How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Loratadine belongs to the class of medications called second-generation antihistamines, specifically the class known as histamine receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of one of the body's natural chemicals known as histamine. Histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms caused by allergies.
Loratadine is used for the relief of symptoms associated with seasonal allergies, including sneezing, itchy and runny nose, and tearing and redness of the eyes. It is also used for the relief of symptoms associated with allergic skin conditions, including chronic hives and other skin disorders. Loratadine is also used for the relief of symptoms associated with year-round allergies. Loratadine usually starts working within 2 hours and lasts for 24 hours.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each oval, transparent, blue gelatin capsule and engraved with a "10" logo, contains loratadine 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: triglycerides, mono- and di-glycerides, povidone, polysorbate, purified water, gelatin, glycerin, sorbitol sorbitan solution, and FD&C Blue.
How should I use this medication?
Tablets: For adults and children 12 years of age and older, the recommended dose of loratadine is 10 mg once daily. The regular tablets may be taken with or without food. The rapid-dissolving tablets should be taken on an empty stomach. Water or other liquids are not necessary with the rapid-dissolving tablets as they will melt instantly on the tongue.
Capsules: For adults and children 12 years of age and older, the recommended dose of loratadine is 10 mg once daily with water. Syrup: A liquid form of loratadine is available for children 2 years of age and older, as well as adults who are unable to swallow tablets. The recommended dose of loratadine syrup for adults and children over 10 years of age (weighing more than 30 kg) is 10 mL (10 mg) once daily. The recommended dose for children 2 to 9 years of age (weighing 30 kg or less) is 5 mL (5 mg) once daily.
Children between 2 to 12 years of age should not take loratadine for longer than 14 days unless recommended by a doctor. Adults and children over 12 years of age can loratadine for up to 6 months.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as suggested by your doctor or pharmacist. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take more than one dose in 24 hours. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this mediction if you are allergic to loratadine or to any of the ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- dry mouth
- nervousness or restlessness (especially in children)
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- hair loss
- pounding, fast, or irregular heartbeat
- signs of liver problems (e.g., dark urine, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, pale stools, skin itching, vomiting, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
- stomach pain
- symptoms of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of the face and throat
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Drowsiness: Loratadine usually causes minimal drowsiness when used as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are taking higher-than-recommended doses of loratadine, you may experience drowsiness. Do not drive or operate machinery if you become drowsy while taking this medication.
Liver problems: If you have reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with severely reduced liver function should take a lower dose (5 mg once daily or 10 mg every other day) of this medication.
Pregnancy: The safety of using this medication during pregnancy has not been established. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: The safety of loratadine has not been established for women who are breast-feeding. Women who are breast-feeding should not take loratadine.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children younger than 2 years of age. For children between the ages of 2 and 12, do not give this medication for longer than 14 days, unless recommended by a doctor.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between loratadine and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.