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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Clarinex (desloratadine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Zyrtec
76%
+14% better vs. Clarinex
47%
+33% better vs. Clarinex
7%
-23% worse vs. Clarinex
1232 reviews
Have you used Zyrtec (cetirizine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ClarinexZyrtec
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Tiredness 1%
  • Headache 1%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Stomach upset 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
Prescription onlyPrescription or OTC
Available as
ClarinexZyrtec
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
ClarinexZyrtec
Risk factors for serious side effects
ClarinexZyrtec
    Detailed Clarinex (desloratadine) risks & warnings »
    • 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

    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.

    Food
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • Take it once a day with or without food or as directed by your doctor.
    No food related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    ClarinexZyrtec
    No 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.
    Sleep
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • In some rare cases, causes drowsiness, dizziness, sore throat, or muscle pain.
    • 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 make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
    Upsides and benefits
    ClarinexZyrtec
    • 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 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
    • Take it once a day with or without food or as directed by your doctor.
    • Works best if used regularly during allergy season.
    • Can give you headache or dry mouth.
    • In some rare cases, causes drowsiness, dizziness, sore throat, or muscle pain.
    • 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
    Have you used Clarinex (desloratadine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about ZyrtecSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Zyrtec (cetirizine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it