What is desloratadine?
Desloratadine is a type of antihistamine that’s prescribed for treating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and urticaria (more commonly known as hives).
Desloratadine, unlike other antihistamines, is a prescription-only medicine in the UK, and is generally given to patients when they’ve tried alternatives that are available in pharmacies and supermarkets but to no avail.
What is allergic rhinitis and urticaria?
Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory response to an allergen. This can be seasonal (hay fever for example), or not specific to a time of year (dust, mould spores, animal fur).
The response that histamine causes results in the inflammation of the nasal passage, leading to symptoms such as:
- Post-nasal drip
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Mucus in the throat
Urticaria is an allergic reaction that affects the skin. It usually appears as a raised rash that can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable. This is also a result of the production of histamine in response to an allergen.
Desloratadine can help to treat both of these conditions.
How does desloratadine work?
When your body senses an allergen, it produces the chemical histamine, which binds to receptors and creates symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itching, sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, red and puffy eyes, and skin reactions such as swelling, itching and red skin.
Desloratadine works by stopping the actions of histamine in the body. It blocks the receptors that histamine would normally bind to, and therefore reduces the likelihood of you experiencing symptoms of an allergy.
Can I take desloratadine?
Desloratadine is generally very well-tolerated by patients, and there are only a few groups of people that should avoid the medicine. These include those with poor kidney function, and those with a personal or family history of seizures.
If neither of these medical conditions apply to you, your doctor shouldn’t deny you the chance to try desloratadine to see if it relieves your condition.
Desloratadine isn’t known to interact with any other medicines, but you should still tell your pharmacist or doctor about any and all medicines you might be taking. This includes recreational drugs, medicines bought over the counter, and herbal remedies that can be bought from health shops. This is to ensure that you receive the best care possible and that the medicine prescribed to you is safe for you to take.
What are the side effects of desloratadine?
Generally, desloratadine only causes mild side effects in patients, with the three most common complaints being:
- Dry mouth
If you do experience a dry mouth while using desloratadine, you can use chewing gum or boiled sweets to encourage the production of saliva.
There were also other symptoms associated with taking desloratadine, some of which we’ll list below. However, it’s important to know that these are very rare and unlikely to affect the vast majority of users:
- Allergic reaction
- Pounding or irregular heartbeat
- Stomach ache
- Upset stomach
- Muscle pain
- Liver inflammation
- Abnormal liver function tests
More, and rarer side effects can be found in the patient information leaflet included with your order. You must read this and understand it completely before taking desloratadine.
Can I drive while taking desloratadine?
Although desloratadine is a non-drowsy antihistamine, some users reported feelings of fatigue. As with any new medication, you should wait and see how it affects you before making the decision to drive. If you feel more tired than usual, you should avoid driving until you feel better.
However, if the medicine doesn’t make you feel unusually tired, dizzy, or confused, it should be safe for you to carry on driving as normal.
Where can I get desloratadine?
Unlike several other antihistamines, desloratadine is a prescription-only medicine in the UK, so you can only get it from your GP or from online doctor services like Doctor4U.
If ordering with us, you’ll be asked to complete a short patient questionnaire which will be sent directly to one of our doctors for review. If the doctor is happy with your answers and thinks that the medication is suitable for your condition, they will generate a prescription and your medication will be dispensed by our partner pharmacy. This eliminates the need to wait for an appointment or having to book time off work to see your own GP.
How do you take desloratadine?
Your dosage instructions for desloratadine will depend on the nature of your symptoms. If you suffer with allergic rhinitis or urticaria intermittently, it’s likely that you’ll be told to only take the medication when you have a flare up of symptoms. However, if your allergies are more persistent and chronic, your own GP might want you to take it on a long-term basis.
Desloratadine should be taken once a day, at the same time each day.
Never take a double-dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
I’m due for an allergy test. Can I take desloratadine?
You should avoid using any antihistamines before an allergy test. They may mask your body’s reaction to certain allergens and cause a misdiagnosis. However, if you need to use an epi-pen for any allergies, you should still use this should you experience anaphylaxis as it works in a different way to antihistamines.
What other treatments are available?
You might decide that desloratadine isn’t for you. Luckily, there are several other treatment options available for those that suffer with allergic rhinitis or urticaria. You may choose to try a different antihistamine, some of which include:
Some of these may be sedating (drowsy) antihistamines, so please ask your local pharmacist for advice on which medicine is best for you and your symptoms.
There are also alternative treatments that might work, such as:
- Eye drops
- Nasal sprays
- Sublingual immunotherapy
Talk to your doctor about any of the above treatments and whether they’re right for you. Some may be able to be used with others.