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What is Claritin?

Claritin is a non-drowsy allergy relief medication.7 It treats common symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itchy throat, and watery eyes. Beyond general Claritin medication, Claritin products also include Claritin-D, which is a decongestant that treats sinus pressure, as well as Children’s Claritin and Claritin RediTabs for juniors.

Claritin products come in the form of chewable, dissolvable, and liquid gel oral tablets, as well as children’s syrups for 12- or 24-hour relief.7 All forms are equally effective in how they treat allergies.

Claritin is an over-the-counter medication that you can find in most pharmacies and drug stores. You do not need a prescription to obtain Claritin. Still, it is important to be mindful of potential alcohol and drug interactions.

How Does Claritin Work?

Claritin is an antihistamine that treats the symptoms of hay fever and upper respiratory allergies.5 Loratadine is the active ingredient in Claritin.

Your body releases a natural chemical, histamine, when it detects something harmful, such as allergens and infections. This is a normal immune system response. Loratadine works 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 any severe symptoms or sudden changes when taking Claritin, reach out for medical help immediately. You may also choose to report any side effects you experience to the 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 health professional about any other medications you are taking that may interact with Claritin. Ask your doctor about taking Claritin if you have kidney or liver disease, liver damage, a pre-existing medical condition, or are pregnant.5

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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, including drowsiness and dizziness.  

Even mixing small amounts of alcohol with medications, including over-the-counter drugs for seasonal allergies, can worsen potential side effects.

For example, the body’s response to alcohol can vary depending on factors like how much you drink and your body weight, but alcohol has a sedative effect and impairs motor control. 

Taking allergy medications may also make you feel drowsy. So drinking while taking certain drugs at the same time can put you at a higher risk of injury. 

Mixing alcohol and Claritin can also boost a person’s risk of an overdose.9

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 that 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.

Can You Overdose on Alcohol and Claritin?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on both alcohol and Claritin. In fact, the number of alcohol-induced deaths, including overdoses and excluding accidents and homicides, was 39,043 in 2019.8

Again, mixing alcohol and Claritin can increase your risk of an overdose.9 It is also possible to take too much Claritin and overdose. This is why it is important to take Claritin as directed. Do not take any more of it than directed, and do not take it any more frequently than directed.

If your allergy symptoms are still unbearable despite taking Claritin, seek professional medical advice to get a stronger prescription medication. 

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 facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Just dial 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

If you have a drinking problem, you are not alone. How much you drink, how often you drink, your general state of health, your family history, your age, your gender, and other factors may all play a role and lead to an increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD).3

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 experience any of the following symptoms: 1

  • You find yourself drinking more for a longer period of time than you’d planned to drink.
  • You find yourself drinking alone often.
  • You want to cut back on drinking but are struggling to do so.
  • You want to quit drinking altogether but are struggling to do so.
  • You spend a lot of your time drinking or recovering from hangovers.
  • You crave alcohol often.
  • You continue to drink despite alcohol getting in the way of your family responsibilities.
  • You continue to drink despite alcohol taking a toll on your studies or work.
  • You choose drinking over hobbies that you once loved.
  • You keep drinking even though it is affecting your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, etc.
  • Alcohol is taking a toll on your physical and/or mental health.
  • You are having trouble sleeping without alcohol. 
  • You feel anxious or depressed when you are not drinking.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back on alcohol, including nausea and sweating or, in severe cases, seizures and hallucinations.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

If you or someone you know is misusing alcohol or addicted to alcohol, know that you are not alone. Health professionals can help along the road to recovery. Cutting back on alcohol or quitting altogether can be dangerous if you have AUD. Withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

Treatment options are available. Both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers work with licensed medical professionals and mental health experts who can help you safely stop drinking. You may also choose to seek support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

People who suffer from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are at an increased risk of developing a drinking problem. If you have a mental health disorder that is driving you to drink, therapy can help unpack your triggers and find healthy ways to cope.

Resources

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Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 July 2021.

Alcohol.” American Family Physician, 15 May 2000.

Alcohol.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25 June 2021.

Antihistamines.” NHS Choices, NHS.

Claritin (Loratadine) for Allergy: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList.

Claritin (Loratadine).” RxList.

Claritin.” Home.

FastStats - Alcohol Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Mar. 2021.

Harmful Interactions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicine - on RxList.” RxList, RxList, 22 Apr. 2010.

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