Antihistamines in the allergy medication Claritin can dry up so much mucous that they damage vocal cords, according to recent warnings. These effects are particularly serious for singers and other professionals who rely on their voice for their livelihood.
Claritin Class Action Lawsuit Filed for Misleading Ads
Schering-Plough, the manufacturer of Claritin (loratadine), was hit with a class action lawsuit filed by a Boston-based consumer group known as the Prescription Access Litigation project. They accused the drug-maker of falsely claiming that Claritin works for everyone. According to the lawsuit:
“In fact, medical research shows that Claritin fails to provide allergy relief about half the time, and performs only slightly better than a placebo.”
The class action was filed in New Jersey in 2001, not long after the FDA issued a warning letter (PDF) accusing the drug-maker of failing to provide adequate side effect information in ads for Claritin.
Vocal Cord Thickening
Unfortunately, Claritin can actually have many serious side effects. Antihistamines and decongestants are very good at clearing up a runny nose, but they can potentially eliminate too much mucous. The vocal folds require a thin protective membrane of mucous to vibrate normally. If they dry out, it can cause serious damage to a person’s voice — a devastating risk for singers, actors, and other professionals who rely on having a clear voice.