What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking It?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking loratadine if you have:
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Liver disease, including liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Loratadine to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
How Does Loratadine Work?
Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances that do not bother most people. This reaction is partly caused by the release of histamine from certain cells in the body.
Loratadine is an antihistamine, which means it blocks histamine from binding to histamine receptors and causing allergy symptoms. Since histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of allergies, blocking it can be helpful.
Lots of people get nasal congestion due to allergies. However, antihistamines don't help with this particular allergy symptom (since congestion isn't caused by histamine). In order to treat congestion, it is necessary to add a nasal decongestant (such as pseudoephedrine). Claritin comes in a combination product that contains pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D), just for this reason.
Histamine is also responsible for the formation of hives (whether they are caused by allergies or not). By blocking histamine, loratadine can alleviate the itching due to hives as well.