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Claritin: What It is & How To Take It Safely

Is Claritin safe to use? It depends on what you need it for. Here’s everything you need to know about this antihistamine and how to ingest it safely.

April 01, 2022

If you’ve ever shopped for allergy meds at your local pharmacy, chances are high that you’ve seen Claritin.

Stored in a blue box and regularly stocked as a favorite for hay fever relief, this over-the-counter (OTC) option is an antihistamine that targets common allergy symptoms.

With its popularity, it’s worth asking: is Claritin safe, and how do you take it? Here’s everything you need to know about Claritin, which we consider one of the best medicines for allergies.

Disclaimer: This article isn’t intended as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist about health concerns, treatment options, and possible side effects.

What is Claritin?

Claritin (Loratadine) is a second-generation antihistamine designed to treat allergen-triggered symptoms like hives, rashes, runny noses, sneezing, and watery eyes. Along with other brand names like Allegra (Fexofenadine) and Zyrtec (Cetirizine), Claritin disrupts the histamine receptors in your body that kick into high gear whenever you’re exposed to allergens. It stops your allergic reaction at its source.

Second-generation antihistamines, including Claritin, have no sedative properties, and they’re far less likely to induce drowsiness. Claritin side effects exist, but don’t worry — they’re mild.

Some benefits of Claritin include:

  • You can buy Claritin without a prescription from a healthcare provider.

  • Drug interactions with other medications are rare.

  • You can take Claritin once a day as needed, unlike the first-generation antihistamine Benadryl (Diphenhydramine), which has potentially serious side effects. 

  • You can take Claritin with or without food; it won’t interact with your meals.

There are several downsides of Claritin, too:

  • The decongestant Claritin-D is unsuitable for anyone taking blood pressure medication.

  • People who are breastfeeding or pregnant should consult a physician before taking Claritin.

  • Claritin is unsuitable for children under 2 years of age.

  • Claritin isn’t safe to take with alcohol.


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How to take Claritin

When seeking allergy relief, always default to the instructions on the box to avoid stronger Claritin (Loratadine) side effects. To receive the maximum relief for your allergy symptoms, ingest Claritin as instructed. If you have a chewable tablet, it must be chewed; a whole tablet must be swallowed. You should also ensure the medication hasn’t expired, as it can be less effective.

The amount of Claritin you can take in one sitting depends on your age and whether you have pre-existing health conditions. In general:

  • Adults and children over six can take one tablet every 24 hours.

  • One dose of liquid Claritin can be given to children ages two to six every 24 hours.

  • Don’t take more than the recommended dosage to treat your allergic rhinitis. 

  • If you skip your daily dose, that’s OK — Claritin is an as-needed medication.

  • Immediately cease your use of Claritin if you notice any severe side effects.


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What are Claritin’s side effects? 

Claritin side effects are mild, but they exist. The most common ones you’ll run into are:

  • Dizziness

  • A dry mouth

  • General aches and pains

  • Headaches

  • Increased coughing

  • Sleepiness

As long as they’re mild, these side effects are no cause for alarm. 

However, if you experience the following, contact your doctor or a healthcare professional immediately. 

  • Drowsiness combined with a headache and an increased heart rate

  • Rashes, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, and throat 

The first set of symptoms indicates an overdose; the second set signifies a severe allergic reaction requiring medical intervention. 

Browse Claritin’s corporate information page for a complete list of rare side effects.

Is Claritin safe to use with alcohol?

This is a common concern for those who take allergy medicines and indulge in alcohol. If you're the type of person who wants to sit on a porch and drink a beer without dealing with seasonal allergies, this can make or break your usage of certain medications.

Unfortunately, combining alcohol and Claritin does increase your risk of adverse side effects. Any sort of driving, including operating heavy machinery, is definitely out of the question.

Combining these two substances can make you more at risk for other accidents, like tripping or falling. While a simple fall may not affect a younger individual, seniors are at risk for serious injury. Additionally, combining alcohol and Claritin can decrease your ability to focus.

Along with your age, weight, and any pre-existing health conditions, other factors worsen these symptoms if you take Claritin and drink alcohol. These include:

  • Epilepsy

  • Enlarged prostates

  • Heart disease (specifically, interactions with Claritin-D)

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver disease


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All in all

The verdict? You want to use common sense when taking any allergy medication. Claritin is a relatively safe, accessible medication to administer, and common sense dictates that Claritin and alcohol shouldn’t be mixed. Otherwise, you should be set if you’ve heeded all of our other warnings.

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