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Desloratadine

Desloratadine is an anti-allergy medicine that does not tend to cause drowsiness. It belongs to the group of drugs called antihistamines, which work by blocking the effect of a substance called histamine that is the body’s response to a harmful situation. Desloratadine is available as both an oral solution and a film-coated tablet. Desloratadine solution contains 0.5 mg of the active ingredient desloratadine in every 1 ml of solution. Desloratadine 5 mg tablets contain 5 mg of the active ingredient desloratadine in every tablet and are available in packs of seven to 100. Desloratadine tablets are only suitable for adults and children over the age of 12. Allergies are very common, especially in children, and while some grow out of their allergies, others do not. Adults can also develop allergies to something they were not previously allergic to in childhood. Most allergic reactions happen quickly, but on the whole, they are mild and can be kept under control with medication. Without medication however, your daily life and activities may be affected. Common allergies include allergic rhinitis (grass and tree pollen), dust mite, animal skin and hair, food, insect bites and stings, latex, household chemicals, mould and latex. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, itchiness, rashes, a runny or blocked nose and worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms. A severe allergic reaction can lead to anaphylactic shock.

What is Desloratadine?

Desloratadine is an anti-allergy medicine that does not tend to cause drowsiness. It belongs to the group of drugs called antihistamines, which work by blocking the effect of a substance called histamine that is the body’s response to a harmful situation. Desloratadine is available as both an oral solution and a film-coated tablet. Desloratadine solution contains 0.5 mg of the active ingredient desloratadine in every 1 ml of solution. Desloratadine 5 mg tablets contain 5 mg of the active ingredient desloratadine in every tablet and are available in packs of seven to 100. Desloratadine tablets are only suitable for adults and children over the age of 12.

When is Desloratadine used?

Desloratadine is used to relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate allergic reactions in both children and adults. These include:

  • Allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages caused by an allergy – e.g. hay fever, dust mites etc.) Symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, itchy, red or watery eyes and an itchy palate;
  • Urticaria – a skin condition caused by an allergy, with symptoms including itching and hives;
  • Allergic conjunctivitis.

How do you use Desloratadine?

As with all medicines, always follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to taking them. Allergic reactions usually happen very quickly so it is important to treat them quickly wherever possible. Most allergic reactions are not serious and can be easily controlled with medication.

When taking Desloratadine tablets, only take the tablet from the blister pack when you are ready to take it. Swallow it whole with water, with or without food. When taking Desloratadine solution, measure the correct amount of the solution, according to your prescription, using the device given to you in the pack. Do not be tempted to use a household spoon as it will not be precise. Swallow the correct amount of the solution, then follow it with a glass of water. You can take this medicine with or without food.

What dosages are there?

Once again it is important to follow the advice of your doctor when it comes to the right dose for you. As a general rule, the doses are as follows:

  • Children aged 1-5: 1.25 mg once a day;
  • Children aged 6-11: 2.5 mg once a day;
  • Children aged 12-17: 5 mg once a day;
  • Adults: 5 mg once a day;
  • Children under the age of 12 should only be given Desloratadine solution as the tablets contain 5 mg of desloratadine.

How long you take the medication for on a regular basis will depend on the reason you are taking Desloratadine. Your doctor might ask you questions when trying to work out the right dose and treatment length for you, such as whether you have allergic rhinitis or urticaria, how severe your symptoms are, how frequently the symptoms occur and how long they last. As a general guide:

  • If you experience symptoms more than four days a week, you are likely to need treatment over a longer period of time (more than four weeks) than if you have symptoms for just a few days each week;
  • If you have symptoms for less than four days a week, you will be taking Desloratadine for less than four weeks, unless you have a history of allergic rhinitis;
  • If you forget to take your Desloratadine tablet on time, take it as soon as you remember and then return to your usual timings. Do not take a double dose to make up for missing a tablet.

While there are no serious complications expected if you accidentally take more Desloratadine than you should, you should always seek immediate medical assistance.

What are the side effects of Desloratadine?

All medicines come with a risk of side effects and Desloratadine is no exception. Of course, not everyone who takes Desloratadine tablets or solution will experience them. If you are prescribed Desloratadine tablets or solution, it is because your doctor believes that the benefits will outweigh the risks for you. However, if you are suffering from side effects, it is always worth getting in touch with your doctor again, even if the side effects are different from those listed, as there may be a different type of medication that suits you better.

Severe allergic reactions are rare, affecting up to 1 person in every 10,000 people. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Itching;
  • Hives;
  • Swelling around the face, nose, eyes, throat or lips.

If you think you are having a serious allergic reaction, seek immediate medical assistance.

The most common side effects, that may affect up to 1 in 10 people are:

  • Dry mouth;
  • Headaches;
  • Fatigue.

The following are side effects that may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people. These side effects are reported among adults, not children:

  • Rash;
  • Stomach ache;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Severe allergic reaction;
  • Accelerated heartbeat;
  • Pounding or irregular heartbeat;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Sleeplessness;
  • Seizures;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Liver inflammation;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Abnormal liver function tests.

These side effects were also reported but there is insufficient data to know how often they occur:

  • Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes;
  • Changes in heartbeat;
  • Aggression;
  • Abnormal behaviour;
  • Increased weight;
  • Increased appetite;
  • Unusual weakness;
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight and UV light.

Side effects for children are slightly different, and the following may occur, although there is insufficient data to know how often:

  • Abnormal behaviour;
  • Aggression;
  • Slow heartbeat;
  • Other changes to heartbeat.

When should you not use Desloratadine?

Desloratadine tablets and solution are not suitable for everyone, in certain circumstances a different allergy medicine may be suitable. Do not take Desloratadine if you are allergic to desloratadine, loratadine or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet. Do not give Desloratadine tablets to children under the age of 12: children should be treated with Desloratadine solution.

Take special care with Desloratadine if any of the following apply:

  • You are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy;
  • You are driving or operating heavy machinery (although the recommended dose should not cause drowsiness, it can be a side effect, so you need to ensure that you are not drowsy when taking this medicine before you drive or operate heavy machinery);
  • You have poor kidney function;
  • You have a family history or medical history of seizures;
  • You have a history of liver disease.

Does Desloratadine interact with other medications?

Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about any other medication you are taking for any reason, including herbal medicines, vitamins and supplements, as these can interact with your medication and cause problems, or lessen the effectiveness of the medicine you are using. This includes medicines or treatments that you have taken in the last few weeks even if you have now stopped taking them. Desloratadine is not known to interact with any other medication. Be wary of drinking too much alcohol while taking Desloratadine. Desloratadine is very similar to loratadine, so do not take products containing loratadine while taking Desloratadine.

Where can you buy Desloratadine?

You can buy Desloratadine tablets and solution from any reputable pharmacy. You will only be able to buy Desloratadine in a pharmacy as a pharmacist will need to approve the sale. Allergies usually respond best to quick treatment, so it is a good idea to pick the pharmacy option which means you have your medication as quickly as possible. If you require long-term treatment, you may need several prescriptions filled over time, so picking a convenient pharmacy is best.

Can I get Desloratadine without a prescription?

No, you cannot buy Desloratadine without a prescription. It is a prescription-only medication, meaning that you need a consultation with a doctor to obtain it, so that a medical professional can check that it is the right medication for you and your symptoms, taking into account your medical history. You can visit your local GP or arrange an online consultation to find out if Desloratadine may work for you.

Your doctor will then monitor your treatment to see how it is working and whether you need to continue with treatment on a long-term basis, or whether the dosage can be reduced. You should not take a high dose of medication or use medication long-term unless it is absolutely necessary.

Sources:

Accord Healthcare Ltd, 2018. Medicines.org.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2020.

Actavis, 2017. Desloratadine Actavis 5 Mg Film-Coated Tablets – Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) – (Emc). Retrieved 20 March 2020 from: Medicines.org.uk.

NHS UK, 2018. Allergies. nhs.uk. retrieved 20 March 2020.

NICE Excellence, 2020. DESLORATADINE | Drug | BNF Content Published By NICE. Bnf.nice.org.uk. retrieved 20 March 2020.

Patient Leaflet(s)
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