What is loratadine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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Loratadine is a long-acting, non-sedating antihistamine that is used for the treatment of allergies. Histamine is a chemical that causes many of the signs and symptoms of an allergy. Histamine is released from histamine-storing cells (mast cells) and attaches to other cells that have receptors for histamine on their surfaces. Histamine stimulates the cells to release chemicals that produce effects that we associate with allergy, including welts, itching, and tissue swelling. Loratadine blocks one type of histamine receptor (the H1 receptor) and thus prevents activation of cells with H1 receptors by histamine. Unlike some antihistamines, loratadine does not enter the brain from the blood and, therefore, does not cause drowsiness when taken at recommended doses. The FDA approved loratadine in April 1993.

What brand names are available for loratadine?

Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children’s Claritin, and others

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Is loratadine available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for loratadine?

No

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What are the uses for loratadine?

What are the side effects of loratadine?

The most common adverse events with loratadine are:

Nervousness and difficulty sleeping have also been reported.

What is the dosage for loratadine?

The usual dose of loratadine is 10 mg daily for adults and children older than six years of age. The dose for children 2 to 6 years of age is 5 mg daily.

Is loratadine safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Loratadine is secreted in breast milk at levels similar to blood levels. Nursing mothers should decide whether to stop breastfeeding or discontinue loratadine.

What else should I know about loratadine?

What preparations of loratadine are available?
  • Tablets: 10 mg.
  • Tablets, disintegrating: 5 and 10 mg.
  • Tablets, chewable: 5 mg.
  • Syrup: 5 mg/5 ml.
How should I keep loratadine stored?

Tablets should be stored between 2 C and 30 C (36 F and 86 F), and syrup should be stored between 2 C and 25 C (36 and 77 F).

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Medically Reviewed on 3/7/2019

References

Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine

REFERENCE:

FDA Prescribing Information