Can I Take Claritin While Pregnant?

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While your body is going through a ton of changes during your pregnancy, some things stay the same—like those annoying seasonal allergies. When your allergies flare up, you may be wondering if your usual meds are OK to take while pregnant. 

Claritin, a common allergy treatment, is generally safe to take while pregnant, but as with any medications, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking it. Learn more about what experts have to say about reaching for Claritin when your allergies are particularly pesky.

What Is Claritin?

Claritin is the brand name for the allergy drug loratadine. Claritin has meds for allergies, nasal decongestion, and even specific products for children. Part of what makes Claritin popular is that it can knock out your allergy symptoms—like runny nose, sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throat—without making you sleepy. 

Claritin targets the histamines that your body produces as a reaction to things you’re allergic to, including common airborne environmental triggers like pollen or cat dander. You can buy this antihistamine over the counter to treat some skin reactions as well, especially those related to allergies.

Is It Safe to Take Claritin During Pregnancy?

The short answer is yes. “[Claritin] is generally considered safe to use for allergy symptoms during pregnancy,” says Sarah McBane, PharmD, a clinical professor and associate dean of Pharmacy Education at UC Irvine School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She adds, “Pregnant women should always discuss any over-the-counter medications, supplements, or prescription medications with their OB provider.”

Claritin can have side effects like headaches, dry mouth, drowsiness, and increased nervousness for anyone who takes it. It’s not expected for people to experience any increased side effects when taking Claritin during their pregnancy, according to Jill Purdie, MD, medical director and OBGYN at Northside Women’s Specialists in Atlanta.

“There are no dangers pregnant women should be aware of if they take Claritin,” Dr. Purdie says. However, like Dr. McBane points out, there should always be a conversation between parents-to-be and their doctors when it comes to any medication.

Both Dr. McBane and Dr. Purdie recommend pregnant individuals take the 10 mg dosage noted on the Claritin package. If you experience more intense side effects like a severe headache, racing heart rate, or lightheadedness as a result of taking the Claritin, contact your healthcare provider immediately, as these are not normal side effects.

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about taking Claritin while pregnant.

What If I Take Claritin Before Realizing I’m Pregnant?

Claritin is a very common over-the-counter medication for allergies, so it’s quite possible you took it before realizing you were pregnant. Because Claritin doesn’t pose a risk for pregnant people, it’s OK that you did.

If you took Claritin before realizing you were pregnant and experienced the common side effects, you may want to let your OBGYN know this. While Claritin is generally considered safe, every pregnancy is different and every body is different, and those side effects that you couldn’t pinpoint before could pose more of a risk later on. Always let your primary healthcare provider know of any medications you’re taking, whether over-the-counter or prescription. 

Not only have experts said that Claritin is safe while pregnant, but further studies have also confirmed this. A study from 2010 took a closer look at the safety and efficacy of antihistamines during pregnancy and found no issues.

Claritin, which this study refers to as a second-generation antihistamine because it doesn’t cause drowsiness, was shown to be safe. The research did acknowledge, though, that at the time there was less data backing this particular drug class as opposed to first-generation antihistamines (which cause drowsiness and sometimes require prescriptions).

Safety Precautions

While Claritin is typically deemed safe, there is always a need to exercise precaution with drugs, especially while pregnant. “Based on animal studies and human reports, Claritin is not believed to increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes,” Dr. Purdie says.

That being said, expectant parents should keep an eye out for any of the previously mentioned side effects, like headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, vomiting, and increased nervousness or anxiety. While some of these side effects are milder, it's in both your and your baby's best interest to make sure you’re doing what you can to stay safe. 

Dr. McBane says, “There are always a few possible adverse effects with [Claritin] including mild drowsiness and dizziness.” However, she has not seen any evidence in studies or in first-person reports that the medication will have any negative effects.

If you’re experiencing any of these side effects as a result of taking Claritin, stop taking it immediately and consult your healthcare provider. If your allergies are flaring up, Dr. McBane recommends nasal sprays such as fluticasone (Flonase) and budesonide (Nasacort) during pregnancy as well, noting that like Claritin, these should be safe during all trimesters. In any case, check with your provider before trying something new.

A Word From Verywell

Claritin can be a relief for allergy symptoms even when you’re pregnant. There are no inherent risks for the expectant parent or baby linked to Claritin, according to studies and experts. You should always discuss any medications with your healthcare provider before taking them. They can also recommend any alternatives if you’ve had a negative reaction to Claritin.

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  1. So M, Bozzo P, Inoue M, Einarson A. Safety of antihistamines during pregnancy and lactation. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56(5):427-429.