Claritin: Less Sedating Anti-allergy Drug

Phoenix Montoya By Phoenix Montoya, 26th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

Claritin is highly recommended by most medical experts because it is said to be non-drowsy and safer. However, other manufacturers of other loratadine generics and equivalent brands mention sedation as one of its side-effects. So, is Claritin really non-drowsy as it claims?

Claritin as a second generation antihistamine

Antihistamines or anti-allergy drugs are regarded as the first-line of relief for symptoms of hay fever and skin allergies. There are two types of antihistamine drugs- the first generation and the second generation. While the old, FGA or first generation antihistamines such as chlorphenamine, diphenhydramine etc. include anti-allergies that induce drowsiness or sleepiness, the newer, SGA or the second generation antihistamines like fexofenadine and cetirizine are considered as non-sedating antihistamines.

Between the two types, the SGA drugs are considered safer because these have least CNS side effects. The FGA on the contrary, increases the risk for vehicular accident and injuries at work. More to this, the FGA drugs can cause a learning impairment in children.

Claritin as a loratadine, is a second generation antihistamine popular for its non-drowse effect. However, other loratadine brands such as Allerta (UAP), Lorahist (JustRight Pharma) and Lergicyl (Eurowest/ Basic Pharma) reveal sedation as an adverse reaction. So does this mean, Claritin is also a sedating allergy drug?

Claritin facts

Claritin is manufactured by Schering-Plough. It is available in 5 mg syrup and 10 mg tablet form. Claritin is known as a long acting non-sedating antihistamine normally taken once a day. It is a non-prescription antihistamine or anti-allergy drug that can be taken with or without food.

As a loratadine, it is indicated as a relief of symptoms of chronic urticaria and other skin allergy. It is also a drug of choice for symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis or hay fever as sneezing, nasal itching, ocular or eye itching.

Claritin is classified as a tricyclic antihistamine with an H1 receptor, closely related to tricyclic antidepressants such as Amitriptylin (Elavil) and the antipsychotic quetiapene.

Common contraindications and special precautions

Claritin is contraindicated with people who have hypersensitivity to the drug and those with liver problems. As for pregnancy, loratadine safety is still not established. Claritin as a loratadine is excreted in milk thus; its antihistamine effect can also be obtained by the infant. Most doctors would prescribe loratadine for kids below two years old; however as an OTC drug its label or leaflet may include a precaution for kids under 2 years old.

Common adverse reactions

These include fatigue, somnolence, headache, dry mouth, gastrointestinal disorders as gastritis, nausea etc. and rare cases, allergic symptoms as rash. Other observed side- effects include alopecia, anaphylaxis, tachycardia and palpitations.

Common drug interactions

Claritin causes toxicity when taken with amiodarone- anti arrhythmic drug and with nefazodone hydrochloride- a Phenylpiperazine antidepressant. In addition, its plasma concentration may also increase with ketoconazole, erythromycin or cimetidine.

Claritin as a less-sedating antihistamine drug

Tracing the origin of the drug, Claritin as a loratadine, is a tricyclic antihistamine structurally related to Amitriptyline- a tricyclic antidepressant product which is also under the CNS stimulants. Tricyclic antidepressants are agents that are used to treat major depressions. These agents have two groups, the dimethylamino compounds which tend to be sedative and the monomethyl relatives that tend to be stimulatory. With Amitriptyline, this product is the most sedative of the tricyclic antidepressants. More to this, Claritin is also connected to antipsychotic quetiapene which is considered as the most sedating of all the anti-psychotic drugs.

Interestingly, what makes Claritin less sedating than other antihistamines is because it only penetrates the blood brain barrier a little. Claritin’s ‘no significant sedative property’ is cited at the daily recommended dose of 10 mg.

Take Claritin safely

As a less-sedating anti-allergy drug, Claritin may also cause drowsiness. Individuals must also be advised that this inconvenience may occur and may affect tasks as driving or other activities that needs concentration. An interaction between alcohol and loratadine has not been shown; however, it is still best to avoid excessive liquor drinking while on loratadine medication.

Claritin as an OTC drug may not have some specific instructions from a physician. Do not hesitate to ask assistance from the pharmacist or pharmacy personnel to avoid over dosing particularly with loratadine liquid forms for kids.


Claritin is only indicated for mild allergies. In cases of serious conditions, a physician’s advice is the best. Like any other medications, Claritin as a loratadine may not be for you, observe yourself intently and if an untoward reaction occur, discontinue the medication and seek medical help as soon as possible.

© Phoenix Montoya @ March 7, 2011

PPDr 5th Edition
Wilson and Gisvold’s Textbook of Organic Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry 9th Edition
Claritin tablet image source
Claritin syrup image source

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Amiodarone, Anti-Allergy Drug, Claritin, Common Brand Names, Dimethylamino Compounds, First Generation Antihistamines, Less-Sedating, Loratadine, Monomethyl Relatives, Otc Drug, Over Dosing, Quetiapene, Second Generation Antihistamines, Tricyclic Antidepressants

Meet the author

author avatar Phoenix Montoya
Phoenix is a drug trader and a small time computer service entrepreneur. She enjoys writing about medicine, animals, music, current issues and other stuff. She is also a fan of creative writing.

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author avatar Neha Dwivedi
26th Jul 2011 (#)

great info....

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author avatar Buzz
26th Jul 2011 (#)

Very informative article. I'm prone to violent sneezes when exposed to dust and fumes. I used to take celestamine which induced sleepiness. Thanks for this article, kabs.:)

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author avatar Denise O
27th Jul 2011 (#)

Great information on claritin. I have tried it and it knocks me out. I am hypersentive to meds though. Good read. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Jul 2011 (#)

Excellent informative article, Phoenix..There has been a lot of work put into this...A really interesting share..

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Jul 2011 (#)

Excellent informative article, Phoenix..There has been a lot of work put into this...A really interesting share..

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author avatar Spicy
29th Jul 2011 (#)

New information I learned about the clartin, very useful information and well explained, thank you Phoenix

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author avatar Anne Janette Mccoy
5th Aug 2011 (#)

You really need to take antibiotics if ur uneasy or having painful problem with ur body

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author avatar Maria Malone
23rd Aug 2011 (#)

Phoenix, thanks for the great info!

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author avatar Sarah20763
26th Mar 2012 (#)

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