What Is Loratadine?

How and why Loratadine works for hayfever and other allergies


Loratadine is a type of antihistamine that relieves the symptoms of an allergic reaction. You might know it as Clarityn, which is the brand name. It's used to treat the symptoms associated with hay fever, eczema, hives and conjunctivitis. 

How does it work? 

When you take antihistamines, they stop a chemical called histamine from being released. Histamine is usually triggered during an infection, but when you have an allergy, the body sees the allergen as a threat and triggers the release of histamine. The chemical causes symptoms like a runny nose or eyes, sneezing, itching or a rash. 

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How do I take Loratadine?

Loratadine is usually taken once a day as a 10mg dose. If you're taking them in tablet form, swallow them whole with a drink. The melt-in-mouth version is simply placed on your tongue to dissolve. You can either take it every day to prevent symptoms from flaring up, or as and when you need it. For hay fever, you'll likely need to take it every day during pollen season. After you take Loratadine, it will work quickly, and you'll feel better after an hour or so. 

Is Loratadine suitable for me? 

In some instances, Loratadine might not be suitable, for example, if you have certain medical conditions or allergies. These include: 

  • Severe liver failure 
  • Lactose or sucrose intolerance 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Porphyria 
  • An allergy to Loratadine 

Apart from these situations, the medicine is safe for children over the age of 2 and adults. It's also perfectly safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take. 

If you're taking certain types of medication, then Loratadine might interact with them. If you are taking any of the following then ask your doctor for advice: 

  • Amiodarone 
  • Cimetidine 
  • Erythromycin 
  • Ketoconazole 
  • Midodrine 
  • Ritonavir 
  • Any other type of medicine causing drowsiness or affecting urination, including herbal remedies 

You should avoid drinking alcohol while you're taking Loratadine as this can exacerbate the drowsy effect. 

What are the side effects? 

Loratadine is a newer type of antihistamine, which means it's non-drowsy. Older forms of antihistamines caused drowsiness after taking them, having an impact on your productivity and ability to enjoy your day. While Loratadine is a non-drowsy medication, it can still cause a feeling of sleepiness in some people. Children might experience: 

  • A headache 
  • Tiredness 
  • Nervousness 

If you feel drowsy after taking it, avoid driving until you feel better. 

See our full range of available hay fever treatments.


NHS > Loratadine
NHS > Antihistamines

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