Compare Clarinex vs. Zyrtec

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

Clarinex
(Desloratadine)

Zyrtec
(Cetirizine)

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.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
76%
24% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
46%
34% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
7%
+13% vs. Clarinex (Desloratadine)
Side effects
ClarinexZyrtec
  • 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 Zyrtec side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec »
How it works
ClarinexZyrtec
Clarinex (Desloratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions.Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Zyrtec is a low-drowsiness version.
Type of medication
ClarinexZyrtec
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription only
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
ClarinexZyrtec
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
ClarinexZyrtec
Risk factors for serious side effects
ClarinexZyrtec
Coming soon.
    • Age 65 or older
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Current kidney disease
    • Current liver disease
    Detailed Zyrtec (Cetirizine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    ClarinexZyrtec
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    • People with kidney or liver disease may need to take a lower dose of Zyrtec (Cetirizine) to prevent overdose. Talk with your doctor to be sure you are using the correct dose.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • 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).
    • Can give you a headache or diarrhea, but it rarely causes drowsiness or dizziness.
    • People age 65 and older have a higher risk of troublesome side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Zyrtec (Cetirizine). Watch out for changes in vision, severe dry mouth, trouble urinating, or constipation. Also, feelings of drowsiness may leave you "unsteady" on your feet. This can make you more likely to fall causing broken bones or other serious injuries. Talk with your doctor before using Zyrtec (Cetirizine) and stop using it if you have side effects.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • 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 and risks
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • 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.
    • Starts working in a few hours. Only take it once a day.
    • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
    • Avoid some of the 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 since it might work better for you long-term.
    • Using an antihistamine eye drop instead can also work better to treat itchy or watery eyes.
    Learn more
    More about ClarinexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ZyrtecSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert