Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Claritin?

The pharmacist discusses whether or not it is safe to drink alcohol if you are taking Claritin (loratadine).

Question

I take Claritin every day for allergies. I am wondering if it is safe to have a glass of wine at night.

Asked by Brittney On Jul 06, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 06, 2018

Claritin WineIt generally is not recommended to mix alcohol and antihistamines like Claritin (loratadine) due to the risk of additive sedation that may occur. However, only small number of individuals experience drowsiness on Claritin. If Claritin doesn't make you tired, it is unlikely that alcohol will interact with it or cause any sort of additive side effects, as discussed below.


Potential Interaction Between Alcohol And Claritin

Antihistamines, like Claritin, and alcohol, are CNS (central nervous system) depressants. They can cause sedation, lethargy and dizziness. Combining them can increase the risk of these effects. 


Different classes of antihistamines have varying degrees of sedating effects. Benadryl for example, a "first-generation" antihistamine, is well known to cause sedation, which is why it is often used as a night-time sleep aid in addition to its use for allergies.


However, Claritin, a "second-generation" antihistamine, is relatively non-drowsy for most individuals. According to the prescribing information for the drug, only around 8% of individuals report experiencing any sort of sedation when taking the drug. If Claritin does not cause you to be drowsy, it may be safe to drink alcohol.


In fact, a study referenced in the Canadian prescribing information for Claritin concluded that Claritin does not potentiate the effects of alcohol in individuals. Per the study:

"In a double-blind study, the ability of healthy male volunteers to concentrate, as measured by multiple choice reactions and visuomotor coordination tests was not impaired by either 40 mg loratadine alone or in combination with 0.75 g/kg of alcohol"

Lastly, most individuals take Claritin in the morning to prevent allergies from occurring. The sedatory effects of Claritin, should they happen, generally dissipate over the day. If you only consume alcohol at night, away from Claritin dosing, there is little chance you will experience additive sedation.


Conclusion

Overall, if Claritin does not make you drowsy, drinking alcohol should not cause any sort of additive side effects. If you are in the small percentage of people where Claritin does cause drowsiness, drinking alcohol will likely cause more sedation.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

About Claritin (Loratadine)

Claritin (loratadine) is an non-sedating, "second-generation" antihistamine (H1-blocker). Unlike "first-generation" antihistamines, Claritin doesn't penetrate the central nervous system in high concentrations an therefore, does not cause significant sedation. Claritin was first approved by the FDA in April 1993 as a prescription medication and was approved for over the counter sale in December 2002. Claritin may be taken with or without food, with the onset of action occurring within 1 to 3 hours. Peak effects are generally seen in 8 to 12 hours. Claritin has a long duration of action and is therefore dosed once daily.

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