• Type of Drug: Antihistamine.
  • Prescribed for: Seasonal allergy, stuffy and runny nose, itching of the eyes, scratchy throat caused by allergies, and other allergic symptoms such as rash, itching, or hives. Loratadine is also used for asthmatics whose asthma may be triggered by an allergic reaction.

Loratadine causes less sedation than most other antihistamines available in the United States. It has been widely used and accepted by those who find other antihistamines unacceptable because of the drowsiness and tiredness they cause. Loratadine appears to work in exactly the same way as Chlorpheniramine and other widely used antihistamines.

Cautions and Warnings

Do not take Loratadine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.

People with liver disease should receive smaller doses of Loratadine than others because they are unable to clear the drug as rapidly from their bodies.

Possible Side Effects

  • Most common: headache, dry mouth, and drowsiness or fatigue.
  • Less common: sweating, tearing, male impotence, thirst, flushing, blurred vision, conjunctivitis, earache, eye pain, ringing or buzzing in the ears, weight gain, back pain, leg cramps, chest pain, fever, chills, feelings of ill health, weakness, worsening of allergic symptoms, respiratory infection, breathing difficulty, blood pressure changes, dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, hyperactivity, tingling in the hands or feet, eye-muscle spasms, migraines, tremors, nausea, vomiting, gas, abdominal distress, stomach irritation or upset, constipation, diarrhea, taste changes, appetite changes, toothache, joint or muscle aches or pains, anxiety, depression, agitation, sleeplessness, memory lapse, loss of concentration, paranoia, confusion, nervousness, loss of sex drive, breast pain, vaginal irritation, menstrual changes, dry nose, stuffed nose, runny nose, nosebleeds, sore throat, breathing difficulty, coughing, sneezing, vomiting blood, sneezing, bronchitis, bronchial spasm, laryngitis, itching, rash, dry hair or skin, unusual sensitivity to the sun, black-and-blue marks, altered urination, and urine discoloration.
  • Rare: swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet; yellowing of the skin or eyes; hepatitis; hair loss; seizures; breast enlargement; and erythema multiforme (a very specific skin reaction).

Generic Claritin Drug Interactions

Unlike most other antihistamines, Loratadine is not known to interact with alcohol or other nervous-system depressants to produce drowsiness or loss of coordination.

Loratadine, like other nonsedating antihistamines, may possibly interact with Ketoconazole, Erythromycin, Cimetidine, Ranitidine, or Theophylline. Conclusive evidence for these interactions has not yet been established due to the small numbers of people taking these drug combinations. If you are taking any of these drugs with Loratadine, be sure to report any problems to your doctor.

Food Interactions

Loratadine should be taken on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after food or meals, although it may be taken with food or milk if it upsets your stomach.

Usual Dose of Generic Claritin

  • Adult and Child (over age 12): 10 mg once a day.

People with liver disease should take 10 mg every other day.


Loratadine overdose is likely to cause drowsiness, headache, and rapid heartbeat. Exaggerated drug side effects may also occur. Overdose victims should be given Syrup of Ipecac to make them vomit and be taken to a hospital emergency room for treatment. Call your local poison center or hospital emergency room for instructions. ALWAYS bring the prescription bottle with you.

Special Information

Dizziness or fainting may be the first Sign of serious drug side effects. Call your doctor at once if this happens to you.

Report sore throat, unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, or weakness; or any other unusual side effects to your doctor.

If you forget to take a dose of Loratadine, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next regularly scheduled dose, skip the one you forgot and continue with your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose.

Special Populations


Animal studies of Loratadine have not revealed any adverse effect on the developing fetus. Nevertheless, you should not take any antihistamine without your doctor’s knowledge if you are pregnant.

Loratadine passes easily into breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. Nursing mothers should avoid Loratadine or use an alternative feeding method while taking the medicine.


Seniors are unlikely to experience nervous-system effects with Loratadine, as opposed to some of the older, more sedating antihistamines. However, older adults, especially those with liver disease, will be more likely to experience drug side effects than their younger counterparts. Report any unusual side effects to your doctor.


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