Claritin and Alcohol: Side Effects and Risks (2023)

Claritin is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that’s used to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.

Common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itchy eyes

Mixing Claritin and alcohol can cause side effects. The safest option is to avoid alcohol altogether when taking Claritin and similar medications.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how alcohol can interact with Claritin and the possible side effects of mixing the two.

Claritin is the brand-name version of a drug called loratadine. Generic versions of loratadine are also available.

Medications that contain loratadine as their active ingredient can help relieve the following upper respiratory symptoms:

(Video) Reasons Why Decongestants Are Dangerous

These symptoms are caused by allergens such as pollen or dust.

When an allergen enters your body, your immune system may mistakenly identify the allergen as a dangerous intruder. It then activates chemicals, like histamine, to fight off the intruder.

Histamine triggers an immune system response designed to rid your body of the allergen. You start to sniffle, sneeze, and itch.

Loratadine is part of a class of drugs called antihistamines. It works by preventing histamine from binding to histamine receptors in your body. This stops allergy symptoms.

There are two types of antihistamines: first- and second-generation. First-generation antihistamines are more likely to cause drowsiness compared to second-generation antihistamines.

Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine. Though drowsiness is a possible side effect, it’s rare.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol can interact with antihistamines like Claritin.

(Video) Loratadine ( Claritin 10mg ): What is Loratadine Used For, Dosage, Side Effects & Precautions?

The main issue is that both alcohol and antihistamines are central nervous system depressants. Both can leave you feeling:

  • uncoordinated
  • weak
  • sleepy

When combined, these effects can be dangerous.

These effects are more pronounced when alcohol is mixed with first-generation antihistamines, like Benadryl.

Though second-generation antihistamines like Claritin are less likely to cause serious side effects, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to mix this type of medication with alcohol.

How you react to mixing Claritin and alcohol depends on many different factors, including your:

  • age
  • sex
  • overall health

Women and older adults are more likely to experience serious alcohol-medication interactions.

Mixing alcohol and Claritin may also be riskier if you have certain conditions, such as:

Alcohol also affects the way your body processes medication. It may make the antihistamine less effective at relieving your allergy symptoms.

If this happens, don’t take more Claritin until the alcohol is out of your system.

Both alcohol and Claritin slow down nervous system activity. This may result in the following side effects.


Both alcohol and Claritin decrease your heart rate. This makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. You might feel:

  • faint
  • lightheaded
  • weak

You may find it harder to control your movements.


Mixing alcohol and Claritin could leave you feeling tired or sleepy. While Claritin doesn’t usually cause drowsiness on its own, this side effect is more likely when alcohol is present.

Increased risk of overdose

When you mix alcohol and Claritin, your liver takes longer to process both substances. You might feel more intoxicated than you normally would.

If too much alcohol builds up in your system, it can increase your risk of an alcohol overdose.

(Video) 4 HARMFUL alcohol + medication combos (Pharmacist explains)

Can Claritin interact with other substances?

(Video) Loratadine 10 mg Side Effects

Claritin is generally safe, with a low risk of serious drug interactions.

It’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication.

Let them know if you’re taking other prescription or nonprescription medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements. They can help you minimize any interactions with Claritin.

Some medications that may interact with Claritin include:

  • amiodarone (Pacerone)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Epitol)
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • darunavir (Prezista)
  • dasatinib (Sprycel)
  • erythromycin (Erygel, Eryped)
  • ketoconazole
  • midodrine (ProAmatine)
  • ranolazine (Ranexa)
  • rifampin (Rifadin)
  • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • St. John’s wort

You should also speak to your doctor about taking Claritin with other medications that can cause drowsiness, as Claritin can worsen this side effect.

Claritin is an antihistamine that contains loratadine. It’s used to treat symptoms caused by seasonal allergies. As a second-generation antihistamine, it has a lower risk of drowsiness.


Claritin is less likely than other antihistamines to cause serious side effects when mixed with alcohol. However, side effects such as dizziness and sleepiness are still possible.

Plus, Claritin may interfere with your liver’s ability to process alcohol, increasing your risk of an overdose if you drink too much.

Because of these risks, it’s best to avoid alcohol when taking Claritin.


What happens if you drink alcohol with Claritin? ›

Even so, some drowsiness and dizziness are still possible with Claritin. And these effects may be worse if it's combined with alcohol. In general, it's best to avoid or limit alcohol if you're taking Claritin. Your healthcare provider can tell you how much alcohol may be safe in your specific situation.

What happens if you drink alcohol with antihistamines? ›

Taking them together is dangerous because they can slow down your CNS too much. This can cause drowsiness, sedation, and trouble doing physical and mental tasks that require alertness. In short, Benadryl and alcohol shouldn't be used together.

Can you drink alcohol with Claritin tablets? ›

Loratadine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine, but some people still find it makes them feel slightly sleepy. Children may have a headache and feel tired or nervous after taking loratadine. It's best not to drink alcohol while you're taking loratadine as it can make you feel sleepy.

Can you take Claritin after a glass of wine? ›

Mixing alcohol and Claritin is not safe or advisable because when these substances are mixed, the side effects of each substance is worsened. Alcohol can create many different types of side effects when mixed with other medications. Some of these side effects can be dangerous or even potentially deadly.

Can you drink while on allergy meds? ›

It is not recommended to mix Zyrtec and alcohol as it can increase the side effects of both substances. Zyrtec (cetirizine) is an antihistamine that is used to treat allergies, hives, and other conditions. Alcohol can also cause drowsiness and dizziness.

How long after drinking can I take antihistamine? ›

How long after drinking can I take Benadryl? You should wait at least six hours before taking Benadryl after drinking. Healthcare providers prescribe Benadryl if a person is experiencing allergic symptoms. The drug is a helpful allergy medication.

Who should not take Claritin? ›

Claritin is generally avoided during pregnancy and nursing. Pregnant women may take Claritin only if it is clearly needed. Nursing mothers should consult their doctor before breastfeeding. Claritin should not be used in children younger than 6 years of age unless directed by a doctor.

Which allergy medicine is best with alcohol? ›

Loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), or cetirizine (Zyrtec) and alcohol are generally considered a slightly safer combination. These medications do not typically cause drowsiness or other side effects that are intensified by alcohol consumption.

Does alcohol cancel out antihistamines? ›

Try not to drink alcohol while taking an antihistamine, particularly if it's a type that makes you drowsy, as it can increase the chances of it making you feel sleepy. Food and other drinks do not affect most antihistamines, but check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to make sure.

What happens if you drink alcohol while taking Zyrtec? ›

Side Effects of Mixing Zyrtec with Alcohol

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and when it's paired with Zyrtec, it can cause sedation and extreme drowsiness. Combining the two substances can also cause problems in thinking, judgment, and motor skills. Alcohol on its own can cause these problems.

Why do I get congested after drinking? ›

Alcohol intolerance can cause immediate, uncomfortable reactions after you drink alcohol. The most common signs and symptoms are stuffy nose and skin flushing. Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body can't break down alcohol efficiently.

Is Claritin hard on the liver? ›

Patients with renal and/or liver disease may be at greater risk for adverse effects from loratadine due to drug and metabolite accumulation. The manufacturer recommends one-half the regular dosage initially in patients with liver failure or decreased renal function (GFR < 30 mL/min).

What is the most common side effect of Claritin? ›

Dry mouth, mild stomach upset, trouble sleeping, dizziness, headache, nervousness, loss of appetite, or thirst may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Does Claritin raise blood pressure? ›

However, medicines containing decongestants — including Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D — could increase your blood pressure and heart rate or interfere with your heart medication.

How long should I wait to take medicine after drinking alcohol? ›

If the amount of alcohol used would be classified as binge drinking, it may take 18 to 24 hours to be alcohol-free. It may take your liver a while to recover even after alcohol is fully removed from your body, so it is safest to wait at least 72 hours after drinking to take Tylenol.

Can I take Benadryl after drinking a glass of wine? ›

Why Mixing Benadryl with Alcohol is Dangerous. One trait that Benadryl and alcohol have in common is that they both depress your central nervous system (CNS). The depression of your CNS can cause decreased heart rate, slow your rate of breathing, loss of consciousness and can lead to a coma in rare cases.


1. Alcohol and Histamine | Chris Masterjohn Lite #93
(Chris Masterjohn, PhD)
2. Side Effects of Antihistamines
(Aspire Allergy & Sinus)
3. Why doctors are advising against Benadryl
(CBC News: The National)
4. How to Stop Drinking Alcohol and Save Your Liver
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
5. What is Histamine Intolerance? High Histamine Foods to Avoid – Dr.Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
6. Cetirizine 10 mg Overview | Includes Use, Dose, Side Effects, and Alcohol
(Pharmacist Tips)


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