Compare Claritin vs. Sudafed

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

Claritin
(loratadine)

Sudafed
(pseudoephedrine)

Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5Claritin
Reviews for Claritin
74%
of people (All ages) say Claritin is worth it
38%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
1517 reviews
Have you used Claritin (loratadine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Sudafed
82%
-8% worse vs. Claritin
45%
-7% worse vs. Claritin
6%
Same vs. Claritin
1740 reviews
Have you used Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ClaritinSudafed

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

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »

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

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »
How it works
ClaritinSudafed
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.Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.
Type of medication
ClaritinSudafed
Prescription or OTCPrescription or OTC
Available as
ClaritinSudafed
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for
ClaritinSudafed
Risk factors for serious side effects
ClaritinSudafed
  • Age 65 or older
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • History of phenylketonuria (PKU)
Detailed Claritin (loratadine) risks & warnings »
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of seizures
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) 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.

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
ClaritinSudafed
  • Claritin (Loratadine) contains aspartame (phenylalanine). People who have phenylketonuria (PKU) can't break down the amino acid phenylalanine. It builds up and causes serious medical problems. If you have PKU, don't use this product.
No food related info.
Sleep
ClaritinSudafed
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
Upsides and benefits
ClaritinSudafed
  • 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.
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • 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.
  • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
  • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
  • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
  • Available in regular and extended release forms.
Downsides and risks
ClaritinSudafed
  • 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).
  • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
  • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
  • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ClaritinSudafed
  • 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.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
  • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
  • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
  • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
Learn more
More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Claritin (loratadine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it