Loratadine for allergies

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Loratadine relieves allergic symptoms.

Take one dose a day.

Loratadine is called a non-drowsy antihistamine; however, it can still cause drowsiness in a few people. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive, or use tools or machines.

Type of medicineAntihistamine (non-drowsy)
Used forAllergies including hayfever and allergic skin rashes
Also calledClarityn® Allergy; Clarityn® Rapide Allergy; Boots Non-Drowsy Hayfever Relief; Galpharm Non-Drowsy Hayfever and Allergy Relief; Lloydspharmacy Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief; Numark Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief; Roletra®
Available asTablets, orodispersible tablets (which melt in the mouth), and oral liquid medicine

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or insect bites can cause some people to produce an excess of a chemical called histamine. This causes allergic symptoms which can include skin rashes, sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny or blocked nose. Loratadine, an antihistamine, blocks the effects of histamine, which helps to relieve these symptoms.

Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can buy it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail units. Tablet formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Loratadine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking loratadine it is important that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • You have liver problems.
  • You have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
  • You are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about loratadine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Recommended doses of loratadine are:
    • For adults and children over 12 years: 10 mg taken once a day.
    • For children over 2 years, weighing more than 30 kg: 10 mg taken once a day.
    • For children over 2 years, weighing less than 30 kg: 5 mg taken once a day.
  • If you are giving loratadine liquid medicine to a child, make sure you follow the dosing instructions on the bottle carefully so that you measure out the correct dose.
  • You can take loratadine before or after meals. Some people find it helps to swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
  • If you are taking a brand of tablet called Clarityn® Rapide Allergy, these are made to dissolve in your mouth so that you can swallow them without needing a drink of water. Remove the tablet carefully from the wrapper (by peeling off the backing) and place it on your tongue. Allow it to disperse in your mouth and then swallow it.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Most people only need to take an antihistamine for a short while when they have symptoms. You should stop taking loratadine once your symptoms have eased.
  • Although loratadine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine, it can still cause drowsiness in a few people. If this happens to you, do not drive or use tools or machines.
  • If you drink alcohol while you are on loratadine, be aware of its effects on you and do not drink more than moderate amounts. Alcohol can increase the risk of side-effects from antihistamines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common one associated with loratadine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any continue or become troublesome.

Loratadine side-effect - this affects less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling tired or sleepyIf this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Loratadine 10 mg Tablets; Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2010.
  • British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
3884 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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