Compare Claritin vs. Zyrtec

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

Claritin (loratadine)

Prescription or OTC

Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Prescription or OTC
Treats allergies.

Claritin (loratadine) is a once-daily medicine for allergies that won't make you as sleepy as other medicines that work like it.

5.0/ 7 average rating with 1517 reviewsforClaritin
Treats allergy symptoms.

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

5.2/ 7 average rating with 1232 reviewsforZyrtec
Upsides
  • It doesn't cause daytime drowsiness unlike other antihistamines.
  • Side-effects are mild, if any at all.
  • Available over-the-counter without a prescription.
  • It provides quick relief of allergy symptoms for both children and adults.
  • It doesn't interfere with how a lot of other medicines work.
  • 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
  • It's not the best choice if you have persistent, daily allergy symptoms.
  • It's not recommended for children less than 2 years old.
  • 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
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
No pricing information available
No pricing information available
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Reviews
1517 
74%
think this treatment is worth it
38%
think this treatment works well
6%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Claritin (loratadine)?

Leave a review
1232 
76%
think this treatment is worth it
47%
think this treatment works well
7%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Zyrtec (Cetirizine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
10possible side effects
  • Headache
    12%
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Nervousness or anxiety
    4%
  • Wheezing
    4%
  • Tiredness
    4%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Diarrhea
    3%
  • Mouth or tongue irritation
    3%
  • Dry mouth
    3%
  • Hyperactive behavior
    3%
See more detailed side effects
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • Difficulty concentrating

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Excess phenylalanine

    History of phenylketonuria (PKU)

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Increased side effects

    Age 65 or older

  • Driving impairment

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Overdosage

    Current kidney disease

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings