Claritin During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on May 1, 2012


Loratadine has been assigned to pregnancy category B by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that while there have been no human studies on pregnant mothers, animal studies have shown that the drug may cause harm to an unborn fetus.  Pregnant women should avoid taking Claritin unless the benefits of the drug clearly outweigh any risks to the fetus. Loratadine is also passed into breast milk; nursing mothers should decide to stop taking Claritin or stop breastfeeding while taking the medication, whichever option poses the least risk for both mother and child. There are other antihistamines that have been declared safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding by the FDA.

Can Claritin Be Used By Pregnant Women?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Claritin as a Pregnancy Category B medication which means that its effects on pregnancy and the unborn child has not been fully studied in pregnant women, although it appears that this drug is safe for use during pregnancy. Medical experts suggest that this drug be taken by pregnant women only when necessary.

Animal studies show that Claritin does not cause harm to the unborn fetus, even when given at very high doses. Limited studies on pregnant humans suggest that this medication does not result in increased risk of miscarriages or birth defects, although more well controlled studies are required.

It is also important to note that while these studies are reassuring, they do not completely rule out the potential adverse effects on pregnancy and the unborn child. Therefore, Claritin should be taken only if the perceived benefits outweigh the potential risks. Taking into consideration your condition, you and your healthcare provider should come up with a decision whether to take this drug during pregnancy or not. Medical experts from The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend using other antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and tripelennamine which are relatively safer during pregnancy. Preferably, lortatdine may be considered after the first trimester and only as the last option for patients who do not tolerate or respond to other drugs.

Inform your healthcare provider any plans of becoming pregnant or if you are pregnant before taking Claritin. Your healthcare provider will consider the benefits and risks of taking this drug during pregnancy.

Can Claritin Be Used By Breastfeeding Women?

Small amounts of Claritin are excreted into human breast milk. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics classifies Claritin as a medication that is “Usually Compatible With Breastfeeding”, breastfeeding women should consult their healthcare provider before taking this drug.

Studies have shown that loratadine and some of its active metabolites are excreted into the human milk. The peak milk concentration of loratadine occurs after 2 hours of taking the drug. However, the amount of medication in the breast milk is probably too low to cause any negative effect on the breastfed child. Many medical experts consider loratadine to be safe for breastfeeding women. However, if you are taking this drug while breastfeeding, be sure to monitor for any possible changes or side effects in your child. In case of side effects, contact your healthcare provider for recommendation.

Before taking Claritin, as well as any other drug, breastfeeding women are advised to consult their healthcare provider. Each patient experiences a different situation and it is your healthcare provider who is in the best situation to give you recommendation.