Claritin (Loratadine) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Claritin
Claritin is an antihistamine that is used to suppress the symptoms of allergy and hay fever. These symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, tearing, itchy and red eyes. The drug is also quite effective against itching caused by hives. It doesn’t cure or prevent hives but only relives the symptoms caused by hives. Antihistamine functions by blocking histamine, which is a substance produced in the body and leads to the development of allergic symptoms. It is in general recommended for patients of 2 years of age or older. You can learn more about the drug be going through the patient information that comes when you buy Claritin.
Side Effects for Claritin
In case you notice mild side effects like headache, nervousness, rash, nosebleed, drowsiness, diarrhea, stomach ache, dry mouth, blurred vision or red eyes after using the drug, immediately seek medical supervision. In case of severe side effects like uneven or fast heartbeat, yellowing of the skin, convulsions, or a feeling that you might pass out, seek emergency medical aid. Other possible side effects include swollen face, tongue, throat, lips and breathing difficulty. If you still have doubts about side effects, consult your physician before you buy Claritin.
Inform your physician or pharmacist about any other drug allergy or Loratadine allergy before using this drug. If you have medical conditions related to your kidney or liver, make sure you inform your pharmacist or physician. When taken at a prescribed dosage, Claritin doesn’t cause drowsiness. However, it’s better to avoid activities like driving or usage of machinery that demand your alertness, at least when you use the drug for the first time.
If you want to use Claritin Syrup, for children under the age of six, its best to consult with your physician. If you want to use Claritin 10 mg chewable tablets for children, they have to be at least 2 years or older. It’s always better to confirm your doubts with your physician before administering the drug to children.
Claritin is available in more than one form. Claritin 10mg tablets, Claritin10mg Syrup and Claritin Redi Tabs are the most commonly used form of the drug. Physicians usually prescribe one tablet of Claritin 10mg or Reditab once a day or 2 teaspoons of Claritin 10mg Syrup. If you have missed your regular dosage, take Claritin as soon as possible. If it’s time for your next dosage, avoid the missed dosage and continue regularly starting from the next dosage. For children 2 to 5 years of age, it is recommended to give one teaspoon of Claritin 5mg/5mL Syrup, once a day.
Claritin is known to interact with drugs like Cimetidine, Erythromycin and Ketoconazole as they increase the level of Claritin in your blood. It’s recommended that you inform your physician about any drug you might be regularly using when Claritin is prescribed to you. If you are buying Claritin over the counter make sure you inform your pharmacist of any medications you may be taking.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.