Comparison of Allergy medications Zyrtec vs Claritin

Zyrtec vs Claritin: What Is The Best Allergy Medication?

If you’ve ever struggled with allergies, you know how frustrating they can be. The headaches, congestion, and numerous other symptoms make it a less-than-pleasant experience that many of us would just prefer to avoid.

But don’t worry because we’re here to help.

Below we’ll compare Zyrtec vs Claritin – two of the most popular options for allergy relief.

Let’s get started!

What Is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec is an over-the-counter allergy medicine that is classified as an antihistamine. These drugs work by blocking histamine, which is a chemical your body produces when it comes into contact with an allergen (pollen, dust, etc.).

Although Zyrtec is the brand name for the drug, the active ingredient and generic name of the medication is cetirizine. Zyrtec is commonly used to treat symptoms due to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies.

These include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itching of the nose or throat

Antihistamines are currently one of the most commonly administered categories of drugs. They are used to treat symptoms that are secondary to histamine release, which is typical of certain allergic conditions, including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, urticaria, and anaphylaxis. Cetirizine belongs to the second-generation family, so, it is very selective for peripheral H1 receptors, is potent and quickly relieves symptoms, exerts additional anti-allergic/anti-inflammatory effects, and is usually well-tolerated. It has been marketed 30 years ago. Angelo G. Corsico

Side Effects

Some of the most common Zyrtec side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Sore throat

In rare cases, Zyrtec can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. You should talk to your doctor right away if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Many of these are minor and will go away after your body acclimates to the medicine.

You shouldn’t take Zyrtec with alcohol, as alcohol can add to the drowsiness you may experience.

Does it make you drowsy?

Yes, like all antihistamines, Zyrtec works by blocking histamine, which plays a critical role in sleep-wakefulness.

As a result, it can cause mild drowsiness, especially at higher doses or if it is expired.

How long does it take for Zyrtec to work?

Zyrtec starts working at hour 1 on the first day you take it. I

It is taken once a day, with relief lasting for a full 24 hours.

Adults and children aged 6 years or older should not take more than one 10 mg tablet in 24 hours.

What Is Claritin?

Claritin is an over-the-counter medication used to treat symptoms caused by common seasonal allergens like trees, grass, and pollen. Although it is commonly known by its brand name, the active ingredient and generic name for Claritin is loratadine.

Claritin is most commonly used to provide non-drowsy allergy relief from a range of allergy symptoms that include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy nose
  • Skin Itch
  • Skin Rash
  • Hives

Claritin had several other distinctions: it was by then the best-selling antihistamine in the United States, indeed the most profitable antihistamine of all time, with annual sales of more than $2billion. And it was the most aggressively marketed drug to American consumers. Claritin is a drug for our time: designed to relieve symptoms and improve ”quality of life,” hardly lifesaving or even curative, expensive as hell. A month’s supply of Claritin currently costs about $80 or $85 in the United States, even though it is an over-the-counter drug in dozens of other countries, where it usually costs $10 or $15. Stephen S. Hall

Claritin Side Effects

Claritin is relatively safe and well tolerated in a variety of populations when taken as directed.

It does still have side effects in some cases:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleed
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach pain

If you are experiencing any of these side effects, talk with your doctor to see if there may be a better alternative.

In addition, like any medication, there is a chance of allergic reaction when taking Claritin, which can result in rash, hives, or swelling of the face, throat, hands, arms, or feet. If you think you are having an allergic reaction or another medical emergency as a result of taking Claritin, then dial 9-1-1 for immediate medical assistance.

For most people, Claritin begins to work within 3 hours. Once it starts working, it can last anywhere from 12-24 hours, depending on the type of Claritin allergy relief.

Can You Take Them Together


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You should not take Claritin and Zyrtec together. Both Claritin and Zyrtec are antihistamines, and taking these medications together can increase the risk of side effects as well as overdose. In addition, you should avoid taking Zyrtec or Claritin with alcohol or any other sedative.

Bottom Line

In short, choosing between Zyrtec and Claritin boils down to your personal needs.

If you need quick relief and don’t mind a bit of drowsiness, Zyrtec could be your pick. But if staying alert is crucial, go for Claritin’s non-drowsy relief.

Always good to check with a doctor to find what’s best for you.

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