Is it OK to take 2 Claritin?

Quick Answer

It is generally not recommended to take more than the recommended dose of any medication, including Claritin (loratadine). The maximum recommended dose of Claritin in 24 hours is 10 mg for adults and children over 6 years old. Exceeding this dose increases the risk of side effects without providing additional benefits. However, in some cases, a doctor may approve taking up to 20 mg of Claritin per day if 10 mg is not fully controlling allergy symptoms. Speak to your doctor before taking more than the recommended amount of Claritin.

What is Claritin?

Claritin is a popular over-the-counter antihistamine medication used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy skin, hives, rashes

The active ingredient in Claritin is loratadine, which blocks the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the body during an allergic reaction. This prevents histamine from binding to receptors and causing allergy symptoms.

Claritin comes in several forms, including tablets, quick-dissolve tablets, chewable tablets, and liquid. The standard tablet and quick-dissolve tablet provide 10 mg of loratadine in each dose. The chewables and liquid forms are also 10 mg but may be easier to swallow for some people, especially children.

Claritin is available over-the-counter without a prescription. It can provide 24-hour relief from allergy symptoms when taken as directed.

What is the recommended dosage for Claritin?

The recommended dosage for Claritin depends on the patient’s age:

  • Adults and children over 12 years: 10 mg once daily
  • Children 6-11 years: 5 mg once daily or 10 mg once daily at doctor’s discretion
  • Children 2-5 years: 5 mg once daily
  • Children under 2 years: Not recommended

The dose should not exceed 10 mg in 24 hours for adults and children over 6 years old. Only one dose form should be used in a 24 hour period.

For the OTC tablets and quick-dissolve tablets, this means taking just one 10 mg tablet per day. The chewables can be taken as either one 10 mg tablet or two 5 mg tablets for children, depending on their age and doctor’s instructions. The liquid form comes with a dosing cup or syringe and should be measured carefully.

Exceeding the recommended Claritin dose in 24 hours does not provide any additional symptom relief. The maximum effects are achieved with the recommended doses.

Is it safe to take 2 Claritin tablets in one day?

While one 10 mg Claritin tablet is the standard recommended dose, some people consider taking two tablets (20 mg) in 24 hours if one tablet is not fully controlling their allergy symptoms.

However, it is generally not recommended to exceed the maximum recommended dose of any medication without speaking to a doctor first. Even though Claritin is sold over-the-counter, there are still risks associated with taking more than directed.

Potential side effects and safety concerns with taking two 10 mg Claritin tablets in 24 hours include:

  • Increased risk of side effects – Exceeding the recommended dose of Claritin increases the chances of experiencing side effects like headache, drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • Diminishing returns – Doubling the Claritin dose does not double its effectiveness. There are minimal, if any, additional benefits in allergy symptom relief.
  • Masking other conditions – A higher than normal dose of Claritin may help reduce allergy symptoms so much that it masks symptoms of other underlying conditions that need diagnosis and treatment.
  • Drug interactions – Claritin can interact with a number of prescription medications. A higher dose may increase these interaction risks.
  • Trouble sleeping – Claritin can cause drowsiness as a side effect. A second dose too late in the day can make it hard to sleep.
  • Sets a precedent for misuse – Taking more than the recommended amount can lead to a pattern of misusing medications in the future.

For these reasons, it is best to avoid taking 20 mg of Claritin in one day. If 10 mg is not fully effective, there are some other options to discuss with a doctor that do not involve doubling the Claritin dose.

When can a doctor approve taking 2 Claritin tablets?

While not typical, there are some circumstances in which a doctor may approve taking 20 mg of Claritin per day, usually involving two 10 mg tablets.

This may be appropriate if:

  • The standard 10 mg dose does not fully control allergy symptoms after several days of use.
  • The patient has only partial relief of symptoms with 10 mg but suffers from very severe allergies.
  • Other antihistamines have been tried unsuccessfully at standard doses.
  • The higher dose is only intended for short-term use during periods of severe allergy symptoms.
  • Other medical conditions make it necessary to limit use of other allergy medications.

In these cases, a doctor may decide the benefits of temporarily increasing the Claritin dose outweigh the potential risks. It is important to note that this higher 20 mg daily dose would only be approved for adults and children over 12 years old.

The doctor should provide guidelines on when to take the second daily tablet, such as spacing the two doses at least 8-12 hours apart. They will also set a time limit for how long it is appropriate to use the higher dose before reducing back to 10 mg per day.

What to do if one Claritin tablet is not enough?

If taking the recommended dose of one 10 mg Claritin tablet per day is not fully controlling allergy symptoms, there are several options to explore before doubling the dose:

  • Allow more time – It can take up to several days of consistent use for Claritin to reach full effect. Try taking it regularly for at least 5-7 days if symptoms persist.
  • Change time of dose – Taking Claritin at a different time of day may improve symptom coverage. Try shifting morning or evening.
  • Add other medications – An intranasal corticosteroid spray like Flonase can augment Claritin. Antihistamine nasal sprays can also help.
  • Try a different antihistamine – Switching to a different antihistamine like Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra may provide better relief for some people.
  • Use Claritin-D – Adding a decongestant like pseudoephedrine to Claritin in a combination product can enhance symptom relief.
  • See an allergist – An allergy specialist can help identify specific allergens and management strategies, including potential immunotherapy.
  • Get prescription strength – Prescription antihistamines like fexofenadine (double strength Claritin) or levocetirizine (high strength Xyzal) may be more effective.

Discuss any of these options with your doctor to find an optimal regimen for controlling allergy symptoms without exceeding the recommended Claritin dose.

What are the side effects of taking too much Claritin?

While Claritin is generally safe and well-tolerated when used as directed, taking more than the recommended amount can increase the risk of side effects.

Some of the possible side effects of taking excessive Claritin include:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, stomach upset
  • Increased heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle aches
  • Ringing in the ears

The sedative effects of Claritin also become enhanced at higher doses, which can impede concentration, coordination, and the ability to operate vehicles or machinery safely.

In rare cases, severe allergic reactions can occur with Claritin overdose, causing symptoms like swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical care if any signs of a serious reaction develop.

To help prevent adverse effects, stick closely to the prescribed Claritin dose or consult your doctor about any desired dose changes.

Can you overdose on Claritin?

It is possible to overdose on Claritin, especially when taking doses well above the recommended amount.

Deliberately or accidentally taking too much Claritin can increase the risks of serious side effects. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion, hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

A fatal overdose of Claritin is unlikely at typical excess doses, but it remains a possibility, especially in children and people taking other medications that interact with Claritin.

Seeking prompt medical treatment is vital for anyone suspected of overdosing on Claritin. Do not wait for symptoms to resolve on their own. A doctor can provide supportive care and monitor for adverse reactions. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

Be sure to keep Claritin and all other medications safely out of reach of children to prevent accidental overdose. Never take more than the recommended dose of any medication, including Claritin, unless specified by a doctor. Seek immediate help if an overdose occurs.


Claritin (loratadine) is an effective over-the-counter antihistamine for treating allergy symptoms when used as directed. The maximum recommended dose is 10 mg per day for adults and children over age 6. Taking more than the recommended amount provides little extra symptom relief but increases the risk of side effects.

Doubling the Claritin dose to 20 mg per day is generally not advised without consulting a doctor first. A doctor may approve temporarily taking this higher dose in certain circumstances if the standard dose is inadequate and other options have failed. However, this approach should be a last resort.

Be patient when starting Claritin, as its full effects may take several days to develop. Try adjusting the timing, adding other medications, or switching antihistamines before exceeding the recommended 10 mg daily Claritin dose. Doing so can help maximize symptom relief while minimizing side effect risks. Consult an allergist if symptoms remain uncontrolled with standard Claritin treatment.

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