Is Claritin Safe If You Have Glaucoma?

Claritin (loratadine) is a second-generation antihistamine which are generally considered to be safe if you have glaucoma.

Question

Can I take Claritin (loratadine) if I have glaucoma?

Asked by Billy On Oct 31, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Oct 31, 2018

Glaucoma TitleOverview

Claritin (loratadine) is considered a safe antihistamine to take if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma (1, 2).


In fact, since Claritin is a second-generation antihistamine, it is preferred over older, first-generation antihistamines, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine). First-generation antihistamines may increase the risk of precipitating an acute attack of glaucoma.


Antihistamines And Glaucoma

Only certain antihistamines are recommended to be used if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma.



Older, first-generation antihistamines tend to have stronger anticholinergic effects and should be avoided in those with glaucoma, especially in those specifically diagnosed with closed-angle glaucoma (3, 4).


First-generation antihistamines include:

  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
  • Chlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine)
  • Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate)
  • Doxylamine
  • Tavist (Clemastine)
  • Brompheniramine


As a general recommendation, an antihistamine with less anticholinergic effects should be substituted for first-generation antihistamines if you are diagnosed with glaucoma. First-generation antihistamines can increase intraocular pressure, increasing the risk of an acute attack of glaucoma.


Other adverse ocular effects that could result from the use of first-generation antihistamines include dry eyes and blurred vision. Elderly individuals may be particularly susceptible to the anticholinergic effects of first-generation antihistamines.


Second-generation antihistamines have far less anticholinergic effects than first-generation antihistamines and are generally considered compatible in those diagnosed with glaucoma (5, 6).


Second-generation antihistamines include:

  • Claritin (Loratadine)
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
  • Allegra (Fexofenadine)
  • Xyzal (Levocetirizine)


Out of the second-generation antihistamines, Claritin and Allegra are thought to have the least anticholinergic effects (7, 8). They are safe for most individuals diagnosed with glaucoma.


Nevertheless, it's never a bad idea to talk with your doctor regarding over the counter medications you are looking at taking and which would be safe to use in your particular medical situation.


Summary

  • Claritin (loratadine), a second-generation antihistamine, is generally considered safe in those with glaucoma and shouldn't make the condition worse.
  • First-generation antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl) should generally be avoided in those with glaucoma as they increase the risk of an acute glaucoma attack.

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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

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