Loratadine and Cetirizine are both second-generation antihistamines. They are more preferred compared to first-generation antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine due to their non-drowsy effect. This is because second-generation antihistamines do not cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike first-generation antihistamines. Another difference between first and second-generation antihistamines is that the first-generation requires multiple intakes of the drug in a day whereas second-generation antihistamines usually require a single intake in a day.
Antihistamines generally work to stop the effects of naturally found histamine in the body. These histamines are usually released by cells in response to a foreign body such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is sort of a signal used by cells to identify particles that they need to get rid of. At times, histamines can be released in response to pretty harmless foreign bodies, for example, pollen and dust, which results in an allergic reaction. These drugs are then used to relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, or throat. However, these drugs will not work in severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, which is an emergency case that must be treated in a hospital setting.
Some conditions that can be treated with Loratadine and Cetirizine include :
- Hay fever
- Allergic rhinitis
- Allergic conjunctivitis
Side effects of Loratadine and Cetirizine
Since Loratadine and Cetirizine are both from the same class of antihistamines, their side effect profiles are somewhat similar. Those include :
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness (seen in some people)
Other side effects that are specific to the use of Loratadine include :
- Difficulty in sleeping
While other side effects of Cetirizine include :
- Sore throat
Nevertheless, these side effects are only temporary and do not require medical attention, but if your symptoms worsen after taking these drugs, you are advised to visit the nearest clinic for further management. These drugs are contraindicated to those with a history of allergy towards any of the excipients of the drug. Usage of this drug for pregnant mothers is allowed but their usage has to be restricted as there hasn’t been much research on second-generation antihistamines and their effect on pregnancy. Both of these drugs are secreted in breast milk, so breastfeeding mothers are recommended to take caution with these drugs.
What is the dosage of Loratadine and Cetirizine?
Loratadine and Cetirizine are both available in tablet and syrup formulations. The recommended dosage of Loratadine is 10mg once daily or 5mg twice daily, while Cetirizine is recommended at 5-10mg depending on the severity of the symptoms. Both drugs are only to be used by adults and children above the age of 2. However, it is best to follow the doctor’s advice regarding the dosage and if you are buying these drugs over the counter, please refer to the instructions on dosage that is available on the leaflet. These drugs should be used with caution in patients with renal and hepatic impairment. If you are under any other medication, you are advised to refer to a doctor before taking these medications as it may interfere with the actions of other drugs or reduce their efficacy. In conclusion, Loratadine and Cetirizine are both second-generation antihistamines that are available via prescription or over-the-counter. These drugs work in similar ways to relieve allergy symptoms and have almost the same side effects which include dry mouth, headache, fatigue, and drowsiness. Always refer to the recommended dosage before taking these medications. Keep in mind that these drugs are to be used as the treatment of symptoms and not as a preventive measure against allergies.