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Updated on September 13, 2023
5 min read

Can I Drink Alcohol if I'm Taking Claritin?

What is Claritin?

Claritin is a non-drowsy allergy relief medication commonly found in most pharmacies as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication.7 It's also known under the generic name loratadine.

Claritin can treat common allergy symptoms like:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Watery eyes

Claritin products like Claritin-D are also used as decongestants that treat sinus pressure. You do not need a prescription to obtain Claritin. However, it is still important to be mindful of potential alcohol and drug interactions.

Available Claritin Products

Claritin products come in various forms, including:

  • Chewables
  • Dissolvable tablets
  • Liquid gel
  • Oral tablets

Claritin is available for children as Children's Claritin and Claritin RediTabs for juniors. There are also children’s syrups for 12- or 24-hour relief.7 All forms are equally effective in treating allergies.

How Does Claritin Work?

Your body releases a natural chemical, histamine, when it detects something harmful, like allergens and infections. This is a normal immune system response.

Claritin is an antihistamine that treats hay fever symptoms and upper respiratory allergies.5 It does this by reducing the effects of histamine, which causes allergic symptoms.

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Side Effects & Risks of Taking Claritin

As with all medications, you may experience some side effects when taking Claritin. These side effects include: 5

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse throat
  • Skin rash
  • Nose bleeds
  • Red eyes

There are also some more severe side effects of Claritin. These are rare but possible. The more serious symptoms of Claritin include: 6

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Uneven heart rate
  • Passing out
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue

If you experience severe symptoms or sudden changes when taking Claritin, seek medical help immediately. You may also choose to report any side effects you experience to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at 1-800-FDA-1088.6

Is it Safe to Mix Claritin and Alcohol?

Generally, you should avoid drinking alcohol with any medication if you do not know the risks involved.10 You should also not drink alcohol while taking an antihistamine like Claritin.4 

Talk to a healthcare professional about any other medications you are taking that may interact with Claritin. Ask your doctor about taking Claritin if you have any of the following conditions:5

  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Liver damage
  • Pre-existing medical condition
  • Pregnant
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Dangers of Mixing Claritin and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking allergy medications can be dangerous. Alcohol can exacerbate the side effects of Claritin. This includes drowsiness and dizziness. Mixing small amounts of alcohol with allergy medication can worsen potential side effects.

The sedative effects of both substances can impair motor control and lead to injury. Mixing alcohol and Claritin can also increase the risk of an overdose.9

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How Long After Taking Claritin Can I Drink Alcohol?

Claritin relieves allergy symptoms for 12 to 24 hours. That said, Claritin has a half-life of about 28 hours.2

This means it stays in your system for over a day, so you should avoid alcohol for about 28 hours. Talk to a healthcare professional about other medications you may be able to take if you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Can You Overdose on Alcohol and Claritin?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on both alcohol and Claritin. The number of alcohol-induced deaths, including overdoses and excluding accidents and homicides, was 39,043 in 2019.8 This is why it is important to take Claritin as directed.

If you or someone you know has overdosed on Claritin, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Poison Control help is available by phone at 1-800-222-1222. Calling is free and confidential.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Helpline is also free and confidential for anyone dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders (SUDs). Just dial 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a disease that affects many people. It is characterized by cravings for alcohol, difficulty controlling alcohol intake or quitting drinking, and feelings of anxiousness and irritability when not drinking.1

You may have a drinking problem if you: 1

  • Find yourself drinking more for a longer period than you’d planned to drink
  • Find yourself drinking alone often
  • Want to cut back on drinking but are struggling to do so
  • Want to quit drinking altogether but are struggling to do so
  • Spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from hangovers
  • Crave alcohol often
  • Continue to drink, despite alcohol getting in the way of your family responsibilities
  • Continue to drink, despite alcohol taking a toll on your studies or work
  • Choose drinking over hobbies that you once loved
  • Keep drinking, even though it is affecting your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, etc
  • Notice alcohol taking a toll on your physical and mental health
  • Have trouble sleeping without alcohol
  • Feel anxious or depressed when you are not drinking
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back on alcohol

Treatment Options for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

Cutting back on alcohol or quitting altogether can be dangerous if you have AUD. Withdrawal symptoms can be harmful and even fatal. Because of this, it's critical to reach out to medical professionals if you want to stop drinking alcohol.

Available treatment options include:

Updated on September 13, 2023
10 sources cited
Updated on September 13, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 July 2021.
  2. Alcohol.” American Family Physician, 15 May 2000.
  3. Alcohol.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25 June 2021.
  4. Antihistamines.” NHS Choices, NHS.
  5. Claritin (Loratadine) for Allergy: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList.
  6. Claritin (Loratadine).” RxList.
  7. Claritin.” Home.
  8. FastStats - Alcohol Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Mar. 2021.
  9. Harmful Interactions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  10. Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicine - on RxList.” RxList, RxList, 22 Apr. 2010.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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