Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I Hate Claritin

Ok. So. Where to being with this. Maybe at the beginning.

First of all a few disclaimers: 1) I realize that not every kid will have this reaction to this specific type of medication. 2) I realize not everyone would agree to giving their kids allergy meds in the first place, so you will have to just get over that if you want to read this post. 3) No matter what I say in this post I make no claims to have handled this whole situation with any shred of grace.

Having said all that...

We took Miles to his pediatrician last week because he was basically hacking up a friggin' lung and we were scared it might be pneumonia. Even though I had Googled it and he didn't really have any of the other pneumonia-like symptoms, I still went to the worst case scenario and thought that he surely had pneumonia. This theory also came from this fact that at least one other child at his daycare had been diagnosed with contagious pneumonia last week.

So off to the doctor we go. After a thorough exam and lots of talking about his symptoms the doctor tells us what his thinks is going on--allergies. I have suspected this for quite some time now but I was glad to get at least partical confirmation that I was not Crazy McCrazylady to think he might have allergies.

We talk about all of our options and land on trying Claritin. Awesome. After 2 nights of listening to my poor child cough his brains out I was so happy to see a remedy might be in sight.

The first night we gave him like half of what the recommended dosage was for a child his age, per his doc. We noticed that he was sort of restless, that it took him a long time to actually get to sleep and that he woke up at an ungodly hour (5 a.m.) which we thought was odd but we really didn't think much of it beyond that.

Let me just preface this next part by saying that Miles is a good sleeper. A really good sleeper. I am NOT being smug about it in any way shape or form, I am just stating the facts. He almost always sleeps like a rock for 10-11 hours and takes a 2-3 hour nap each day. Again, I only say this so you will know just how upsetting and weird what happened was.

So the next night we give him the full recommended dosage of the Claritin. I had specifically asked the doc about giving it to him at bedtime and he said he thought that would be a good idea since it will most likely help to calm his cough at night.


We could hear him rustling around in his crib from the moment we put him down. Finally, at 10:30 he starts to cry. And the crying DOES NOT STOP. He was psychotic, out of sorts, disoriented, upset, AWAKE...honestly. THE WHOLE NIGHT. Did I say the whole night? Because I'm not sure you heard me the first few times. Literally at 4:45 a.m. when we had not gotten any sleep I was still trying to get him to calm down. At one point we thought about throwing him in the car and heading to the ER because he was just out of his mind. He would sort of calm down a little at some points because clearly he was tired and knew that it was "night night" time. But the poor kid was so hyped up on meds he couldn't simmer down enough to actually get some solid sleep.


But let me tell you--I thank my lucky stars for my husband's patience that seems comes from a place that I will never understand ... but am always grateful for.

In my totally worried and sleep-deprived state I thought about all the ways I would torture our doctor for giving us the devil's medicine.

I kid.

I know it's not his fault. Like I said, all kids react differently to meds and Miles just happened to react POORLY. (That is an understatement.)

I said in my FB status the next morning that I thought it was one of the worst nights of my life, because it was. I had The Mama Guilt in huge quantities for giving him the Claritin in the first place. And on top of that I was worried that I had somehow permanently damaged my child's brain. And on top of that I had just listened to my boy scream for hours on end, unable to do anything to help him. And on top of that I hadn't slept a wink all night. So Yeah, it kinda sucked.

And the next night, after throwing the Claritin in the garbage, he slept like a rock again. Thank you sweet Jesus.

The moral of the story is this, readers: There is no moral. I don't have any advice or wisdom to impart after all of this. Because, at the end of the day, we did what we thought was best for Miles at the time, and at the time we thought that was giving him Claritin. There's really no right or wrong here. Parenting, in my experience, is all about trial and error. This was an error. And now we learn from our mistakes and move on. We will have to go down a different road in order to help Miles deal with his allergies

We will figure it out.

And we will all sleep better knowing the evil Claritin is in the garbage where it belongs. :-)


  1. That is so scary! Glad you all came through okay. You never would have known until you tried. I don't give Peanut benadryl anymore because her little heart beats so fast from it. I hate medicine! ;)


  2. Oh goodness!

    Ok, I don't think there should be an ounce of Mama Guilt for giving Claritin in the first place, but of course you know where I'm coming from on that as we do it too. Allergies can be miserable, why not try to make it better? Especially when you get into that hacking up a lung, especially at night - which has been an issue on our end as well.

    Next... Which version of Claritin did you try? When I was talking to our dr at D's 2-year, and worried about her ears, the doc said actually try either Sudafed or Claritin-D (emphasis on the D), to clear up her ears, but make sure you don't do it in the evening as they could get a bit hyped up. So I was careful about that. The Claritin I use for D's allergies is not the "D" version, and I haven't had issues giving that at night versus morning. Just a thought.

    I would keep working on it on your end, maybe try whatever you try next in the morning rather than evening, and maybe try Zyrtec rather than Claritin (just knowing that we've tried both and both worked well, for US the C worked slightly better on her night cough - even if we gave it in the morning, but maybe something about Claritin is weird for him but another allergy med would be easier on him).

    Or, obviously go with nothing or something else entirely! But that night does sound absolutely awful, for all of you!!!

  3. WOW! Bad Claritin! At least for Miles!!! I was wondering what made it an awful night... now I know. Good luck with the allergies!

  4. Oh man. Well I personally think you deserve some kind of award (speaking of awards-- accept the friggin' preppy mafia award, would ya? Haha) to handle non-stop screaming for hours on end (with a toddler, not an infant with colic) without needing to be committed to the psych ward. Poor little dude! He probably felt so miserable :(

    Honestly, maybe next time his allergies flare up, try some children's benadryl. I take adult benadryl for my allergies as needed, but can only take it at night because it knocks me the heck out. In fact, when I get my insomnia every so often, I pop two of those bad boys and I'm down for the count for a solid 12 hours. Just a thought though, he may react differently to that, too.

    And, you aren't the only one that does this, but I hate that mom's feel the need to justify their actions with disclaimers and such. I don't mean that I blame you for doing it, because, trust me, I get how rude people are, but I just hate that it has to be that way... You know what's best for the devilishly handsome son of yours and that's all that matters :)

    Good grief, I just wrote a novel...

  5. Oh man... that stinks! We've had some bad night situations here and I can sympathize. It just you-know-what. So, so sorry you even had to deal with that situation! EEK!

  6. My son goes nuts when he has albeuterol in his breathing treatments ....I will say for some simple allergy symptoms you might just try benedryl and for relief of the cough use delsym worked well when my son was a baby Sorry for the bad experience =( It is never easy to go through trials with the little ones

  7. I've given my daughter Children's Zyrtec before (knock on wood she hasn't needed it this year). It makes her crazy - like she's drunk. Complete insomnia is horrible. I'm sure Miles won't hold it against you but that was one terrible night.

  8. Wow ~ that is horrible. Glad Miles is feeling better.

    Snuck over from MBC ~ and following. Have a wonderful day.

  9. Oh, that sucks!! I am sorry to hear that! Try not to be too hard on yourself. I love how you said that parenting is trial and error and this was an error. I am going to remember that next time when I make an error!

    As for the meds, I think STacy might be right. I can't take any meds with the D in it because I feel like Miles did. Just a thought!

  10. You poor guys! I would have been to the ER stat and I would also have hated my Dr. because you need someone to blame, right?!

    Parenting sucks sometimes and it is those terror moments. Emily once woke up from a nap crying like she was posessed by the devil. And she never cried. I couldn't get her to stop the shrieking! i took her to Urgent Care and she did a little dance for them - they thought I was nuts. It turned out to be a nightmare she couldn't get out of, they thought.

    I hope you find something that works for his allergies and doesn't make him up all night.


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