Clarinex vs. Claritin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Treats allergy symptoms. Clarinex (Desloratadine) is a good option for once-daily allergy relief. It doesn't make you feel sleepy, but you need a prescription.Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.
How it works
Clarinex (Desloratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions.Claritin (Loratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Loratadine is a low-drowsiness version.
Type of medication
2nd generation
Prescription only
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Claritin (Loratadine)
-26% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
-42% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
+14% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
Side effects
  • Fever 12%
  • Diarrhea 12%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 8%
  • Fatigue 4%
  • Middle ear inflammation 4%
  • Sore throat 3%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Loss of appetite 3%
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Runny nose 2%
More Clarinex side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Claritin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »
Risk factors for serious side effects
Coming soon.
    • Age 65 or older
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • History of phenylketonuria (PKU)
    Detailed Claritin (Loratadine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

    The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

    See the FDA package insert
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, hives, or itchy skin.
    • Preferred for older people since it causes little to no drowsiness compared to other antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
    • Works faster than other non-drowsy antihistamines like Loratadine (Claritin).
    • Available as a liquid or fast-dissolving tablet for people who don't like swallowing pills.
    • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
    • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose just as well as other antihistamines, but with less sedation (drowsiness).
    • Also treats hives and itchy skin.
    • Available over the counter without a prescription.
    • Comes as a tablet, liquid, or quick-dissolving tablet.
    • Can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
    • Okay to take with most other medications because it doesn't have many interactions.
    • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
    Downsides and risks
    • May not work as fast as the other antihistamines that make you sleepy (like Benadryl).
    • Not a good medication for pregnant women to take.
    • For some people, its effectiveness on treating allergies wears off over time.
    • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines (like Zyrtec or Benadryl) are more effective for them.
    • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
    • Not for kids under 2 years.
    • The Reditabs version contains aspartame (phenylalanine).
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    • Starts working in an hour.
    • Take it once a day when needed.
    • Works the best if used regularly during allergy season.
    • Can give you a headache or diarrhea, but it rarely causes drowsiness or dizziness.
    • Take it only once a day.
    • Starts working in a few hours.
    • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
    • Avoid possible side effects by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated liquids.
    • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor about trying a nasal steroid instead, which might work better for you long-term.
    • Using an antihistamine eye drop might work better to help itchy or watery eyes.
    Learn more
    More about ClarinexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert