Claritin makes me clumsy.
March 12, 2008 9:38 PM   Subscribe

Claritin makes me clumsy. Any recommendations?

I've had seasonal allergies all my life. When I was young, they were really terrible, but they calmed down as I got older. I usually only feel the need to take medication a couple days of the year when I feel particularly miserable. I usually take Claritin or a loratadine generic, since it's the only drug I remember from my childhood that worked without turning me into a zombie (also doesn't hurt that it's available over the counter). The problem is that Claritin seems to mess with my body awareness and dexterity/coordination in a subtle way that makes it hard for me to clip rope through carabiners and place my feet with precision while I'm rock climbing. I would describe the sensation as "uncentered" and clumsy. I don't notice these effects while doing more mundane things.

I assume that this effect is due to the fact that some loratadine still crosses the blood-brain barrier, but not enough to completely knock me on my ass like old-school antihistamines (Benadryl, I'm looking at you).

My allergies usually manifest as congestion/snot/sneezing and sometimes itchy eyes. The congestion and snot make me miserable; I can usually deal with the itchy eyes. Any suggestions as to what I can do to get rid of (at least) the congestion without making me drowsy or uncoordinated?
posted by strangecargo to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Claritin does that to me too. Zyrtec is available over the counter now and doesn't.
posted by sergent at 9:40 PM on March 12, 2008

Oh I know this. I actually get this from Zyrtec, too, but it's not nearly as bad.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 PM on March 12, 2008

Ugh, I feel your pain. It makes me grumpy and clumsy. My solution now is to not take any AHs except for Aerius (desloratidine) on those days when I can't live without it. I use it in combination with Visine allergy eye drops and it makes life pretty much bearable without terrible side effects.
posted by unSane at 9:44 PM on March 12, 2008

posted by zippy at 9:55 PM on March 12, 2008

I like flonase. Feels weird for 5 minutes but after that it works great w/o any side effects.
posted by special-k at 10:09 PM on March 12, 2008

Best answer: Nasal steroids all the way. Flonase may do the trick--generic is typically cheaper and is typically tier one on a tiered insurance plan. There are other steroids to try if you experience undesirable symptoms--unlikely. Steroids sound scary to some folks but this is a tiny topical amount applied directly to your nasal tissue and for the symptoms you describe I would expect great results. You also should use ocean spray or generic/homemade saline to hydrate your nasal passages occasionally, and should research neti pots or other nasal irrigation methods. But above all, ask your doctor. That's just what mine told me...
posted by lordaych at 10:52 PM on March 12, 2008

Seconding lordaych. Go to an ear nose throat doctor. I used to take Claritin D every day as well but it worked maybe 60-70%. My doctor put me on a nasal steroid spray (Astellin) and it works a lot better for me.
posted by spec80 at 7:29 AM on March 13, 2008

Claritin never worked for me at all. Zyrtec is my compadre in the pursuit of the dry nostril. (One day, I will possess you dry nostril!)

If both of those medications give you problems, then I'd suggest Astelin. Astelin tastes yucky, but it really does work well. A minor correction to the comment above - Astelin is steroid free. It's a nasal antihistamine.

When I a super drippy snotty mess, I take a child's dose of old school Benedryl along with my Zyrtec. A full Benedryl is nap inducing, but the child's dose gets the job done without causing me problems.
posted by 26.2 at 8:48 AM on March 13, 2008

I was very dopey on Claritin, so I only take Allegra generics.
posted by ick at 10:46 AM on March 13, 2008

Response by poster: An update, for those who care:

Zyrtec didn't really work well for me. It didn't make me as uncoordinated, but it was also a lot less effective than Claritin.

My doctor gave me a prescription for Nasonex, a nasal steroid spray, and my allergy problems have been solved.
posted by strangecargo at 1:18 AM on May 22, 2008

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