Whether Claritin and alcohol is a safe combination depends on if you normally experience drowsiness with the medication. For people who do not experience drowsiness, combining the two is often fine. However, people who do experience drowsiness should avoid alcohol or at least limit their intake. If you decide to combine Claritin and alcohol, you may not be able to safely drink as much as you are used to.
Do Claritin and Alcohol Interact?
Claritin® (loratadine) is a non-prescription medication approved to treat allergies and hives. It belongs to a group of medications known as non-sedating antihistamines. Even though Claritin is less likely to cause drowsiness when compared to many other antihistamines, some people may develop drowsiness when taking it. Alcohol may or may not cause problems for people taking Claritin. You are more likely to experience negative effects from such an interaction if you normally develop drowsiness due to Claritin. For the majority of people who do not experience drowsiness while taking it, however, alcohol is probably safe. However, it is always good to use caution when combining any medication with alcohol.
The Consequences of Combining Alcohol and Claritin
Claritin is often advertised as a "non-drowsy" allergy product and, for most people, is not likely to cause drowsiness. However, in clinical studies, up to 8 percent of people taking Claritin experienced drowsiness (see Side Effects of Claritin). If you happen to be among those 8 percent, combining alcohol and Claritin can cause undesired effects, such as excessive drowsiness. You may not be able to tolerate as much alcohol as usual. For some people, it may be best to avoid alcohol entirely.
If Claritin does not cause drowsiness for you, it is unlikely that combining Claritin and alcohol will cause any problems. However, it is always a good idea to be cautious while combining alcohol with any medication, especially for the first time. You may want to limit your alcohol intake and drink more slowly or in more "safe" situations, such as while accompanied by trusted friends. It may be a good idea to let a friend know that you are concerned about a possible interaction between Claritin and alcohol, and your friend can help monitor your response.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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