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Product Overview

Loratadine (generic Claritin)

  • What is loratadine?
    Loratadine (generic Claritin) is an over-the-counter drug used to alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies. You do not need a prescription to access loratadine.

    If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have liver or kidney disease, ask your doctor before taking loratadine.

  • What are common side effects of loratadine?
    While adverse reactions to loratadine are rare, some patients who take the drug may experience mild side effects, including headache, nosebleed, sore throat, mouth sores, trouble falling or staying asleep, nervousness, weakness, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

    Rare, more serious adverse events have been known to occur, including rash, hives, itching, swelling, hoarseness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and wheezing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your doctor.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Allison Edwards, MD

Frequently asked questions about loratadine

Loratadine - often sold under the brand name Claritin - is a medication used to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies in adults and children ages 6 and older. Loratadine is what’s known as a “non-sedating antihistamine,” which works by blocking a natural substance (histamine) that causes allergic symptoms. You do not need a prescription to use Loratadine.

Allergies are very common. More than 50 million Americans experience them - and the runny noses and sore throats that come with them - each year. Allergies occur when your immune system gets confused and overreacts. In some cases, your body erroneously thinks that seasonal irritants, like pollen, for example, are harmful attackers and triggers an immune response to fend them off. A natural substance in your body called histamine induces this response.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved loratadine to relieve the symptoms of hay fever (allergy to dust, pollen, or other particles in the air) and other allergies such as dust mites, animal dander, and molds. These symptoms may include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. Loratadine can also be used to treat the itching and redness of the skin caused by hives (which doctors sometimes call urticaria).

Loratadine is a non-sedating antihistamine. Antihistamines work by completely blocking the effects of a substance called histamine in your body.

Histamine is released by your body when it detects something harmful, such as an infection. This causes your blood vessels to expand and your skin to swell, which helps to protect the body. When people have allergies, the body mistakes harmless particles in the air - like animal hair, pollen, or dust - for a threat and releases histamine. This flood of histamine causes unpleasant symptoms like itching, sneezing, and a runny nose. Blocking the release of histamine helps to relieve these symptoms.

Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine. Second-generation antihistamines are more selective about which receptors they block and do not cross the blood-brain barrier. This helps to reduce or eliminate adverse effects like sedation while still providing relief.

While there are some common side effects associated with loratadine, it is important to remember that your doctor prescribed this medication because they believe that its ability to control your allergies outweighs any adverse effects it may cause.

You may still experience some common side effects, though. These can include:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleed
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Nervousness
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Red or itchy eyes

Call your doctor if any of these side effects are severe or if they do not go away.

Stop taking loratadine and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Wheezing

This is not a complete list of loratadine side effects. For more information on adverse effects you may experience while taking this drug, visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

Most people will feel the effects of loratadine within the first hour of taking it and will experience at least 24 hours of symptom relief with a single dose.

The suggested dose for patients 6 and older is one 10 mg tablet every 24 hours. Try to take it around the same time each day. Do not take more than directed.

Follow the directions on the package label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you don’t understand.

Good news! Loratadine is available over-the-counter. This means it is widely available for purchase at most retail health stores without a prescription from a doctor.

Not sure if loratadine is right for you? Book a convenient and affordable virtual visit on Sesame to talk about your treatment options with a licensed health care provider.

Yes! Talk to a provider on Sesame and get your online doctor prescription or refill ordered right away for fast and convenient pickup from a pharmacy of your choice.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your clinician.

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