Prevalence of allergies has considerably increased globally and in the US, and presently various treatment options are in place to manage allergies and treat the underlying conditions. One among the popularly prescribed and recommended medications is Loratadine/pseudoephedrine. This combination medication is used for treating allergies of symptoms, and is known to be effective in treating congestion, running nose, itching sensations and sneezing. Following subsections offer a detailed view of the medication, and possible loratadine pseudoephedrine sulfate side effects apart from the likely drug interactions. This will help patients and caregivers avoid, or mitigate the possible undesirable effects of the medication.

Overview – what is loratadine pseudoephedrine sulfate?

The drug, as mentioned above is a combination medication comprising an antihistamine and a decongestant. These two drugs combine to offer relief from various conditions, including the conditions mentioned above. The advantage of this combination is that each active ingredient is known to be effective. For instance, Loratadine, the antihistamine is considered to be a long-acting medication, and additionally does not trigger sedation among patients. By virtue of not entering the brain, the drowsy feelings typically associated with antihistamines are absent, making it a good choice. Here is a detailed look at each drug’s mechanism of action and individual properties to understand more about the combined effects and properties of the drug.

Loratadine mechanism of action

To understand the mechanism of action of loratadine, it is important to know more about histamines. The body reacts to injuries and allergies by releasing histamines that are essentially compounds from mast cells. The released histamine attaches to the histamine receptors on the surface of other cells. Consequent to this, the cells end up releasing chemicals which cause allergic reactions. Loratadine, a second-generation antihistamine, works by blocking a type of histamine receptor on the cells, and this prevents the histamine from triggering the allergic reactions.  By itself, it is known to possess properties for effectively managing various symptoms, including, allergic rhinitis, formation of wheal, various skin related conditions and urticaria.  As mentioned above, lesser sedative properties and lack of adverse CNS effects make the medication a preferred drug.

Pseudoephedrine sulfate mechanism of action

This drug, as outlined above has decongestant properties and is similar to ephedrine in a structural manner. It is however known to have a relatively lesser effect on the sympathetic nervous system. The drug is primarily an alpha adrenergic receptor and is also known to possess properties such as inhibiting serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. The primary action of the medication is vasoconstriction or narrowing of the blood vessels in the nose, and this results in decongestion. However, this vasoconstriction or narrowing is not limited to the nose, but to other areas of the body as well. Consequently, there could be possible increase in arterial pressure, and heart rate.

Main conditions that can be managed with the combination medication

The combination of loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate is typically used to offer relief from symptoms related to allergies and cold. This includes running nose, congested nasal passage, excessive sneezing, and eyes that water. Other symptoms that can be relieved with the drug include itching sensation in the eyes, or in the nose or the throat. Individuals who experience difficulty in breathing due to blocked nose will experience significant relief from the condition. It is also used in bringing down swelling in the nasal passages.  Available as an over-the-counter formulation, it comes as tablets in extended-release versions with effects that could last for half a day or one full day.

Ideal loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate dosage

The 12-hour extended-release formulation of tablets contain 5 mg loratadine and 120 mg pseudoephedrine. Adults and children above the age of twelve are to stick to the recommended dosage of one tablet every twelve hours.  The 24 hours extended-release tablets contain 10 mg loratadine and 240 mg pseudoephedrine. This is also to be taken only once a day and patients are cautioned against exceeding the dosage in an effort to get faster or better results.

Precautions by certain categories of patients

Patients belonging to certain categories are advised to exercise precautions and understand the possible effects of the drug. For instance, individuals with a history of allergies are expected to seek consent of a doctor or advice regarding use of the medication. This includes patients who have had an experience of allergic reactions in the past to the same medicine, or other medicines. Allergies may also include reactions to food products, chemicals, animal dander, dyes and preservatives used in food products. Individuals who have had allergic reactions are at risk of developing allergies again. Similarly, individuals with a history of conditions related to heart rate and blood pressure are to seek advice before use of loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate, due to the possible effects on heart beat rate.

Relatively safe categories of patients

The drug combination is known to be relatively safe for most other categories of individuals, including pediatric patients, geriatric patients and breastfeeding mothers. Studies have not indicated that the drug may pose serious or adverse effects on patients, above the age of 12 years, and is therefore considered safe to use. However, it is essential to seek specific advice prior to use in children below the age of twelve. On a similar note, patients belonging to geriatric categories may also safely consume the medication without apprehensions of additional or severe side effects. Breastfeeding women may also take the medication as the infant is not exposed to severe or additional risk from the medication.

Commonly reported loratadine pseudoephedrine sulfate side effects

All medications come with the possibility of undesirable effects that are mainly attributed to the mechanism of action or the properties of the drugs. The loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate combination is also known to rigger undesirable effects, like other medications. However, it is necessary to bear in mind that drugs are made available in the market only after adequate trials and documented studies. Side effects are broadly classified into mild, moderate effects and serious adverse effects The mild, moderate effects are known to occur relatively frequently or commonly and may not always require medical attention; these effects are known to resolve naturally. The serious, adverse effects are rare in occurrence and require some kind of medical intervention, especially to prevent it from turning into a serious condition.

Effects that are frequently reported include possible nervous feelings, that is attributed to an increased stimulation of the nervous system. The individual is likely to exhibit signs of being restless all the time, while some are known to get abnormally excited for no particular reason. Dizzy feelings are also likely, though it is limited to only a small section of patients. Similarly, individuals are likely to end up with a headache, while some are known to be fearful and be anxious for no apparent reason. Tremors are also likely to be experienced in patients, where the individual shakes uncontrollably, although mildly. The possibility of hallucinations cannot be ruled out in some patients, while a very small section of users is also likely to experience seizures or convulsions. It is important to add here that not all patients will experience undesirable effects. Some are known to be free from all effects whatsoever, and experience all desired outcomes.

Loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate contraindications

Similar to side effects of medications, there is also the possibility of drug interactions or relative contraindications when the medication is taken along with other drugs, either for the same condition or for other conditions. This is attributed to the conflict in mechanisms of action or the properties of the different drugs. The effects of contraindications could be an increase in potency of either of the two medications, or it could be a decrease in efficacy of either of the two drugs. Alternatively, the known side effects of each drug may also aggravate. Specialists usually handle relative contraindications by temporarily suspending or permanently discontinuing either of the two drugs. This is determined by looking at the role of each medicine and the importance in terms of criticality. In the event of both medications being equally important, the only option is to reduce the dosage of the drugs, and the intake schedule so as to minimize the possible interaction effects.

Certain medications prescribed for treating migraines are known to interact with the drug. Similarly, medications prescribed for treating bacterial infections and protozoal infections may also end up interacting with the loratadine pseudoephedrine sulfate combination. Other medications that are also not to be taken alongside the drug include categories for treating tuberculosis, depression, and antibacterial used in treating skin infections and pneumonia. Drugs that interact with loratadine separately and pseudoephedrine sulfate separately will interact with this combination. Patients are advised to intimate the treating specialist about medications in use, and follow advice diligently to avoid interactions.

Unsuitable in certain health conditions – what are the dangers of loratadine pseudoephedrine?

Certain health conditions may impact the use of the drug. For instance, patients diagnosed with diabetes, heart ailments, and high blood pressure are advised to seek specialist advice before using the combination drug. Similarly, patients with kidney ailments or liver conditions, and thyroid issues are also advised to take the drug only after the consent of the treating specialist. The impact could be dual, both on the functioning of the affected organ or system, and it could also have an effect on the medications that are prescribed for those conditions. Other conditions that make the drug unsuitable include individuals with an enlarged prostate, urinary retention and difficulty in passing urine.

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