How Long for Claritin to Take Effect?

Updated on April 20, 2016
H.L. asks from Washington, DC
13 answers

Hi - We gave our son a 24 hour dose of Children's Claritin for allergies. We haven't seen any change.

How long does it take to have effect? I know that Benadryl is fast acting.

How long before I can give him a different allergy med if it doesn't help?

I'll talk to his dr in the morning, but wanted to hear personal experiences.

Thank you!

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answers from Boston on

It varies. For some kids, it doesn't work at all. And if he doesn't really have allergies but something else, it won't work either. Don't mix and match meds unless you talk to the doctor or the head pharmacist (who is available more easily than the doctor sometimes).

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

According to Google:

"3 days to reach peak: Claritin (loratidine) takes 3 days to reach a steady state, so it could take that long for it to work on hives. Other non-drowsy antihistamines are a better choice: Allegra (fexofenadine) reaches peak effect within 2 hours and Zyrtec (cetirizine) reaches peak effect in 1-2 hours."

I've tried all 3 at one time or another in the past.
I find Claritin works better for me in the spring and Zyrtec works better for me in the fall.
I don't know about what meds you can or can't take together - ask your pharmacist.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I assume this is for an allergy to pollen, yes? You are supposed to give it daily through allergy season and supposedly it takes a few days for the full effect to be reached. Claritin works for my son, but does not work for my daughter (or me!) for some reason. But Zyrtec does work for all of us. If my daughter's allergies are SUPER bad I give her children's sudafed just to get through those few days. I hate doing that but for a few days this spring she was a miserable mess. Ask your doctor if you can give him sudafed for a couple days to give him relief.

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answers from Springfield on

It takes a few days because it needs to build up in your system. Zyrtec works similarly. If it's not working after taking it for a week, call your ped and see if you need to give it more time or try a different med.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It varies. Sometimes meds like Claritin need a few days. And it depends on his allergy, too, and if it's an allergy or if it's also a cold. My stepson takes Allegra, I take Claritin, and my friend takes Zyrtec. Maybe the Claratin won't work for him. Benadryl is fast-acting, but I don't use it because it makes us sleepy. I'd at least give it a day.

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answers from Springfield on

when i put my son on claritin i give it at bedtime, and it usually starts to work overnight and i see some improvement the next day. BUT after the second dose is when i really see it helping. (zyrtec is the same way)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi H.,

I responded earlier to your other question. I am still unclear as to what the allergy medication is for. Is he having an allergic reaction of some sort? Allergies are more sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, itchy nose, itchiness overall and hives kind of thing.

So if he hasn't responded to the Claritin then I am thinking maybe he's not having an allergic reaction.

You don't mention how long you've waited before writing this. We find it takes about an hour or two with our kids and my husband when he takes allergy pills. Some work faster than others. And some take days to build up in your system - so that you take them continuously.

Again, if you're not seeing the results you expected or have questions about this - I'd ask your allergist.

Good luck hope he's feeling better soon

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Claritin does take a few days to work so if you want quicker results, you will need to use something else.

M daughter has taken a Claritin and then also taken a benedryl but she was 17 and I asked my sister-in-law who is a NP first. It is always best to check with a pharmacist or your doctor first before giving two medicines together like that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Some allergy drugs don't work on some people. For me, I need a double dose of Claritin (Loratadine). Things like Zyrtec don't work at all for me.
Might be that he needs more, or that that particular drug doesn't work on him.
If it's been more than 20 minutes and he's not getting any relief, try something else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Claritin is a time released medication and I believe it has to build up in his system. If he's having a serious reaction to some thing then he needs Benadryl, that's what it's for. Serious allergic reactions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Claritin is the drug "loratadine" and for many people, it seems to have zero effect. For me, personally, can't even tell I took anything. I prefer Zyrtec. Many people choose Allegra over Zyrtec as it works better for them. I think those two work about the same for me, but I *feel* less affected by the drug (side effect wise) when I take Zyrtec than when I take Allegra.

Maybe try the children's Zyrtec instead?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would give him the Claritin for a week, and see how it goes. If you do not see improvement by day seven, on day eight try something different. It works for my 5 year old son, but I give it near bedtime since in tends to make him crabby at school if I give it to him in the morning. My daughter was a different story. Poor thing would wake up with a full nose having to blow it constantly for the first 30 minutes upon waking up daily. We tried so many allergy pills and nasal sprays for her-- to finally find out that most nose sprays are steroids, she needed an antihistamine, so that is what she is on now, that spray and Claritin pill daily and we are all set. There may be trial and error here but you will find the balance, give it a few days before moving to the next thing.


answers from Atlanta on

If you are open to essential oils you can use them in a diffuser constantly without fear of overdose. You could also put in your hands and breath in off hands or put on his feet. You should see and he should feel improvement in 20 minutes if not you can reapply. It should not take more than the 2x and it lasts 4-6 hours. Then then reapply as needed Best part is there are no side affects. I use doTERRA essential oil because they are medicinal grade.

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