Claritin is a medication that contains the active ingredient loratadine, a drug used to temporarily relieve the symptoms of hay fever (allergy to pollen, dust, or other substances in the air) and other allergies. These symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, nose, or throat. Claritin is also used to treat itching and redness caused by hives.
However, Claritin does not prevent hives or other allergic skin reactions. Claritin is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.
Other common brand names of this type of medication include: Alavert, Allergy Relief, Claritin Hives Relief, Claritin Liqui-Gel, Claritin-D 24 Hour, Clear-Atadine, QlearQuil All Day & All Night Allergy Relief, Tavist ND.
Does Claritin expire?
Yes, Claritin does expire. An expiration date is a date after which a consumable product such as food or medicine should not be used because it may be spoiled, damaged, or ineffective. The term expiration date also refers to the date that a drug patent expires.
Expiration dates are especially important for medications because they offer the only indication about whether the product is still safe to use, in the late 1970s, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medical products contain an expiration date. Expiration dates for medicines are often marked “EXP” and are printed on the label or stamped onto the medicine bottle or box.
Can I take expired Claritin?
No, expired Claritin is less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength. The expiration date is the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication. Drug expiration dates exist on most medication labels, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) and dietary (herbal) supplements. U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers are required by law to place expiration dates on prescription products prior to marketing.
Certain expired medications are at risk of bacterial growth and a sub-potent Claritin can fail to relieve allergic symptoms. Once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective. If your Claritin has expired, do not use it. Even though some controversial studies indicate that some drugs can be used after expiry dates, it is better to err on the side of caution in order not to complicate your health condition or trigger unwanted side effects.
Common side effects of Claritin can include:
• feeling tired,
• stomach pain,
• dry mouth,
• sore throat,
• eye redness,
• blurred vision,
• nosebleed, or
• skin rash.
Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of Claritin including fast or uneven heart rate, feeling like you might pass out, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes), or seizures (convulsions).
What to do with expired Claritin
The CDC reports that 50,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking. Expired medicines are also not just a risk to the person they were prescribed for and can injure children and pets if taken by mistake. For all these reasons, proper disposal of unneeded medicines is essential.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom)and away from light. Use the orally disintegrating tablets immediately after you remove them from the blister package, and within 6 months after you open the outer foil pouch. Write the date that you open the foil pouch on the product label so that you will know when 6 months have passed.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
A place for everything
Proper storage is one way to help make sure your medicines will remain safe and effective up to their expiration date. Be sure to read the label to see if there are specific storage instructions for your medicine. Certain medicines need to be stored in the refrigerator and others cannot be exposed to high temperatures. Improper storage – such as a damp bathroom cabinet – can contribute to decreased effectiveness in medicines that have not reached their posted expiration date. For most medicines, to help ensure the proper shelf life of your medicine, it is better to store medicine in a cool, dry place such as a dresser drawer, storage box, closet shelf, or kitchen cabinet.
When storing medicine in a kitchen cabinet, make sure that it is away from hot appliances and the sink due to changing temperatures and humidity which can affect the medicine. When storing medicine in a high traffic area like a kitchen, care should be taken to prevent access by children at risk of accidental poisoning or others who may be tempted to take for abuse/misuse.
Remember to store medicines properly and don’t use expired medicines, it’s not worth the risk!