1 Loratadine

Brand: Clear-Atadine, Dimetapp ND, Alavert, Claritin Reditab, and Claritin

Generic: Loratadine

Loratadine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural histamine in the body. Histamine is known to produce symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and itching, and Loratadine treats these as well as rashes on the skin and other symptoms pertaining to allergies. It is also used for the treatment of hives in people who suffer from chronic skin reactions, however, it does not prevent hives or any other skin reactions. Loratadine essentially belongs to the antihistamine class of medicines.

This medicine is mostly used for the treatment of symptoms related to indoor and outdoor allergies. Loratadine is available as an oral tablet, syrup, or liquid solution.

Loratadine don’ts include:

  • Avoid Loratadine if you are allergic to it, desloratadine, or any of its contents.
  • The disintegrating tablet form of Loratadine, called Claritin reditab, contains phenylalanine, so it is best to talk to the doctor before taking this type of Loratadine, especially if you have phenylketonuria.
  • This medicine should not be given to children below two years of age. You should always check with the doctor before giving any cold or allergy medicine to a child since, in small children, improper use of the medicine can lead to death.

2 Drug interactions

Drug interactions may change the way medicine works. At times, the misuse of the medicine can lead to an increase in the risk of side effects. It is always better to provide the doctor with a list of medicines, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, dietary supplements, herbs, or any other vitamin tablets. Remember not to start, stop, or change the dosage without the doctor’s approval, as it could cause new problems. Loratadine is very similar to desloratadine, so avoid using medications that contain desloratadine while you are on Loratadine.

Loratadine is known to interfere with certain laboratory tests, such as skin allergy testing, thus leading to false results, hence, it is best to inform the doctor beforehand if you are taking this medicine.

3 Before using loratadine

There are certain points one should be aware of before undergoing this course of treatment. Inform the doctor before starting the medicine if any of the following applies to you:

  • If you are allergic to Loratadine or its ingredients
  • If you suffer from certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, liver problems, or asthma
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • If you are nursing a baby
  • If you are allergic to phenylalanine, as there is a form of Loratadine that contains phenylalanine
  • If you are allergic to any food or medicines
  • If you are taking any other medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, vitamins, herbs, or dietary supplements

4 Using loratadine

Use Loratadine exactly as prescribed by the doctor, or check the medicine label for details on dosing and how to take it. Avoid taking larger or smaller doses of Loratadine if not recommended by the doctor, or else it can lead to certain side effects. This medication should not be taken over a long duration. Loratadine should be taken only once a day or as directed by the doctor. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablets; they should be swallowed whole. With the liquid solution, be sure to measure the medicine before taking it with the help of the dosing syringe provided with the medicine. The chewable tablets should be chewed first before swallowing them. Loratadine can be taken with or without food. The doctor will decide the dosage based on various factors, including age, medical conditions, the severity of the medical condition, any other medical illness present, and the body’s response to treatment.
Alavert and Claritin reditab are available in oral disintegrating tablets. Below are a few recommendations when taking either:

  • Until one is ready to take the medicine, be sure it is kept in its blister pack.
  • Open the package and peel the foil. You may damage the foil in the process of pushing it, so avoid pushing the tablet from the foil.
  • Make sure your hands are dry before removing the tablet, then place it in the mouth.
  • Do not try to swallow the tablet whole; it should dissolve in the mouth without chewing.

If you miss a dose of Loratadine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, avoid taking the missed one, else it can lead to an overdose. The symptoms related to an overdose are drowsiness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.

If you are being treated for hives, you may develop symptoms such as drooling, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the tongue, difficulty speaking or breathing, swelling in or around the mouth, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms should not be ignored since they can be life-threatening and can cause a medical condition called anaphylaxis. If the doctor confirms that you have anaphylaxis with hives, they can prescribe an epinephrine injector, or EpiPen. Avoid replacing Loratadine with an epinephrine injector.

Do not self-treat yourself with this medicine without the recommendation of a doctor. Loratadine usually does not lead to any drowsiness if taken in the dose prescribed by the doctor; however, to be on the safe side, avoid the use of machinery, do not drive, and do not carry out any activity that needs the mind to be alert unless you are sure you can carry out the activity safely. The chewable tablets contain aspartame, so if you suffer from the medical condition phenylketonuria, or PKU, or any other condition that would restrict one’s intake of aspartame, check with the doctor before starting the medicine.

5 Dosing

Loratadine is available in the following strengths:

  • Tablets are available in 10mg.
  • The liquid solution is available in 5mg in 5mL.
  • Adult dosage for allergic rhinitis is 10mg, to be taken orally once a day.
  • Adult dosage for Urticaria is 10mg, to be taken orally once a day.
  • Child dosage for allergic rhinitis: For those in the age bracket of two to five years, the dose is 5mg of syrup, to be given orally once a day. For those above six years of age, the dose is 10mg, to be given orally once a day. It can be given in any form, such as capsule, tablet, or disintegrating tablet.
  • Child dosage for Urticaria: For those in the age bracket of two to five years, the dose is 5mg of syrup, to be given orally once a day. For those above six years of age, the dose is 10mg, to be given orally once a day. It can be given in any form, such as capsule, tablet, or disintegrating tablet.

Inform the doctor if the symptoms pertaining to the allergy do not show any improvement, even after three days post-treatment, or if one is suffering from hives that have lasted more than six weeks. If the condition worsens, immediately reach out to a doctor.

6 Loratadine in children

In regards to giving Loratadine to small children, the doctor will guide you on when to give this medicine depending on when the allergy symptoms tend to worsen, whether it is during the day or night. Be sure to give the medicine at the same time each day so it becomes a part of the child’s daily routine, which will also make it easier for you to remember. The doctor will determine the amount of medicine that is right for the child. If using tablets for children, be sure to give them along with a glass of water, juice, or milk. The child should not chew the tablet. If using the liquid solution, be sure to measure correctly with a dosing syringe; do not use a kitchen teaspoon, as it will not provide an exact measurement. Loratadine usually starts working as soon as you take it. If the child has been in contact with something they were allergic to, the symptoms will show improvement within thirty to sixty minutes after taking the medicine. However, if the medicine has been used to prevent an allergic reaction, there is less of a chance of seeing improvement. If the child feels sick less than thirty minutes after taking a dose of Loratadine, you can give them the same dose again, however, if the child is sick more than thirty minutes after giving them the dose of Loratadine, then you need not give them the dose again. You will instead need to wait until it is time for the next normal dose. If the child falls sick again, it is better to reach out to the doctor, since they can advise on what to do based on the child’s condition as well as the specific medicine involved. If you miss giving a dose to the child, give the missed dose as soon as you remember during the day. However, note that there should be a gap of twelve hours before the next dose is due. The child is unlikely to have any side effects if the medicine is given in the recommended dose on a regular basis. If there are side effects, they should be mild and go away in few days. However, if there are still problems after a week’s time, check with the doctor. Other side effects to note are:

  • The child may feel drowsy for a few hours after taking a dose.
  • The child may complain of headache, lightheadedness, or dizziness.
  • The child may get upset, agitated, or restless.
  • The child may complain of vision issues, wherein things look blurry.
  • The child may experience stomach issues or pain.
  • There can be issues of dryness in the mouth, and in such cases, the child can be given oranges or citrus-rich foods to combat it. Also, sipping water in between would also help.

7 Side effects

The common side effects of Loratadine are tiredness, drowsiness, dryness in the mouth, nervousness, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, lack of sleep, vomiting, bleeding from the nose, pain in the stomach, and hyperactivity. These are mostly mild in form and tend to go away in a couple of days or weeks. However, if they remain long or become severe, it is best to bring them to the attention of the doctor. Some individuals may also experience allergic reaction symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or face, and hives.

The serious side effects of Loratadine are severe headaches, uneven or fast heart rate, lightheadedness, and feeling that you might pass out at any moment.

The elderly are on the more sensitive side when it comes to experiencing the side effects of this drug. The most common side effects that elder adults experience are feelings of confusion and drowsiness. These side effects should be monitored and reported to the doctor, or else it can lead to a lack of coordination and an increased risk of falling due to balance issues.