Drugs Home > Loratadine

Loratadine is a drug that can be used to treat a variety of allergy symptoms, including runny, itchy nose; sneezing; and watery eyes. It works by blocking the action of histamine receptors in the body, which prevents the immune system reactions that cause allergy symptoms. Loratadine is now available without a prescription, and it comes in several forms. Side effects can include headaches, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

What Is Loratadine?

Loratadine (Claritin®) is an antihistamine approved to treat the following allergy symptoms:
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose or throat.
It is also approved to treat itching due to hives, which may or may not be caused by allergies. The medication is available in combination with a decongestant (see Loratadine and Pseudoephedrine Sulfate).
Although both loratadine and the loratadine/pseudoephedrine combination were originally prescription products, they are now available without a prescription. Compared to most non-prescription antihistamines, loratadine is much less likely to cause drowsiness.
(Click What Is Loratadine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects of Loratadine

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with loratadine. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects include but are not limited to:
(Click Loratadine Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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