The Independent Pharmacy

Can You Mix Alcohol With Loratadine?

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 7 May 2024

Can you mix Loratadine and alcohol?

It’s best to avoid mixing alcohol and Loratadine. Doing so can increase the chances of experiencing certain side effects that can make your daily activities harder and may even put your safety at risk.

Loratadine and alcohol don’t directly interact with each other in the body. But taking them together can increase the effects of alcohol and Loratadine. Combining them raises the risk of feeling really drowsy, dizzy, and having trouble concentrating or moving normally.

Feeling out of it or having slow reflexes can be concerning, especially if you have responsibilities like driving or operating machinery. We're here to help you avoid these risks.

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The clear guidance from healthcare professionals is to skip alcoholic drinks while taking Loratadine or other hay fever medications unless your doctor says it’s okay. Your health and well-being should always come first.

Let’s look at the details, but following that simple advice can help prevent unnecessary issues.

Key Takeaways

  • You should not mix alcohol and the antihistamine Loratadine (Clarityn).
  • Combining the two increases potential risks like extreme drowsiness and impaired coordination.
  • Talk to your doctor before using alcohol, as they may suggest alternative hay fever tablets that won't make you feel drowsy.
  • If you must, separate alcohol from your Loratadine dose by at least 24 hours.

Can You Mix Alcohol With Loratadine?

You should NOT mix antihistamines like Loratadine and alcohol based on advice from the NHS.

While loratadine and alcohol don't chemically react with each other, drinking alcohol can make loratadine's side effects, like sleepiness and dizziness, worse.

Loratadine, found in common hay fever medications like Clarityn, helps relieve hay fever symptoms like runny noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing by blocking histamine. Histamine is a chemical your body releases during an allergic reaction. While good at treating hay fever, Loratadine can also make some people feel drowsy, especially when they first start taking it.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down your brain activity and can make it difficult to think clearly. So when you add it to Loratadine’s sedative effects, you’re increasing those tired, sluggish feelings and making it more difficult to coordinate your movements and respond quickly.

That’s why most medical experts warn against drinking alcohol while taking antihistamines like Loratadine. The potential risks of excessive drowsiness and impaired abilities often outweigh any benefits, particularly when there are safer ways to manage your symptoms of allergies.

What Are the Risks of Mixing Loratadine with Alcohol?

Increased Side Effects

While mixing Loratadine and alcohol may not directly interact inside the body, combining them can still increase certain side effects in concerning ways. It could even increase the risk of overdose. According to the NICE, the biggest risk is experiencing heightened drowsiness and dizziness.

You see, the NHS states that Loratadine on its own can already make more than 1 in 100 people feel quite sleepy. Especially when they first start taking it. Add alcohol into the mix, and those sedative effects get turbo-charged. You may find yourself feeling extremely drowsy, unfocused, and uncoordinated.

This increased sleepiness can make it harder and more dangerous to do everyday tasks like working or running errands. It can actually put your safety at risk. Having slowed reaction times and impaired motor skills increases the risk of accidents, whether you’re driving, operating machinery, or just going about your day.

The NICE advises to watch out for signs that your medication and alcohol are affecting you badly:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with balance or coordination
  • Changes in blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms, please take care, avoid risky activities, and give your body time to recover.

General Safety Advice

So what should you do if you've already consumed alcohol and then realised you need to take your Loratadine? Follow these steps:

  • Wait a few hours before taking the medication to allow your body to process the alcohol
  • Go about your day cautiously and monitor for excessive drowsiness or coordination issues
  • Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery

We encourage you to talk openly with your healthcare provider or one of our pharmacists about your concerns. They are there to support you and help ensure your safety. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation, alcohol drinking habits, dosage needs, and any other medications you may be taking.

Their expertise can help you make the most informed decision about whether mixing Loratadine and alcohol is truly worth risking the potential side effects. More often than not, they’ll likely recommend separating the two to stay on the safe side.

Safe Use Recommendations for Loratadine

Best Practices for Taking Loratadine

When it comes to taking Loratadine safely, the most important thing is to follow the dosage instructions on the Patient Information Leaflet. This medication comes in different strengths, so taking more than directed can increase your risk of side effects like drowsiness.

So, when should you take hay fever medications like Loratadine?

Take loratadine at a time when you don't need to drive or use heavy equipment soon after. You should also make sure you know how long hay fever tablets take to work. The peak drowsiness of Loratadine tends to hit about 1-2 hours after taking it.

Finally, be sure to read all medication labels and informational inserts carefully. Pay special attention to any warnings about mixing with alcohol or other substances. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your pharmacist for more information.

Alternatives and Preventive Measures

Of course, the simplest way to avoid any concerns about mixing Loratadine and alcohol is to take a break from drinking while managing your seasonal allergy symptoms. However, we understand that birthdays, weddings, and other social events may come up. Or you might have to deal with hay fever on holiday, while you want to relax.

In those cases, consider asking your doctor about trying a different non-drowsy allergy medication that may have less severe side effect risks if combined with alcohol. Every situation is unique, though, so get personalised medical advice.

Ultimately, a little proactive planning and open communication with your healthcare team can go a long way. Don’t try to “tough it out” - prioritise your health and safety first.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

If your allergy symptoms are still a problem, it might be time to try a more personalised treatment approach. The Independent Pharmacy offers a free online self-assessment tool that allows you to describe your specific medical condition and hay fever treatment needs in detail.

Once completed, one of our pharmacists will review your responses and recommend appropriate medications or remedies tailored just for you. The goal is effective hay fever relief with a minimised risk of adverse effects or harmful interactions.

You don’t have to struggle alone with your hay fever issues. Help is available and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Visit The Independent Pharmacy’s website today and read through our hay fever guides if you'd like to learn more about your condition. You can even learn about the difference between Desloratadine and Loratadine.

Get in touch with our team and take the first step towards a customised treatment plan crafted by professionals.

Your long-lasting relief could be just a few clicks away.

FAQs

Can you drink alcohol on Loratadine?

It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Loratadine. The combination of alcohol and Loratadine can increase drowsiness and dizziness and impair your coordination and judgement. If you find yourself in a situation where you might consider drinking, please consult with your doctor or pharmacist first. They understand your needs and can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Is it OK to drink alcohol while taking antihistamines?

No, medical professionals generally recommend avoiding alcohol when taking any antihistamine medication like Loratadine. Alcohol amplifies the sedative effects of these allergy drugs, which can compromise your abilities and safety.

Is Loratadine hard on the liver?

When taken as directed, Loratadine is not known to cause significant strain on the liver in most healthy adults. However, excessive dosages or combining with other drugs your liver needs to process could potentially lead to issues. Consult your doctor if you have any liver damage or concerns.

When should you not take Loratadine?

You’ll want to avoid taking Loratadine if you need to drive, operate heavy machinery, or require full mental alertness shortly after taking your dose due to potential drowsiness. Also, avoid it if you’ve consumed alcohol or taken other sedating medications until consulting your doctor.

How many hours after taking antihistamines can I drink?

There’s no definitive timeframe, as the effects of antihistamines like Loratadine can last 24 hours or more. To be on the safe side, separate your doses from alcohol consumption by at least 24 hours. But individual responses may vary, so discuss with your pharmacist.

Does alcohol make histamine worse?

Some evidence suggests that alcohol can cause an inflammatory response in the body, potentially worsening allergy symptoms by increasing histamine levels. It’s another reason why avoiding alcohol while taking antihistamines makes sense from a management standpoint.

Sources:

NICE (2024). Loratadine - https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/itch-widespread/prescribing-information/loratadine/

NHS (2021). Loratadine - https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/loratadine/

NHS (2022). Alcohol misuse - Risks - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/risks/

Ranbaxy (UK) Limited a Sun Pharmaceutical Company (2024). Loratadine 10mg Tablets: Patient Information Leaflet - https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/8911/pil

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