Loratadine (brand name Claritin) is an over-the-counter medication used to treat symptoms associated with allergies. Consuming alcohol while using loratadine is not recommended by health professionals, as drinking may undermine its effectiveness at treating allergies. Also, when these two are used in conjunction, each substance’s effects may be compounded.
Alcohol use can also lead to many side effects when consumed with pharmaceuticals, even those available without a prescription. Many of these side effects can be dangerous, and in extreme cases, may be life-threatening. Loratadine is sometimes used by people concurrently with alcohol, either in an attempt to experience more sedating effects or because they don’t realize that this is a bad practice.
Loratadine acts in the body to block or decrease the amount of histamine, chemicals that can cause an immune system response and lead to allergic reactions. Therefore, suppressing these chemicals can result in relief from certain allergies. Primary side effects associated with mixing loratadine and alcohol are related to the fact that both substances can produce drowsiness and fatigue.
Side Effects of Using Loratadine and Alcohol
While side effects of mixing loratadine with alcohol may not be as severe as those associated with other medications, such as opioids or sedatives, there is still the potential for concerning side effects, which may include the following:
Drowsiness and Dizziness
Because both loratadine and alcohol can induce sedation, this can lead to dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue. These effects related to loratadine’s use may not be particularly notable when the medication is used independently but may become more evident when combined with alcohol. Each substance amplifies the other’s effects and can, therefore, exacerbate the associated dizziness and drowsiness.
Increased Likelihood of Injury
When consumed in excess, alcohol effectively impairs an individual’s judgment, decision-making abilities, and coordination. These effects can result in falls and severe injuries. People are often unaware of the extent of their sedation and intoxication and will engage in risky activities, such as operating a motor vehicle. Even ordinary activities, such as walking or using stairs, can prove challenging and dangerous. The additional sedation produced by loratadine can increase the risk of physical injury and falls while under the influence.
Increased Overdose Risk
Using loratadine and alcohol simultaneously can increase the risk of acute alcohol poisoning. Moreover, the liver is forced to work harder to process and break down both substances instead of each one individually.
Loratadine causes the liver to process alcohol more slowly, allowing it to accumulate in the blood and increase the risk of an overdose. As the liver strives to process these substances efficiently, the person’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) may be higher than otherwise (without loratadine) and lead to more intoxication and possible risks associated with it.
Increased and Intensified Allergy Symptoms
Alcohol use can interfere with many medications, including anti-allergy products, and it is also thought to have the potential to undermine their primary functions. If this occurs, allergy-related symptoms may not be alleviated as effectively as they normally would, therefore defeating the whole reason why antihistamines were being used in the first place. Some research has also found that alcohol can cause or exacerbate asthma and hay fever symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, itching, and headaches.
But the issue is not solely the alcohol itself. Alcoholic beverages often contain allergy-triggering histamines created by bacteria and yeast during the fermentation process. Beer and wine also contain chemicals known as sulfites, which can aggravate asthma and other allergy-related symptoms.
Finally, excessive, long-term alcohol abuse can adversely impact the immune system and the body’s ability to heal sufficiently. These potential effects might also contribute to an intensification of allergy-related symptoms.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
If you are taking loratadine for allergy relief and are planning on drinking alcohol, you are urged to discuss the risks of doing so with a licensed health provider who can advise you on your decision. If you or someone you knew are struggling with alcohol abuse and have found yourself unable to quit, you should seek professional addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers are dedicated to helping individuals who abuse substances break free from this vicious cycle and foster healthier and more fulfilling lives. Our personalized programs are designed to address all aspects of a person’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health and well-being. Our services are intended to uncover the root causes of each individual’s addiction and any other health conditions that co-occur.