Easy-to-read medicine information about loratadine – what it is, how to take loratadine safely and possible side effects.
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What is loratadine?
Loratadine is used to treat and prevent allergies such as hay fever (sneezing, runny or itchy nose, itchy eyes) or allergies of the skin (itching, redness, lumps on the skin called hives). It works by blocking a chemical in the body, called histamine, which is released during an allergic reaction. Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines known as antihistamines. More specifically, loratadine is a non-sedating antihistamine, which means that it is less likely to cause drowsiness, or make you feel sleepy. In New Zealand, loratadine is available as tablets or as a liquid. Read more about antihistamines.
- The usual dose of loratadine for adults and children over 12 years, is 1 tablet (10 milligrams) once a day.
- The dose for children under 12 years will depend of their age and weight. Your doctor or pharmacist will advise you on the correct dose for your child.
- You can just take loratadine on the days you need it. It can be restarted if the symptoms come back. If your allergy continues, you may need to take loratadine from one month to many years.
How to take loratadine
- Take loratadine once a day at the same time each day, either in the morning OR in the evening.
- You can take loratadine with or without food.
- Swallow the tablet whole, with a glass of water.
- It is not harmful if you miss your loratadine dose. If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is less than 12 hours for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
Precautions – before starting loratadine
- Are you are pregnant?
- Do you have any problems with the way your liver works?
- Are you taking or using any other medicines? This includes any medicines being taken which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start loratadine. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, loratadine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.
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- Loratadine may interact with some medicines that are available without a prescription, so check with your pharmacist before starting loratadine or before starting any new medicines.
- If taken with other antihistamines (such as a cough and cold medication) it may cause added drowsiness.