What is Claritin?

Claritin is an antihistamine medication that is used to relieve the symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. It is also used to relieve the itching of hives. Claritin is available as a tablet, a syrup, and a rapidly disintegrating tablet to take by mouth. The tablet and syrup are usually taken once a day with or without food. The rapidly disintegrating tablet is usually taken with or without food once a day. To help you remember to take Claritin, take it at around the same time every day.

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Claritin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of Claritin and gradually increase your dose. Claritin is usually taken for only a short time, such as 3 or 7 days, until your symptoms clear up.

If you are taking Claritin to treat hives, your doctor may tell you to take 1 or 2 doses daily for up to 6 weeks. If you are taking Claritin to treat hives and your hives do not improve within 2 days of beginning Claritin, call your doctor.

If you are taking Claritin to treat allergies or hives, you should feel better within a few days. If your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse, call your doctor.

Claritin may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.

Do not stop taking Claritin without talking to your doctor. Your doctor may want to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely.

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dry mouth, and upset stomach are the most common side effects of Claritin. These effects are usually mild and go away within a few days.

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Claritin and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; hives; or itching);
  • nervousness, tremor, or seizures (convulsions);
  • fast or irregular heartbeat;
  • urinating less often than usual or not at all; or
  • nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Claritin and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • tiredness;
  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea; or
  • dry eyes.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Claritin?

Before taking Claritin, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);
  • antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), desipramine (Norpramin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), or sertraline (Zoloft);
  • heart rhythm medicine such as disopyramide (Norpace), procainamide (Procanbid, Pronestyl), quinidine (Cardioquin, Quin-G), or sotalol (Betapace, Betapace AF, Sorine, Sotylize);
  • isoniazid (for treating tuberculosis);
  • linezolid (Zyvox);
  • MAO inhibitors such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate);
  • medicines to treat mood, mental illness, or psychotic conditions, such as aripiprazole (Abilify), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zyprexa Zydis), paliperidone (Invega), prochlorperazine (Compazine), quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), or ziprasidone (Geodon); or
  • phenobarbital (Solfoton) or other barbiturate medicine.

If you are taking any of these medicines, you may need a different dose of Claritin, or you may need to take different medicines.

Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can interact with Claritin, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.

Do not take Claritin within 2 weeks before or after taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Do not take Claritin with fruit juices such as apple, grape

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