Loratadine is an antihistamine used to treat hay fever and skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis and hives. Ingestion relieves symptoms such as sneezing, burning eyes or itching. Compared to older antihistamines loratadine has significantly fewer side effects as it has no sedative effect. In this regard, it is similar to the active substance cetirizine, which is also used to treat hay fever.
Effect of the antihistamine
Loratadine, like cetirizine, is a second-generation H1 antihistamine. Unlike first-generation antihistamines, loratadine and cetirizine have no effect on the central nervous system (CNS) and thus have no sedative properties. As a result, they cause fewer side effects than first-generation antihistamines.
Loratadine blocks the histamine H1 receptors in the body and thus ensures that the messenger histamine can no longer bind to them. As a result, histamine can not or at least not fully develop its effect and unpleasant symptoms such as skin redness, eye burning or itching remain.
Loratadine in hay fever and atopic dermatitis
In allergic rhinitis (hay fever) loratadine relieves the typical symptoms such as sneezing, nasal flow, itching and eye burning. It also has a decongestant effect on the nasal mucosa and is therefore also used in sinusitis.
Even with atopic dermatitis, the drug is used more often. It reduces the itching and ensures that the skin redness goes back. Likewise, the active ingredient in other skin diseases such as hives, which is characterized by a strong hives on the skin, relieve the symptoms.
Side effects of Loratadine
When taking loratadine occur - compared to other antihistamines - relatively few side effects. Because unlike antihistamines of the first generation, which were often sedating due to their CNS mobility, loratadine, like cetirizine, is not CNS-like. Nevertheless, the ingestion of both drugs can still cause side effects.
Side effects that may be more common with taking loratadine include headache, fatigue, nervousness, and an increase in appetite. In addition, allergic reactions, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, gastritis, insomnia, hair loss, liver dysfunction and cardiac arrhythmia have been observed very rarely.
Dosage of Loratadine
Medicines with loratadine are available over the counter in the pharmacy. They are available in various forms, including tablets and effervescent tablets. The exact dosage of the drug should always be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.
Generally, the recommended dose for adults at ten milligrams once a day lies. Children can also get ten milligrams, if they weigh more than 30 kilograms. For children with a lower weight, five milligrams are recommended. Patients with liver damage should only take the appropriate dose every two days.
If you forget to take a dose, you can catch up on it in a timely manner. For example, if you take the medicine as a rule in the morning, it is also possible to take it in the afternoon or evening. However, if the next dose is imminent, you should not make up for the missed dose. Under no circumstances should you take two tablets at once.
Interactions and Contraindications
Loratadine is broken down in the body via the enzyme CYP3A4. If substances are taken at the same time that inhibit the activity of the enzyme, this may increase the effect and side effects of the antihistamine. Interactions may occur, inter alia, by the following means:
- Ketoconazole (fungicidal)
- Erythromycin (macrolide antibiotic)
- Cimetidine (H2-antihistamine)
- HIV protease inhibitors
- grapefruit juice
Loratadine should not be used if hypersensitivity to the active substance is present. In the case of a liver dysfunction, the active substance may only be taken under strict medical supervision, if at all.
If you plan to have a skin test, the drug should not be taken for at least two days before the test. Otherwise, the results of the test can be falsified.
pregnancy and breast feeding period
If possible, loratadine should not be taken during pregnancy. So far, there is no reliable knowledge about whether the active ingredient may cause damage to the unborn child under certain circumstances.
What is certain, however, is that he goes into breast milk while breastfeeding. The drug should therefore be taken during this time only after a careful cost-benefit analysis by the attending physician. What matters is that the benefits to the mother outweigh the potential harm to the child.