache, nasal congestion, eye swelling, rashes and coughing.
What Are Typical Allergy Symptoms?
Allergy symptoms differ depending on the type of allergy and body part involved. For example, food allergies may cause different symptoms than nasal allergies or eye allergies. The severity of symptoms may also vary, ranging from mild irritation to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
How Can I Help My Child With a Peanut Allergy?
Since there is no cure for peanut allergies, prevention and keeping an epinephrine injector (EpiPen) on hand is key to helping your child’s allergy.
What Foods Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome?
Oral allergy syndrome, also called pollen food allergy syndrome or PFAS, is a type of food allergy caused by certain allergens found in both pollen and raw vegetables and fruits and some nuts. Foods that cause oral allergy syndrome include those in the birch, grass and ragweed families.
What Does an Allergic Reaction Bump Look Like?
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Should I Exercise Outside if I Have Allergies?
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Why Are Allergies So Bad Right Now 2021?
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How Do You Tell If Your Child Has Allergies or a Cold?
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Is Allergic Conjunctivitis the Same as Conjunctivitis?
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How Do You Get Tested for Food Allergies?
If you develop symptoms of a food allergy, your doctor will have you undergo a skin test or blood test to determine which foods you are allergic to.
What Are Typical Seasonal Allergy Symptoms?
Typical seasonal allergy symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, congestion, and a sore throat.
Is My Sore Throat Allergies or COVID-19?
Sore throat can be a symptom of allergies or COVID-19, and it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Understanding the difference between these two illnesses can help.
Can Fall Allergies Cause Sinus Headaches?
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How Is COVID-19 Different From Allergies?
COVID-19 symptoms are often similar to symptoms of seasonal allergies, so it is important to know how to tell the difference. Learn how to distinguish between the two.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
- loratadine - oral, Claritin
- pseudoephedrine/loratadine 24-hour tablet - oral, Claritin-D
- desloratadine - oral, Clarinex
- loratadine/pseudoephedrine sustained-release - oral, Claritin-D
- loratadine liquid - oral, Claritin
- loratadine dispersible tablet - oral, Alavert ODT, Claritin RediTabs
- desloratadine dispersible tablet - oral, Clarinex Reditabs
- cetirizine (Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy, Zyrtec Hives)
- Side Effects of Claritin (loratadine)
- loratadine, Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin
- Side Effects of Claritin D (loratadine/pseudoephedrine)
- loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
- Side Effects of Clarinex (desloratadine)
- desloratadine (Clarinex, Clarinex Reditabs)
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.