Loratadine competes with free histamine and exhibits specific, selective peripheral H_ antagonistic activity. This blocks the action of endogenous histamine, which subsequently leads to temporary relief of the negative symptoms (eg. nasal congestion, watery eyes) brought on by histamine. Loratadine has low affinity for cholinergic receptors and does not exhibit any appreciable alpha-adrenergic blocking activity in-vitro. Loratadine also appears to suppress the release of histamine and leukotrienes from animal mast cells, and the release of leukotrienes from human lung fragments, although the clinical importance of this is unknown.
Loratadine is a long acting second generation antihistamine that is similar in structure to cyproheptadine and azatadine. The pharmacology of loratadine is similar to other antihistamines, but unlike other H1-blockers, loratidine is shown to exhibit competitive, specific, and selective antagonism of H1 receptors. The exact mechanism of this interaction is unknown, but disposition of the drug suggests that loratadine's prolonged antagonism of histamine may be due to the drug's slow dissociation from the receptor or the formation of the active metabolite, desloratadine. Loratadine does not penetrate the CNS effectively and has a low affinity for CNS H1-receptors.
somnolence, tachycardia, and headache LD50=mg/kg (orally in rat)