question about Claritin

I occasionally break out in hives (only about once every couple years). Last time I went to a dermatologist, and he told me, basically, “I don’t have any clue what’s causing it, but here’s a perscription for a histamine blocker.” I took it and the hives went away.

It seems like they’re starting up again, and I’d rather avoid another trip to the dermatologist if I can help it. I figured I’d just try an over-the-counter antihistamine. I bought some “Non-Drowsy Claritin” (Loratadine). It says it’s for “sneezing, runny noze, itchy eyes, itchy throat.” None of those are my symptoms. But an antihistamine is an antihistamine, right? I mean, it should still work on hives, shouldn’t it? Or are there different antihistamines for different symptoms?

Yeah, I know Internet forums aren’t the most reliable way to get medical advice. But this is a simple question about an OTC product, and I figured I might as well see if anyone here knows anything about it.

If you’re unwilling to go to the doctor again, you could see if the pharmacist will give you some advice on OTC medications. Personally, I’ve found that Claritin is great ofr my breathing-type allergy symptoms and itching, but for anything else, BEnadryl (anoteher OTC product) works better. The down side: some really hardcore drowsiness.

Yes. The "“sneezing, runny noze, itchy eyes, itchy throat” part is just marketing, since you probably found it in the cough & cold aisle. They now make a box called Claritin Hives, often found in the first aid aisle… same thing.

I have been braking out in hives for over 4 years now. Went though all the allergery test’s, they found a few things but nothing that would explain why I did this so often. It’s normally my eyes and mouth that swell up… a few times even my throat… Which I had a epi-pen… Every evening I take two Benadryl before I go to bed, and all is well in the morning, that’s when the swelling would take place the most. The other evening, my eye started to swell so I took the Benadryl and they didn’t help, took two more when I went to sleep. Woke up and the eye wasn’t any better. So I took two more. Of course by this time I was so drugged up it wasn’t funny, and the eye was the same. I had talked to my b/f about trying that new Clartin for hives. So later that day he went and got me some. Come to find out when he was reading both the products… They both ( reg Clartin and Clartin for hives) have the same ingredients in them… Well I took the pill… Maybe later in the day I started to see a difference. I am still in the testing phase if the Clartin is better for me, since the Benadryl does mess up my life by making me so sleepy. But the bottom line for me is to control my stress… That’s what the Doctor’s think my hives are from… If anyone has any help on controling stress… Please let me know… Since I haven’t come up with anything.

Mine could very well be stress related, too. As far as advice on controlling stress, the two things that I find most helpful are (1) exercise, and (2) meditation. I find vigorous aerobic exercise is the best for destressing me. As far as meditation, you don’t really need any special techniques or anything, just find a quiet place, close your eyes, breathe slowly and steadily, and try not to think about anything. If that’s too hard, just try to think about your breath.

The real problem is when I get so busy that I convince myself that I don’t have time for these things.

Meditation I can’t see happening. I have way to many things on my mind to even try that… Kids, school, ( I went back to school nowing I am killing myself to get all A’s)…And just life… The bad part is when I go to bed at night, that is the time I think about everything… Everything that happend that day, what is going to happen tomorrow and anything else that my mind wants to think about… And yes sometimes my best thinking is done at this time… That is why I have to take the
Benadryl at night so I don’t wake all puffed up… Only time it happens during the day is if I am really, really worried about something or really pissed off…
But to take the Claritin all the time is expensive… I have to come up with something else… That’s why I take the Benadryl. Wally world brand. Allot cheaper…

Walmart does has Equate brand loratadine (Claritin). It’s the only thing that works for my hay fever/allergies. I believe 10 pills were $3.42? They were $3.something anyway.

Close, but not quite. There are two kinds of of histamine receptors. They are imaginitively labeled “H1” and “H2.” Claritin and Benadryl block the H1 receptor, which is most frequntly associated with hives, hay fever, and anaphylactic shock. The H2 receptor is more frequently associated with stomach acid secretion and stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (or was it parasympathetic… I forget… calleje wuz so long ago.) Drugs commonly available over the counter for chronic heartburn relief, like Axid and Tagamet, are effective H2 blockers.

Also read this article describing differences between H1 and H2 receptors, and their antagonists.

The symptoms that occur when either of the two receptors are stimulated overlap quite a bit though. My mother nearly died from allergic reaction to medications given to her after her heart attack. Several times.

She’d go into anaphylactic shock and be taken to the hospital. The nurses on staff would give her the standard course of benadryl IV, but nothing would happen. It would take hours for a doctor to actually look at her and realize she needed an H2 blocker, which she would immediately respond to.

This happened several times over the course of two weeks before the doctors could find heart medications that she was not allergic to. When I was finally able to travel to be with her, I realized at once what the problem was and made her carry Claritin and Axid with her at all times.