What Is Claritin?
Claritin is an over-the counter (OTC) medication for the generic drug loratadine. It is treatment for upper respiratory allergy symptoms like:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat
- Watery eyes
These symptoms are caused by allergens, such as pollen or dust.
When an allergen enters your body, your immune system may mistakenly identify the allergen as a dangerous intruder. Then, it activates chemical agents (such as histamine) to defend against intruders.
Histamine triggers an immune system response designed to elinate allergens in the body. You start sniffing, sneezing and itching.
Loratadine is part of a medicine called an antihistamine. It works by preventing histamine from binding to histamine receptors in your body. This can stop allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines and Alcohol
Because most antihistamines are central nervous system depressants that cross the blood-brain barrier to cause sedation, it is best to avoid drinking while taking them. Although Claritin has less risk of sedation and drowsiness than many other antihistamines, combining it with alcohol can still result in more sleepiness than you may expect.
Risk of Taking Claritin with Alcohol
Taking Claritin with alcohol can cause drowsiness. Further, because Claritin can last in your system a long time. This is true if you have kidney or liver problems or are elderly, which can make the drug reach higher levels in your system than normal.
Loratadine is still active in your system hours after you have taken a dose, Claritin can remain in your system for more than 40 hours after you take a dose. Drinking during this timeframe can put you at risk of increased side effects.
Claritin Drug Interactions
Like all drugs, Claritin has some drug interactions. Some notable interactions include:
- Certain COPD drugs: Certain drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may interact with loratadine to cause vision changes, dry mouth, urinary retention, mental status changes and constipation. These include drugs containing aclidinium, ipratropium, tiotropium and umeclidinium.
- Opioids: As central nervous system depressants, the side effects of opioids may intensify with loratadine.
- Sleep medications: Sleep medications like zolpidem, which is sold under the brand name Ambien, should not be combined with loratadine due to additive side effects.
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