Loratadine or Clarityn is an antihistamine medicine that relieves the symptoms of allergies. It’s used to treat hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis (red, itchy eye), eczema and hives. It’s also used for reactions to insect bites and stings and for some food allergies.
Loratadine is known as a non-drowsy antihistamine. It’s much less likely to make you feel sleepy than some other antihistamines.
It’s best not to drink alcohol while you’re taking loratadine as it can make you feel sleepy.
Who can and can’t take loratadine
Loratadine can be taken by adults and children aged 2 years and older.
Loratadine isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you:
have had an allergy to loratadine or any other medicines in the past
have severe liver failure
have an intolerance to, or cannot absorb, some sugars such as lactose or sucrose
have epilepsy or another illness that puts you at risk of fits
have a rare illness called porphyria
How much should I take?
Loratadine comes as 10mg tablets and as a liquid medicine (labelled either 5mg/ml or 1mg/1ml). You can take loratadine with or without food. The usual dose in adults is 10mg once a day.
When to take it
You may only need to take loratadine on a day you have symptoms, such as if you’ve been exposed to a trigger like animal hair. Or you may need to take it regularly to prevent symptoms, such as hay fever during spring and summer.
Loratadine and breastfeeding
If you’re breastfeeding and your baby was premature or has other health problems, talk to your doctor before taking loratadine.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and loratadine interfere with each other and increase the chances of you having side effects.
Tell your doctor if you’re taking:
amiodarone, a medicine used to treat an irregular heart beat
cimetidine, an indigestion medicine
erythromycin, an antibiotic
ketoconazole, a medicine to treat fungal infections
midodrine, a medicine used to treat low blood pressure
ritonavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
any medicine that makes you feel sleepy, gives you a dry mouth or makes it difficult for you to pee. Taking loratadine might make these side effects worse.