Loratadine tablets belong to a group ofmedicines called antihistamines.Loratadine tablets are used to relieve: allergy symptoms such as runny andblocked nose, sneezing, watery eyes (e.g. hayfever) a skin condition with pale or red irregularraised patches and severe itching (urticaria).
Loratadine can treat:
- Hay fever in adults and children aged two years and over.
- Nasal inflammation due to year-round allergies in adults and children aged two years and over.
- Ongoing itchy rash with no known cause in adults and children aged two years and over.
Loratadine was discovered in 1981 and entered the market in 1993. It is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications necessary in a basic health system.
Histamine is a substance produced by the immune system. It is stored in cells called mast cells which are found in almost all body tissues. When the body reacts to a foreign substance, or allergen, the mast cells release their stores of histamine.
The released histamine then binds to its receptors (histamine H1 receptors), causing a reaction that results in allergic symptoms. It causes increased blood flow to the area of the allergy and the release of other chemicals that add to the allergic response. This results in allergies. In hay fever, histamine causes itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
Loratadine blocks histamine H1 receptors. This in turn, prevents the release of other chemicals and reduces the blood supply to the area, providing relief from the typical hay fever symptoms.
Loratadine can also relieve the symptoms of chronic idiopathic urticarial, this looks very similar to nettle rash but the cause is unknown. Blocking the actions of histamine relieves the itching and reduces the rash.
Loratadine is a non-sedating antihistamine. It does not enter the brain and is therefore unlikely to cause drowsiness. In rare cases, some people may experience slight drowsiness.