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Loratadine belongs to a group of drugs called anti-histamines and can be used to treat the symptoms of allergic reactions.  It can be used to treat hay fever and related symptoms such as itchy/watery eyes, skin reactions, bites/stings, eczema and certain food related allergies.


It is categorised as a non-drowsy anti-histamine which means you are less likely to feel tired and sleepy after taking the medication compared to some of the more traditional anti-histamines.  


Loratadine is readily available through most pharmacies and comes in both a tablet and liquid preparation.  It is available as a generic drug in addition to the well known brand Claritin.

Loratadine is generally safe and can be taken by adults and children over the age of 2.

 

If you have any of the following, then you shouldn't take Loratadine - 

  • If you have a confirmed or suspected allergic reaction to Loratadine or any of the tablet's ingredients.
  • If you are intolerant to certain sugars (e.g. lactose, sorbitol).
  • If you have a confirmed diagnosis of hepatic impairment (check with your prescriber - depending on degree of impairment a reduced dose may still be suitable).
  • If you have a medical condition which can result in fits, e.g. epilepsy.
  • If you have been diagnosed as suffering from porphyria.

Loratadine is not known to be harmful and therefore can be taken during pregnancy.  Most manufacturers would advise avoiding the use of Loratadine during pregnancy however there is no evidence of any harm being caused.

 

Loratadine is safe to use in breastfeeding mothers as the amount present in breast milk is too small to cause any ill effects 

 

As with all cases, if you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant and/or are breastfeeding, you should check with your GP if it is safe to start taking any new medication.

You should take Loratadine exactly as prescribed by your clinician.

 

The usual dose for adults is 10mg daily (one tablet).  Doses may need calculating if taking a liquid preparation.

Doses will need to be reduced in patients with hepatic impairment (see your GP before taking this medication if you have ever been told your liver function is reduced).

Doses for children are usually calculated by taking the childs age and weight into account.

 

The medication does not need to be taken with food or without food but should be taken with a glass of water and swallowed whole without chewing the tablet (although tablets with a score down the middle can be halved if you have difficuly in swallowing it whole).

 

The medication can be taken daily to prevent the symptoms of hay fever appearing.  Alternatively, it can be taken on a when required basis only when symptoms present themselves.  If you take it regularly and you forget to take a dose at the normal time, then take it as soon as you remember unless it is getting close to when your next dose would be due.  Never take a double dose.

You should take Loratadine exactly as prescribed by your clinician.

 

The usual dose for adults is 10mg daily (one tablet).  Doses may need calculating if taking a liquid preparation.

Doses will need to be reduced in patients with hepatic impairment (see your GP before taking this medication if you have ever been told your liver function is reduced).

Doses for children are usually calculated by taking the childs age and weight into account.

 

The medication does not need to be taken with food or without food but should be taken with a glass of water and swallowed whole without chewing the tablet (although tablets with a score down the middle can be halved if you have difficuly in swallowing it whole).

 

The medication can be taken daily to prevent the symptoms of hay fever appearing.  Alternatively, it can be taken on a when required basis only when symptoms present themselves.  If you take it regularly and you forget to take a dose at the normal time, then take it as soon as you remember unless it is getting close to when your next dose would be due.  Never take a double dose.

Like with all medication Loratadine has the potential to cause some unwanted side effects.  Common side effects can include - 

  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired, sleepy, drowsy, dizzy
  • Feeling nervous


If the symptoms do not settle, then you should stop taking the medication and contact your GP.  

 

It is rare to develop a serious allergic reaction to Loratadine.  A full list of side effects can be seen by accessing the links below.

Visit the NHS website for easy to access information on Cetirizine.

For a thorough and complete list of the product characteristics click here.

Click here if you would like information on what is hay fever and its symptoms.

More information can also be found by reading the patient information leaflet.