Loratadine for allergies

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 hay fever and allergic skin rashes
Also calledClarityn® Allergy; Clarityn® Rapide Allergy; Boots One A Day 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

Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines - it is an anti-allergy medicine. It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances. This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops. The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.

Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can buy it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. 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 that this is the right treatment for you (or your child), before you (or they) start taking loratadine it is important that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You/they are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • You/they have any liver problems. If so, the recommended dose may need to be reduced.
  • You/they have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • You/they are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines being taken which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You/they have ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.
  • Before starting the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about loratadine, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which could be experienced from taking it.
  • Recommended doses of loratadine are:
    • For adults and for children aged over 12 years: 10 mg taken once a day.
    • For children aged over 2 years weighing 31 kg or more: 10 mg taken once a day.
    • For children aged over 2 years weighing less than 31 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 for the weight of your child.
  • You can take loratadine either with or without food. 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 the tablet to disperse in your mouth, and then swallow.
  • If you forget to take a dose, don't worry, just take the next dose when it is needed and then continue as before. 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 you are affected by drowsiness, do not drive or use a bicycle, and do not 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.
  • If you are having an operation, or any treatment or tests (particularly if it is to test for an allergy), make sure you say that you are taking an antihistamine.
  • If you buy any medicines 'over the counter', check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with an antihistamine. This is because a number of other medicines can increase the risk of side-effects.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with loratadine. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Loratadine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling tired or sleepyDo not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected. Do not drink alcohol
HeadacheDrink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor
Nervousness (in children)Speak with a doctor if troublesome

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to loratadine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • 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.

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.

Did you find this information useful?

Author:
Helen Allen
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
3884 (v25)
Last Checked:
11 January 2017
Next Review:
11 January 2020
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The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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