Claritin and Alcohol

What is Claritin?

Claritin is a Brand name for antihistamine drug that contains loratadine as an active ingredient. Loratadine is second generation, non-sedating and long-acting, antihistamine drug that reduces the effects of natural histamine during allergic reactions in the body.

Unlike classical first generation antihistamines it does not causes CNS depressing effects such as drowsiness. It is used for relieving the symptoms of hives, skin rash, itching, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and other allergy or cold symptoms.

Claritin can be also used for the treatment of chronic skin hives and itching. Claritin is available in following dosage forms and strengths: solution (5mg/5ml), syrup (1mg), tablet (10mg), chewable tablet (5mg), orally disintegrated tablet (5 and 10mg), capsule and liquid filled capsule (10mg).

Other products on the market containing loratadine are: Alavert, Claritin Reditab, Clear-Atadine, Dimetapp ND, ohm Allergy Relief, QlearQuil All Day & Night, Tavist ND, Wal-itin.

How does Claritin work in the body?

Loratadine, the active substance of Claritin, is a long acting second generation antihistamine. Loratadine has similar pharmacology effects to other antihistamines, but unlike other H1-antagonists, loratidine has more competitive, specific, and selective antagonism properties for H1 receptors.

Exact mechanism of prolonged antihistamine effects is unknown, but it may be because of drug’s slow dissociation from the H1 receptor or because of the formation of its active metabolite desloratidine.

Loratadine does not penetrate blood-brain barrier effectively and has a low affinity for H1-receptors in CNS than other antihistamine drugs. Studies showed that loratadine has a low affinity for cholinergic receptors and does not have any significant alpha-adrenergic antagonist in-vitro activity.

Loratadine can also suppress the release of histamine and leukotrienes mastocytes in animals, and the release of leukotrienes, however the clinical importance of this is still unknown.

What alcohol does to your body and brain?

Along with nicotine and caffeine, alcohol is the most widely used and abused addictive drug, that has a number of effects in human body. Alcohol has: anxiolytic, mood-enhancing and sedative, motor incoordination efects, reaction slowing and judgment impairing effects on our body.

At very high doses alcohol can act as anesthetic producing the loss of consciousness. In addition, as a result of acute intoxication, alcohol can produce nausea and vomiting, and also headache accompanied by thirst and general misery.

Chronic alcohol abuse over years can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and heart disease such as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Studies also showed that alcohol abuse can increase in the risk for many types of cancer. Alcohol abuse is a major public health problem that leads to increased risk of injury and death, as well as poor functioning in society.

The most common alcohol-drug interactions

A numbers of most commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drugs may have interactions with alcohol. These medications are mostly used for next indications: coronary heart disease and angina, anxiety and epilepsy, depression, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, cold and flu, high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, migraine, high cholesterol, muscle pain, inflammation and sleep problems.

Examples of frequently used prescription drugs that are associated with dangerous alcohol interactions include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which can increase risk of ulcers, stomach bleeding, heart attacks, strokes, heart disease drugs, that can cause sudden changes in blood pressure and fast heartbeat and ;  blood-thinners drugs , which can cause internal bleeding; and sleep medicines, that can cause serious side effects such as: loss of motor coordination, impaired breathing and unusual behavior.

One of the most common and serious alcohol-OTC drug interaction is alcohol-acetaminophen interaction which can cause severe liver damage, including some cases that require liver transplant.

Acetaminophen is pain reliever drug that can be found in many OTC preparation, therefore there is a high chance of overdosing and causing interaction.

Other serious alcohol interactions are associated with OTC antihistamine drugs and different herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort, kava kava, valerian, chamomile, and lavender.

can you mix alcohol and claritin

Can Patients take Claritin with Alcohol?

As newer antihistamine class, Claritin has no sedating effects. In comparison with other antihistamines drugs, Claritin is less likely to cause drowsiness, although in some predisposed people, who are more sensitive to this drug, drowsiness may be developed.

So, combining Alcohol and Claritin may or may not cause problems. Usually, patients who develop drowsiness are at an increased risk of experiencing negative effects due to this drug interaction, and they are advised to avoid alcohol while they are on a Claritin therapy.

While Claritin is considered as “non-drowsy” drug, clinical studies showed that up to 8% of patients on this drug therapy have been reported drowsiness. In Patients who experience drowsiness after only Claritin administration, alcohol can potentiate this side effect.

Patients on Claritin therapy may also experience difficulty of performing activities and concentrating or performing the actions that require focus. Driving or operating heavy machinery may be dangerous, and it is not advised.

In some patients, excessive drowsiness that can be caused after taking alcohol with Claritin can lead to serious injuries such as falls, especially among elderly patients.

Women and older patients may respond differently to alcohol, and this population is at higher risk of developing negative effects. These special populations may have lower tolerance to alcohol therefore are at an increased risk for this drug interaction.

Patients should never drink alcohol right after drug is taken; combining these substances increases the risk of drug interaction which can lead to side effects.

The table below shows the incidence of side effects after Claritin administration in recommendable doses. The incidence can be increased if it is taken together with Alcohol.

Frequency not defined Nervousness, Headache, Drowsiness, Weakness Diarrhea, Intestinal pain, Hoarseness, sore throat or dry throat, Nosebleeds, Reddened eyes and blurred vision, Stomach pain, Dry mouth, Minor skin rashes, Sleep difficulties, Sore throat, Red or itchy eyes, Mouth sores, Rapid heartbeat or palpitations, Fainting, Jaundice, Seizures, Inability to sweat or cry, Skin rash, Hives, Itching, Swelling, Breathing difficulties

Alcohol interactions preventing guidelines

Even the most of drugs are effective and safe when they used as it is directed by doctor or pharmacist, it’s important for patient to read warning labels on all medications and herbal remedies.

Many popular medicines for pain, allergy, cough or cold have more than one active ingredient that may have adverse interaction with alcohol.

If patients are not sure if some medication can be combined with alcohol, they should avoid any alcohol consumption until  doctor or pharmacist told them that it’s safe to combine the two.

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