Fexofenadine vs Loratadine – Which Is Better For Allergic Rhinitis?


It is an antihistamine which is used to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies in children and adults.

This medicine controls the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis but does not cure it. In addition, it helps relieve a type of itchy skin rash with the medical term of chronic idiopathic urticaria.

It works by blocking a certain natural substance which the body makes during an allergic reaction, called histamine. Furthermore, this drug exhibits no antidopaminergic, anticholinergic, beta-adrenergic-receptor-blocking, or alpha1-adrenergic, effects.

This drug is classified as a 2nd-generation antihistamine since it is less able to pass the blood-brain barrier (protects the neural tissue from toxins and variations in blood composition), compared to 1st-generation antihistamines. It can be found under the brand name of Allegra.

It comes with an orally disintegrating tablet, a tablet, and a suspension that can be taken by mouth. It is typically taken with water once or twice per day. More exactly, the oral dosage form can be taken two times a day or 180 mg once per day by adults and children 12 years of age and older.

It may be taken without or with food. Avoid prolonged use of this drug, unless recommended by your healthcare provider.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • menstrual changes;
  • cough;
  • upset stomach;
  • diarrhea;
  • nausea;
  • tiredness;
  • drowsiness;
  • headaches;
  • irritated mouth, nose, or throat;
  • back pain;
  • muscle pain.

Severe side effects (very rare) may include:

  • infection;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • chest pain;
  • breathing problems;
  • allergic reactions such as – hives, skin rash, swelling of the lips, face, or tongue.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby, therefore, it is recommended to avoid it during pregnancy. Also, there are no conclusive studies on whether this drug passes into breast milk and affects the breastfed baby negatively.

Drug Interactions

It may interact in a negative way with the following drugs:

  • tranylcypromine (a monoamine oxidase inhibitor);
  • ivacaftor (a drug used to treat cystic fibrosis);
  • isocarboxazid (a non-selective, irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitor).

Avoid consuming apple, grapefruit, or orange juice while taking this medicine since they may reduce its bioavailability by inhibiting P-gp. Moreover, taking indigestion remedies (antacids) two hours before, during, or after you use this medicine, can notably lower the amount of drug the body absorbs.

Store this antihistamine at room temperature away from heat and moisture.


It is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of a natural chemical in the human body, called histamine by acting on histamine receptors, leading to a chain reaction that results in reduced symptoms of allergies, like – urticaria (a condition where an itchy skin rash develops) and hay fever (a common allergic condition that is used by an allergic response to airborne substances).

This medicine is on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines. In 1993, it was discovered and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, it is sold under the brand name Claritin, manufactured by Bayer Healthcare.

Inactive ingredients – flavor, edetate disodium, maltitol, glycerin, phosphoric acid, monobasic sodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, propylene glycol, sucralose, sorbitol, and purified water.

Recommended doses:

  • for children aged over 2 years – 5 mg taken once per day;
  • for children aged over 2 years weighing more than 31 kg – 10 mg taken once per day;
  • for children aged over 12 years and adults – 10 mg taken once per day.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, and take only that dose if it is almost time for the next dose.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • nosebleed;
  • difficulty staying asleep;
  • trouble falling asleep;
  • headaches;
  • mouth sores;
  • diarrhea;
  • dry mouth;
  • stomach pain;
  • weakness;
  • vomiting;
  • a sore throat;
  • red eyes;
  • itchy eyes;
  • feeling tired;
  • nervousness;
  • dry mouth.

Serious side effects (very rare) may include:

  • breathing problems;
  • allergic reactions such as – swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, skin rash, and hives;
  • itching;
  • wheezing;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • hoarseness.

Because this medicine may cause drowsiness, it is not recommended to operate or drive heavy machinery until you know exactly how this drug affects you.

It should be used with extra caution in pregnant women since there are no conclusive studies regarding its use during pregnancy. Moreover, if you are breastfeeding, avoid this medicine since it passes into breast milk and may harm the infant.


Don’t consume alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco while you are taking this medicine due to the fact that it can make you feel sleepy and increase the possibility of side effects.

Fexofenadine vs Loratadine – Which Is Better For Allergic Rhinitis?

Both these medicines are popular antihistamines with many similarities. According to studies, both provided considerable relief of the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis when compared with placebo.

Moreover, some studies concluded that Allegra is more effective than Claritin for reducing allergic rhinitis symptoms, plus, studies show that Claritin takes more hours to start working. The only downside for Allegra is that it is more expensive.

Images credit – Shutterstock

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