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How Safe Is Loratadine for Children?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Loratadine, an over-the-counter (OTC) drug used to relieve respiratory allergy symptoms, is generally considered safe for most children. It is not recommended for children under two years old, however, and parents may do well to contact a doctor before administering it to their children for the first time. Though it is usually safe to use loratadine for children, speaking to a pediatrician can help ensure that it is safe for the particular child and won't interact poorly with any other medications. In many cases, the most serious issue with using loratadine for children is the potential for side effects, such as drowsiness, confused thinking, dry mouth, and headaches; severe reactions to the drug can cause heart palpitations, wheezing, and facial swelling.

When a child has symptoms of a respiratory allergy, there are many OTC remedies a parent may consider administering, and one of them is loratadine. Using loratadine for children can help relieve such symptoms as itching of the eyes and throat, sneezing, and runny nose. In general, the medication is considered safe for children, but this doesn't mean it is safe for all children — health experts recommend against its use for children who are under two years old, for instance. Likewise, a parent is usually advised to contact a doctor before using this medication for a child who has liver or kidney disease. Additionally, parents may feel more comfortable giving this medication to their children if they first check with a pediatrician.

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Despite the fact that the drug is usually considered safe, using loratadine for children isn't always problem-free. The drug can cause side effects, which are usually minor. For example, a child may experience drowsiness and headaches while taking some formulations, and dry mouth and thinking disturbances may develop as well. Less often, more serious side effects can occur, such as heart palpitations, extreme dizziness, extreme fatigue, or severe excitability. In some cases, drug allergy reactions may occur as well, which can include such symptoms as rashes, wheezing, or swelling of the face and throat.

If minor side effects develop from the use of loratadine for children, a parent will have to decide whether to continue use of the medication, depending on how irritating the effects are for the child. He may also choose to notify the child's doctor of the side effects at the child's next doctor's visit. Signs of severe reactions, however, warrant immediate contact with a doctor and often a trip to a hospital emergency room.

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