Desloratadine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

desloratadine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Clarinex
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for desloratadine

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1

Desloratadine is used to treat nasal and non-nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. It’s also used to relieve chronic itching caused by hives.

2

This drug comes in the forms of a tablet, syrup, and disintegrating tablet you take by mouth.

3

Desloratadine is available as the brand-name drug called Clarinex. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

More common side effects of this drug include sore throat, dry mouth, muscle pain, tiredness, sleepiness, and menstrual pain.

5

In some cases, desloratadine can cause serious side effects. These include hypersensitivity reactions. This can lead to itching, rash, swelling, shortness of breath, and swelling of your lips, face, or tongue.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Allergy

You shouldn’t use desloratadine if you’re allergic to it or any of its components. This drug can cause a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction. This can lead to itching, rash, swelling, shortness of breath, and swelling of your lips, face, or tongue.

What is desloratadine?

Desloratadine is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, oral syrup, and oral disintegrating tablet.

Desloratadine is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Why it's used

Desloratadine is used to treat nasal and non-nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. It’s also used to relieve chronic itching caused by hives.

How it works

Desloratadine belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

More Details

How it works

Desloratadine belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Desloratadine works by blocking the release of a chemical called histamine from the cells in your body. This helps relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These include sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, and itchy eyes.

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SECTION 2 of 5

desloratadine Side Effects

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More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of desloratadine include:

  • sore throat

  • dry mouth

  • muscle pain

  • tiredness

  • sleepiness

  • menstrual pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • allergic (hypersensitivity) reaction. Symptoms include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • swelling of your lips, tongue, face, and throat
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Desloratadine may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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desloratadine May Interact with Other Medications

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Desloratadine can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Food interactions

Grapefruit juice, grapefruit products, or the fruit grapefruit increases the amount of desloratadine in your body.

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of drowsiness from desloratadine. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antibiotics

Some antibiotics can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects. 

These drugs include:

  • ketoconazole
  • erythromycin
  • azithromycin

Blood pressure drugs

Some blood pressure drugs can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • carvedilol
  • verpamil

Cholesterol drugs

Some cholesterol drugs can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • atorvastatin

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) drugs

Some HIV and HCV drugs can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • ledipasvir
  • lopinavir
  • ombitasvir
  • paritaprevir
  • ritonavir
  • saquinavir
  • simeprevir
  • telaprevir
  • daclatasvir
  • darunavir

Heart rhythm drugs

Some heart rhythm drugs can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • dronedarone

Cancer drugs

Some cancer drugs can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • tacrolimus
  • tamoxifen
  • sunitinib
  • vandetanib
  • vemurafenib
  • lapatinib

Fluoxetine

This drug can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects. Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

Cimetidine

This drug can increase the amount of desloratadine in your body. This can cause more side effects. Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Desloratadine warnings
liver problems
People with liver problems

If you have liver problems, you may not be able to process this drug properly. This puts you at a higher risk for side effects. Your doctor may reduce your dose.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body properly. This puts you at a higher risk for side effects. Your doctor may reduce your dose.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Desloratadine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Desloratadine may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed. 

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal in your body.

children
For children

This drug hasn’t been proven to be safe and effective in children younger than 6 months of age. It shouldn’t be used in children younger than 6 months of age.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you’ve been taking this drug for two weeks and your symptoms haven’t improved.

allergies
Allergies

Desloratadine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • itching
  • rash
  • swelling (edema) anywhere in your body, especially of your lips, face, or tongue
  • shortness of breath 

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take desloratadine (Dosage)

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All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Seasonal allergic rhinitis

Generic: desloratadine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Clarinex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take 5 mg once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (5 mg in 10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 2.5 mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12 months–5 years)

Syrup: Take ½ teaspoonful (2.5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 months)

Syrup: Take 2 ml (1 mg) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Special considerations

Adults with liver or kidney problems: Take one 5-mg tablet every other day.

Perennial allergic rhinitis

Generic: desloratadine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Clarinex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take 5 mg once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (5 mg in 10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 2.5 mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12 months–5 years)

Syrup: Take ½ teaspoonful (2.5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 months)

Syrup: Take 2 ml (1 mg) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Special considerations

Adults with liver or kidney problems: Take one 5-mg tablet every other day.

Chronic itching due to hives (idiopathic urticaria)

Generic: desloratadine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Clarinex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral syrup
Strengths: 0.5 mg/ml
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take 5 mg once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (5 mg in 10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 5-mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 2 teaspoons (10 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)

Disintegrating (RediTab) tablets: Take one 2.5 mg tablet once a day.

Syrup: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 12 months–5 years)

Syrup: Take ½ teaspoonful (2.5 ml) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Child dosage (ages 6–11 months)

Syrup: Take 2 ml (1 mg) once a day. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dropper so you can measure the correct amount of medication.

Special considerations

Adults with liver or kidney problems: Take one 5-mg tablet every other day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Desloratadine comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

If you stop taking desloratadine, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may have more allergy symptoms or your hives or itching may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. This can cause you to experience extreme sleepiness.

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room.  There is no antidote for desloratadine, but your symptoms of overdose will be treated.

Take desloratadine exactly as prescribed. Don’t change your dose or take more than prescribed.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, and itchy eyes, will improve. Your hives and itching may also get better.

Desloratadine is used for long-term treatment of hives and short-term treatment of seasonal allergies.

Important considerations for taking desloratadine

You can cut or crush the regular tablets

You cannot cut or crush the oral disintegrating tablets (RediTabs).

Store this drug carefully

  • Store desloratadine tablets and RediTabs tablets at room temperature. Keep them from 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Keep them away from high temperatures (above 86°F). They are sensitive to heat. Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
  • Store desloratadine syrup at room temperature. Keep it from 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Protect it from light.

A prescription for this medication is not refillable

You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

To take the orally disintegrating (RediTabs) tablets:

  • Place tablets on your tongue and let them dissolve before swallowing. They can be taken with or without water. Take the RediTab right away after opening the blister packet it comes in.

To take the oral syrup:

  • Take the oral syrup with a measuring dropper or oral syringe. Make sure it can measure 2 ml or 2.5 ml. Ask your pharmacist for a dropper or syringe if you don’t have one.

Clinical monitoring

During treatment with this drug, your doctor will monitor you for the following:

  • symptoms of allergies: These include sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, and itchy eyes.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does desloratadine Cost?

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Lowest price for desloratadine

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for desloratadine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 7, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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