Loratadine, more commonly known under the brand name Claritin, is a non-prescription antihistamine medication that is approved for the treatment of allergies in both children and adults. Loratadin is the active ingredient found in Claritin but is approved by the US FDA as safe and effective when used according to doctor or product instructions. Loratadine or Claritin is also referred to as a non-sedating antihistamine, meaning it is less likely to result in drowsiness.
In particular, this antihistamine is approved to treat allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and itchy throat and nose.
How Does Loratadine Work?
As an antihistamine, how exactly does Loratadine work? Allergies take place in the body when its immune system reacts to what should be harmless or safe substances, those which do not normally bother people. This body reaction is partly brought about by the histamine release from certain cells within the body. As an antihistamine, Loratadine blocks the histamine from attaching to the histamine receptors, causing the allergy symptoms.
Histamine is also what causes the formation of hives on the skin, as an allergic reaction or otherwise. Loratadine helps alleviate the itching and swelling by blocking the histamine. This antihistamine can also be used for the treatment of indoor allergies such as mold and dust, and outdoor allergies such as ragweed and pollen.
This antihistamine drug was developed by Schering-Plough which marketed it as Claritin. There are, however, other trade names that refer to this antihistamine. Examples include Tidilor, Symphoral, Lorfast, AllergyX, and Lomilan. There are generic Loratadine drugs as well. Initially, however, this antihistamine was by prescription only. But when it went off-patent, the drug was then approved for over-the-counter use. Patients can obtain Loratadine in tablet form, and fast-acting tablets are also available, as well as in syrup form.
Chewable Tablets and Syrup
Loratadine chewable tablets and syrup are approved for children at least two years of age. Those antihistamine tablets which orally disintegrate, meaning those that quickly dissolve in the mouth, can be taken by children who are six years of age or older.
This antihistamine can be taken with or without food, once daily, depending on doctor or product instructions. For chewable tablets, they must be chewed well before they are swallowed. Dosage will depend on age, response to the treatment and condition. Dosage for this antihistamine should not be increased beyond what is directed.
For over-the-counter antihistamine for self-treatment, users must read all instructions found on the package. If the doctor prescribed the antihistamine, the patient should strictly follow his or her directions.
One should also be aware of the precautions of taking antihistamine, particularly Loratadine, prior to taking it.
For patients with kidney or liver disease, it is possible that the body cannot handle the drug as it should. Always check with your doctor before taking Loratadine. A lower dosage may be prescribed.
Serious allergic reactions to antihistamine are rare. However, immediate medical attention should be sought if symptoms such as swelling, itching, rashes, dizziness and trouble in breathing are noticed.