Compare Clarinex vs. Zyrtec

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

Clarinex (desloratadine)

Prescription only

Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Prescription or OTC
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.

Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that won't make you feel too sleepy.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 1232 reviewsforZyrtec
Upsides
  • Clarinex (desloratadine) 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).
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • Available as a liquid or fast-dissolving tablet for people who don't like swallowing pills.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) works as well as other antihistamines to treat sneezing and runny nose, but causes less sedation.
  • Works well to also treat hives and itchy skin.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is available over the counter without a prescription.
  • It comes as a tablet, liquid, and quick-dissolving tablet.
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • It's okay to take with most other medications because it has few drug interactions.
  • Most people don't get any side effects from Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
Downsides
  • May not work as fast as the other antihistamines that make you sleepy (like Benadryl).
  • Not a good medication for pregnant women to take.
  • Although it works fast, its effectiveness wears off for some people over time.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) can be slightly more sedating than Allegra or Claritin.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines, like Benadryl, are more effective for them than Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
  • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Price
No pricing information available
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Reviews
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1232 reviews so far
76%
saidit'sworth it
47%
saiditworked well
7%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
15possible side effects
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
    21%
  • Diarrhea
    20%
  • Fever
    12%
  • Irritability
    12%
  • Coughing
    11%
  • Sleepiness
    9%
  • Inflammation of airways
    6%
  • Ear infection
    6%
  • Vomiting
    6%
  • Decreased appetite
    5%
  • Throat inflammation
    5%
  • Inability to sleep
    5%
  • Runny nose
    5%
  • Redness and swelling
    3%
  • Nausea
    3%
See more detailed side effects
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Serious allergic reactions
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Taking the wrong medication
  • Increased side effects
    • Age 65 or older
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Overdosage
    • Current kidney disease
    • Current liver disease
See more detailed risks and warnings