Claritin + Benadryl
May 6, 2008 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to mix 24 hour Loratadine (Claritin) with 25-50 Diphenhydramin HCl (Benadryl)? My allergies are killing me and the loratadine does not seem to be doing the job.
posted by Raichle to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call a pharamacist - heck, CVS has a 24-hour line, you could probably call them. Or your insurance co's 24 hour nursing advice line.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:17 PM on May 6, 2008

One thing you might want to try is Claritin-D 24hr (the generic stuff works just as well). This year has been especially bad for me too, starting in February (thanks to some construction at work). Claritin alone reduces the sneezing, but my nose was still running pretty good. Add the pseudoephedrine in and I almost (almost) feel like I don't have allergies.

Only thing is that it's a pain in the ass to get with the federal rules. they give you 10 pills at a time, and you can only buy so much in a 30 day period. A pharmacist and I worked out the math, and if you get 10 pills every 10 days, you come 0.2g under the rule.
posted by sbutler at 10:38 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: Called CVS and, although they were very nice, they were unable to answer. Then I called a CVS 24-hour pharmacy where I was told "You shouldn't, but it won't kill you." I'm going to take this as a "license to pill" since I can't stop sneezing tonight long enough to get any sleep.
posted by Raichle at 10:39 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: I can't do the D stuff, it makes my heart feel like it's going to explode.
It's so bad right now, that I can barely breathe and I itch everywhere.
I've never felt this awful from allergies before... I've been watching the forecast at and and apparently tree pollen in my area is extremely high right now. I'm hoping it will pass soon.
posted by Raichle at 10:41 PM on May 6, 2008

Aww man... that's a shame. My heart raced a bit the first week, and I'd feel jittery, though that's passed. But if you really feel the pseudoephedrine, then ya, stay away!

For awhile I was also on Allegra, which worked better than the Claritin but not as good as the Claritin-D. You have to get a prescription for it though.
posted by sbutler at 10:46 PM on May 6, 2008

My allergies are nigh-lethal, and I take claritin and benedryl together from time to time; I've always been told it's cool. What I've found works better, at those times of year when my allergies are particularly killer, is to take one claritin at night and one in the morning. No side effects, no big deal. I'm too lazy to look for it right now, but I think there was just a thread about that around here lately.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:10 PM on May 6, 2008

Family wisdom is you can double up on the Claritin and take every 12 hours, and mix with even the fake Sudafed. I've been doing this for months now, only recently starting to back off as "the season" seems to be mostly over where I am. If it's bad, go ahead and take your Claritin every 12 hours instead for a while. IANYD.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:15 PM on May 6, 2008

Why not just take two loratadine pills?

(Otherwise, my answer is: I've tried this very method before, to no obvious harm).
posted by astrochimp at 11:24 PM on May 6, 2008

God, I hope it's safe; I do that combo all the time!
posted by ThFullEffect at 11:25 PM on May 6, 2008

Also, I'm still alive and well.
posted by ThFullEffect at 11:26 PM on May 6, 2008

The drug sheet for either medicine (in the box, or look 'em up on will say whether they don't play nice.
posted by zippy at 11:30 PM on May 6, 2008

I mix Claritin and 2 Benadryl all the time during allergy season.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:31 PM on May 6, 2008

Claritin + Benadryl is basically any nighttime allergy pill. Also consider Zyrtec instead of Claritin. I just tried it this week and it really works well.
posted by rhizome at 11:47 PM on May 6, 2008

Loratedine just doesn't work for some people; if you are one of those people (I am one), doubling the dose won't help.

The only non-drowsy med that works for me is Reactine (I just looked it up and it is the same as Zyrtec). I find it doesn't work quite as well as Benadryl, but then perhaps that's because Benadryl knocks me out and that's a pretty effective way to stop the misery.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:35 AM on May 7, 2008

Take 2 will help! Sometimes the single dose isn't enough. I've taken two with no ill effects (not even drowsiness) but it completely wiped out my allergy symptoms.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:38 AM on May 7, 2008

Loratadine + Diphenhydramin is a common and effective mixture. It's close to what "real Claritin" (ie as sold in Canada or Mexico) is, anyway (loratadine + pseudoephedrine).

IANAD but I have spring-type allergies.
posted by rokusan at 4:25 AM on May 7, 2008

nthing the Zyrtec recommendation. I've been struggling along on Claritin for a while now, getting no effect whatsoever, until somebody at work gave me a Zyrtec and OMG some medicine actually works!
posted by mccxxiii at 4:32 AM on May 7, 2008

you might also talk to your doctor about a steroid nasal spray. i use zyrtec with flonase, and that seems to do the trick. it doesn't eliminate them entirely, but it makes them tolerable.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:36 AM on May 7, 2008

go to a doctor. ask for cingulair. it won't work right away, but the combination of that and a claratin & zyrtec cycle should help.
posted by ewkpates at 5:48 AM on May 7, 2008

You might try doubling the dose. (I'm given to understand that prescription Claritin is just a higher dose than the OTC version - although there is no prescription version of Claritin anymore.)

Usually, after a few weeks of one-a-day claritin, it's ceases being as effective and I have to dose morning and night. After a few weeks of that, I add another at lunch. and so on, until winter comes and all that green shit dies under a blanket of snow. If the side effects get too unbearable, I switch to Allegra or some other for a couple of weeks - but as Claritin works pretty well comparatively, there's a calculus involved.

Point is, it is possible to work up a resistance to a given med. To counter that one has to either increase the dosage, or take a drug holiday.

To answer your question, it is (probably for you) safe to mix those drugs once in a while, according to what my doctor has told me. I and others I know have done it without apparent ill effects. That said, I am not a doctor or pharmacist and you should consult with yours as soon as possible.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:17 AM on May 7, 2008

My allergist told me recently that she wouldn't recommend Benadryl as anything other than a sleeping pill. Take it before bed, she said, if at all.

Though I realize everyone's allergies are different, it's worth saying that I was on Claritin for a few years and it did Diddly/Squat. (I stuck with it due to my HMO being stupid.)

Just in the last few months,
Fexofenadine, the active ingredient in Allegra, has been made available in generic form, and I strongly recommend it. It's cheap enough now that most HMOs, to my understanding, will have no problem paying for it, and, in my opinion, it's extremely effective. Bonus: no side effects.

I live in one of the worst regions of the country for allergies (the "Fruit Belt" of lower Pennsylvania, where all the orchards' trees are currently in bloom), and the generic Fexofenadine has kept my allergies in check.

I realize this is not a direct answer to your question, but I'd suggest that a different pharmaceutical approach might ease your suffering. Allergies SUCK.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:23 AM on May 7, 2008

I've been on Zyrtec for several years, and was on allergy shots for a while, too. Occasionally, I'd have a mild reaction to the shots--swelling and itching. My doc told me to supplement the Zyrtec with Benadryl in such cases. Yes, absolutely, the Benadryl will make you drowsy, but in my experience nothing works better.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:53 AM on May 7, 2008

My MD okayed my taking Claritin AND Zyrtec (12 hours apart) when my allergies get really bad. Sometimes I still have to take a decongestant, but the two antihistamines usually do the trick.
posted by wryly at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2008

I take Benadryl for acute symptoms on top of Claritin all the time. I don't think I'd survive the tree pollen in the spring otherwise.

Not dead yet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2008

I suggest that you treat the local symptoms locally rather than systemically - if your eyes itch, use an antiallergy eyedrop. That actually can be more effective than a nasal spray because the drop drains into your nasal passages and helps your nose, too. A nasal spray won't work on your eyes.
posted by acridrabbit at 9:28 AM on May 7, 2008

Claritin plus Benadryl makes for a good night's sleep, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:29 AM on May 7, 2008

The most helpful thing I've found to give me a good night's sleep in spite of my allergies is an air filter.
posted by yohko at 12:10 PM on May 7, 2008

Response by poster: Well, I'd just like to point out that I am currently on 500/50 Advair (2x/day), 25 mg Benadryl, 10 mg Zyrtec, and 10 mg Loratadine (Claritin), Albuterol (occasionally), and Mucinex (Guaifenesin) and haven't died :). Amazingly, I still feel like I am having allergy symptoms....
posted by Raichle at 10:25 PM on June 10, 2008

Response by poster: Oh yeah.. IANAD and YMMV
posted by Raichle at 10:42 PM on June 10, 2008

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