What You Should Know About Claritin

Kelly Rowland for Claritin. Paul Zimmerman/WireImage/Getty Images

Claritin is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. Claritin is the brand name for the drug loratadine. It is available for adults and children over 2 years old.

Active Ingredient:


Dosage and Directions:

Adults and children ages 6 and older:

  • One (10mg) tablet every 24 hours
  • One (10mg) Reditab every 24 hours

Children ages 2 to 6 years old:

  • One (5mg) teaspoon every 24 hours
  • One (5mg) chewable tablet every 24 hours

Children under 2 years old:

  • Ask a doctor


Claritin is used to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies, hay fever and hives which include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose or throat
  • Itchy rash (hives)

    It is not effective when dealing with colds, the flu or other respiratory infections. Although people may want to take it to help with runny nose or other irritation caused by these illnesses, it will not help since these symptoms are caused by the virus and not an allergen. Allergy medications don't help with cold symptoms. 

    Side Effects of Claritin:

    Possible side effects of Claritin include:

    • Headache
    • Dry Mouth
    • Nosebleed
    • Sore throat or sores in the mouth
    • Difficulty sleeping at night or falling asleep
    • Nervousness
    • Weakness
    • Stomach pains or diarrhea
    • Red, itchy eyes

    If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, contact your healthcare provider.

    Certain side effects can be very serious.

    If you have any of the following after taking Claritin or loratadine, seek medical advice immediately.

    • Rash or hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue, face, throat, arms, legs, feet, ankles or hands


      If you are using Claritin to treat hives, contact your healthcare provider if they do not improve within 3 days or if they last for more than 6 weeks.

      Do not use Claritin to treat hives that do not itch, are bruised or blistered or that are an unusual color.

      If you have hives and experience difficulty breathing, significant swelling of the tongue or lips, wheezing, difficulty speaking or swallowing, dizziness, drooling, vomiting or loss of consciousness - seek emergency medical attention immediately. These are signs of a potentially life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

        Ask a Doctor Before Using Claritin If:

        • You are allergic to loratadine, or any other medications.
        • You have ever had asthma, kidney or liver disease.
        • You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
        • You have phenylketonuria (PKU) - some rapidly dissolving tablets contain aspartame, which could be dangerous if you have this condition.

        Claritin is a great option if you are dealing with seasonal or environmental allergies. Although it does not help with cold symptoms, it can be quite effective if you have allergy symptoms


        "Loratadine." MedlinePlus Drug Information 01 Sep 08. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. 17 April 09.

        "Claritin Allergy Products." Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Inc. 2009. 17 April 09.

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