While generic Claritin is available in various forms, it is not under the same regulations as generic versions of prescription medications. Therefore, it's difficult to say with certainty that these generic versions are equivalent to brand-name Claritin. Also, because the medication can go under different names, the best way to know you are getting the generic version of Claritin is to look for "loratadine" in the list of active ingredients.
Is There a Generic Version of Claritin?
Claritin® (loratadine) is a non-prescription antihistamine approved to treat allergies and hives. It belongs to a group of medications known as non-sedating antihistamines (which are less likely to cause drowsiness). Claritin was originally a prescription-only product, but was switched to non-prescription status in 2002.
Claritin is manufactured by Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc. However, many different generic versions of Claritin are now available.
Generic Non-Prescription Products
With prescription drugs, generic versions of them must undergo certain tests, comparing them to brand-name medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then looks at these tests to decide if the generic versions are equivalent to the brand-name medications and assigns a rating to each one. However, non-prescription products (including Claritin) are regulated differently, and no generic equivalence ratings are given. Therefore, it is usually impossible to say with certainty that a "generic" non-prescription medication is completely equivalent to the brand-name product. However, the term "generic" is usually used to refer to any product that contains the same active ingredient in the same strength (and in the same form) as the brand-name product.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed September 22, 2007.
Red Book: Pharmacy's Fundamental Reference. 2007 ed. Montvale (NJ): Thomson Healthcare; 2007.
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