App installation banner

Zyrtec vs. Claritin: Which Allergy Medication Is Right for You?

Updated on May 29th, 2024

Save up to 88% on your medications

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

When allergies hit, relief is critical. Two popular over-the-counter meds, Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine) are the go-to options for easing symptoms. But how do you pick between them? Let’s break down their similarities, differences, and other factors to help you decide which could be better.

What are the Main Differences Between Zyrtec and Claritin?

Zyrtec and Claritin are antihistamines but differ in their active ingredients and effects. Zyrtec contains cetirizine hydrochloride and acts quickly, providing relief within an hour. It's suitable for adults and children over two years old and sometimes for infants as young as six months. Claritin, on the other hand, contains loratadine and takes one to three hours to start working. It is less likely to cause drowsiness compared to Zyrtec.

What are Zyrtec and Claritin used for?

Zyrtec and Claritin are effective for treating symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and hives. They alleviate sneezing, runny nose, itching, watery eyes, and postnasal drip due to allergies. However, they are not usually prescribed for non-allergic conditions like the common cold or bacterial infections.

Is Zyrtec or Claritin More Effective?

Both medications effectively relieve allergy symptoms compared to a placebo, but evidence points to Zyrtec providing slightly better relief. However, Zyrtec may cause more drowsiness than Claritin. The decision ultimately depends on personal preference and tolerance for side effects.

How do the Prices of Zyrtec and Claritin Compare?

Zyrtec and Claritin are available over the counter in generic forms, offering affordable allergy relief. Generic Zyrtec costs about $25, and generic Claritin is around $30. If you have a prescription for these medications, using the discount programs found on Rxless can reduce these costs to as low as $3 for either generic Zyrtec and Claritin.

What are the Common Side Effects of Zyrtec and Claritin?

Second-generation antihistamines Zyrtec and Claritin typically cause fewer sedative effects. However, Zyrtec is known for having a higher chance of drowsiness than Claritin. Common side effects include fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, and gastrointestinal issues. Seek medical help if you experience severe side effects.

Can Children Take Zyrtec and Claritin?

Zyrtec and Claritin are safe for children, but the correct dosage depends on age. Zyrtec can be given to children as young as six months, while Claritin is generally recommended for those over two years old. Follow the healthcare provider's dosage instructions and watch for any adverse reactions.

Can I use Zyrtec or Claritin while Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

These medications are usually deemed safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding but consult a doctor first to evaluate any risks and benefits.

Is Zyrtec or Claritin Better?

The decision between Zyrtec and Claritin varies depending on personal preferences and factors like how quickly they take effect and potential side effects. Talk to a healthcare provider for guidance on the best choice.

Whether you choose Zyrtec or Claritin for your allergy relief, you can cut costs significantly by using Rxless. Our discount programs offer substantial savings on these popular medications at leading pharmacies such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Switch to Rxless to reduce your prescription expenses and make managing your allergies more affordable. Don't miss out on the benefits—join the RxLess Assurance Plan by downloading our free app and keep your health and budget in check!

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles