Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Respiratory

Claritin

(Loratadine)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Respiratory
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Treats allergy symptoms.

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Our bottom line

Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.

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Upsides

  • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose just as well as other antihistamines, but with less sedation (drowsiness).
  • Also treats hives and itchy skin.
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • Comes as a tablet, liquid, or quick-dissolving tablet.
  • Can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • Okay to take with most other medications because it doesn't have many interactions.
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Downsides

  • For some people, its effectiveness on treating allergies wears off over time.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines (like Zyrtec or Benadryl) are more effective for them.
  • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
  • Not for kids under 2 years.
  • The Reditabs version contains aspartame (phenylalanine).
How it works

Claritin (Loratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Loratadine is a low-drowsiness version.

What to expect when you take Claritin (Loratadine) for Seasonal allergies

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Side effect rates for Claritin (Loratadine)

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These are side effects of Claritin (Loratadine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Claritin (Loratadine)

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  • There are many different over the counter medications with the brand name Claritin (Loratadine). Each one may contain different active ingredients. Be sure to read the labels carefully to understand what kind of medicine you have and what the correct dose should be.

Common concerns from people taking Claritin (Loratadine)

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Pregnancy
Food
  • Claritin (Loratadine) contains aspartame (phenylalanine). People who have phenylketonuria (PKU) can't break down the amino acid phenylalanine. It builds up and causes serious medical problems. If you have PKU, don't use this product.
Sleep
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.