What otc allergy medicine works the best

Use Claritin exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Freezing or allergy medicine is generally taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Do not give this medicine to a kid younger than 2 years ancient. Always enquire a doctor before giving a cough or freezing medicine to a child. Death can happen from the misuse of cough and freezing medicines in extremely young children.

Claritin is generally taken once per day.

Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Do not crush, chew, or break the regular tablet. Swallow the pill whole.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not own a dose-measuring device, enquire your pharmacist for one.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

To take the orally disintegrating tablet (Claritin RediTab, Alavert):

  1. Use dry hands to remove the tablet and put it in your mouth.

  2. Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it.

    Open the package and peel back the foil. Do not shove a tablet through the foil or you may damage the tablet.

  3. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Permit it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to assist swallow the dissolved tablet.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What is Claritin?

Claritin (loratadine) is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body.

What otc allergy medicine works the best

Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

Claritin is used to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching, and other freezing or allergy symptoms.

Claritin is also used to treat skin hives and itching in people with chronic skin reactions.


  1. Common Brand Names: Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra. Generic brands are available for each.
  2. Typical Dosage: Numerous antihistamines come in pill and liquid form, as well as in nasal sprays and eye drops.

    As a pill, Benadryl is taken 25 to 50 mg at a time, three or four times a day; 4 mg of Chlor-Trimeton can be taken up to six times a day.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    Claritin and Zyrtec are taken once daily, generally 10 mg at a time. Antihistamines can reduce symptoms by as much as 80%, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  3. Active Ingredients: diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, loratadine, cetirizine.
  4. How They Work:Antihistamines relieve runny noses, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes. These medications work against histamines, chemicals released by the immune system in reaction to substances such as pollen or dust, which attach to cells and irritate them.

    In other words, antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.

  5. Important Information: Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton cause drowsiness, which may increase with alcohol consumption. Claritin and Zyrtec in the past were prescription-only, but now they are both available OTC and do not cause drowsiness. If you are also taking sleeping medication, muscle relaxants, or high blood pressure medicine, or if you own glaucoma, asthma, a stomach ulcer, or difficulty urinating, make certain to speak with your physician before taking antihistamines.

Another type of allergy medication, NasalCrom (cromolyn sodium), differs from the others in that it stabilizes mast cells, preventing the allergic response that releases histamine.

NasalCrom is available as either a nasal spray or eye drops. NasalCrom prevents swelling but doesn't reduce it, so this medication should be taken when symptoms are first noticed, or if, possible, before any exposure to allergens. The nasal spray can be used four times a day. NasalCrom is available OTC, but cromolyn eye drops are still only available by prescription.

Nasal Corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroid sprays are a newer way to treat allergy symptoms recently FDA-approved for sale without a prescription.

Brand names include Flonase, Nasacort, Rhinocort, and Flonase Sensimist. They work by reducing inflammation caused by allergies, and can be used endless term without the harm of rebound nasal congestion that accompanies decongestants love Afrin.


  1. Common Brand Names: Sudafed, Sudafed PE, Afrin nose spray. These drugs are available in generics.
  2. Typical Dosage: You can take up to eight 30-mg Sudafed tablets in 24 hours, or as numerous as six 10-mg Sudafed PE. You should take them with a full glass of water, with or without food.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    Afrin can be used twice a day.

  3. Active Ingredients: pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline
  4. How They Work:Decongestants assist you breathe better by constricting nasal blood vessels, which reduces swollen tissue.
  5. Important Information: In 2006, the US Food and Drug istration ordered that OTC pseudoephedrine is kept behind the counter to monitor its sales because pseudoephedrine is also used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.

    You must speak with the pharmacist before buying it to register your purchase. It could be worth the additional effort, though. A 2007 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology stated that pseudoephedrine works better than its substitute phenylephrine (found in Sudafed PE), and restricting its sale has been ineffective in curtailing its use in methamphetamine production.

Talk to your physician before taking antihistamines if you're also taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), insulin, stimulants, or medications for seizures, blood pressure, or asthma.

A rebound effect with worse symptoms may happen after using nasal decongestants, such as Afrin, any longer than three or four days in a row.

Many OTC remedies, such as Zyrtec-D (cetirizine-pseudoephedrine), combine antihistamines and decongestants, often with pain relievers, as in the acetaminophen product Tylenol Allergy Multi-Symptom (acetaminophen/diphenhydramine and phenylephrine).

If you experience skin-related allergy symptoms, you can attempt treating them with OTC corticosteroid creams.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to study more about how we fact-check and hold our content precise, dependable, and trustworthy.

  1. "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion." familydoctor.org.

    Dec. 2006. American Academy of Family Physicians.

  2. "Tips to Remember: Asthma and Allergy Medications." aaaai.org. 2007. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  3. "Allergy Medication." lvh.org. 29 Dec. 2008. Lehigh Valley Health Network.
  4. "Diphenhydramine." myhealth.ucsd.edu. 13 Feb. 2004.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    University of California San Diego.

  5. "Over-the-Counter Medications." aafa.org. 2005. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
  6. "Oxymetazoline Nasal." familydoctor.org. 13 Feb. 2004. American Academy of Family Physicians.
  7. "Legal Requirements for the Sale and Purchase of Drug Products Containing Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, and Phenylpropanolamine." fda.gov.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    8 May 2006. U.S. Food and Drug istration.

  8. "Allergies." ils.nlm.nih.gov. 15 Feb.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    2007. National Institutes of Health.

  9. "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options." familydoctor.org. Oct. 2006. American Academy of Family Physicians.
  10. Eccles, Ronald.

    What otc allergy medicine works the best

    "Substitution of Phenylephrine for Pseudoephedrine as a Nasal Decongestant. An Illogical Way to Control Methamphetamine Abuse." British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 63 (2007): 10-4.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Claritin if you are allergic to loratadine or to desloratadine (Clarinex).

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you own other medical conditions, especially:

  1. asthma;

  2. kidney disease; or

  3. liver disease.

Claritin is not expected to harm an unborn baby.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Loratadine can pass into breast milk, but is considered compatible with breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.


Generic Name:loratadine (lor AT a deen)
Brand Names:Alavert, Claritin, Claritin Reditab, Clear-Atadine, Dimetapp ND, ohm Allergy Relief, QlearQuil Every Day & Night, Tavist ND, Wal-itin

Medically reviewed by Sophia Entringer, PharmD Final updated on Jan 31, 2019.

What otc allergy medicine works the best

Important information

You should not take Claritin if you are allergic to loratadine or to desloratadine (Clarinex).

Follow every directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about every your medical conditions, allergies, and every medicines you use.

Some chewable dosage forms of loratadine may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of Claritin if you own phenylketonuria (PKU).

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking this medicine if you own liver or kidney disease.