Generic name: Loratadine

Claritin is an antihistamine. Antihistamines block the effects of histamine, a body chemical that causes swelling and itching. 

Quick Facts About Claritin


Used to treat the symptoms of hay fever — itching, runny nose, sneezing, stuffiness, and teary eyes. Also used to treat hives.

Claritin Dosage

Take on an empty stomach, and exactly as prescribed.

  • Usual adult dose: one 10-milligram tablet taken one time per day. For people with liver disease — one 10-milligram tablet taken every other day. Now comes in extended-release tablet and syrup.
  • Usual child dose: for children 12 years and older only — same as adult dose.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Claritin Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

 headache, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: dry mouth, fatigue, headache, sleepiness.

Less common or rare Claritin side effects: abdominal discomfort or pain, abnormal dreams, aggravated al-lergy, agitation, anxiety, back pain, blurred vision, breast enlargement, breast pain, bronchitis, change in salivation, change in taste, chest pain, chills and fever, confusion, conjunctivitis (pink eye), constipation, coughing up blood, decreased sensitivity to touch, decreased sex drive, depression, diarrhea, difficult or labored breathing, difficulty concentrating, difficulty speaking, discoloration of urine, dizziness, dry hair, dry skin, earache, eye pain, fainting, fever, flushing, gas, general feeling of illness, hair loss, hepatitis, high blood pressure, hives, hyperactivity, impotence, inability to fell or stay asleep, increased appetite, increased or decreased eye tearing, increased sweating, indigestion, inflammation of the mouth, itching, joint pain, laryngitis, leg cramps, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, memory loss, menstrual changes, migraine, muscle pain, nasal congestion, nasal dryness and inflammation, nausea, nervousness, nosebleeds, palpitations, rapid heartbeat, rash, red or purple spots on the skin, ringing in ears, seizures, sensitivity to light, sinus inflammation, skin eruptions, skin inflammation, sneezing, sore throat, stomach inflammation, swelling caused by allergic reaction, swelling of extremities, thirst, tingling or pins and needles, toothache, tremor, twitching of the eye, upper respiratory infection, urinary changes, vaginal inflammation, vertigo, vomiting, weakness, weight gain, wheezing, yellow eyes and skin.


Inform your doctor before combining Claritin with:

certain antibiotics, Cimetidine (Tagamet), Ketoconazole (Nizoral), Ranitidine (Zantac), Theophylline (Theo-Dur).

No known food/other substance interactions.

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Appears in breast milk; could affect a nursing baby.

Can cause excessive sleepiness in seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children under 12 years.

  • Do not take if sensitive or had allergic reaction to Claritin or any of its ingredients.
  • If you have liver disease, doctor should prescribe a lower starting dose.
  • May cause excessive sleepiness in people with kidney or liver disease.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Claritin side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.