Loratadine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines - it is an anti-allergy medicine. It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.
Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances. This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.
Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops. The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.
Loratadine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can buy it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Tablet formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Loratadine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.
Before starting the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about loratadine dosage, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which could be experienced from taking it.
Recommended dose of loratadine for adults and for children aged over 12 years: 10 mg taken once a day.
You can take loratadine either with or without food. Some people find it helps to swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
If you forget to take a dose, don't worry, just take the next dose when it is needed and then continue as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with loratadine. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
Loratadine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)
- Feeling tired or sleepy
- Nervousness (in children)
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to loratadine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
To make sure that this is the right treatment for you (or your child), before you (or they) start taking loratadine it is important that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:
- You are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- You have any liver problems. If so, the recommended dose may need to be reduced.
- You have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
- You are 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.
- You have ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet