Compare Claritin vs. Zyrtec D

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

Claritin
(Loratadine)

Zyrtec D
(Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine)

Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.Relieves congestion and allergy symptoms. Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) relieves allergies and congestion without causing daytime sleepiness. It can keep you up at night if you take it too close to bedtime.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5Claritin
Reviews for Claritin (Loratadine)
74%
of people say Claritin (Loratadine) is worth it
38%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine)
75%
+1% vs. Claritin (Loratadine)
43%
+5% vs. Claritin (Loratadine)
9%
3% vs. Claritin (Loratadine)
Side effects
ClaritinZyrtec D

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

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »

We haven’t found good data for Zyrtec D side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec D »
How it works
ClaritinZyrtec D
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.Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) is a combination medicine for allergies. Cetirizine (an antihistamine) prevents allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or skin. Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
ClaritinZyrtec D
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Antihistamine
2nd generation
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
ClaritinZyrtec D
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ClaritinZyrtec D
Risk factors for serious side effects
ClaritinZyrtec D
    • 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 or older
    • History of seizure
    • Women of childbearing age
      • Age 65 years or older
      • Taking with alcohol
      • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
      • Current kidney disease
      • Current liver disease
      Detailed Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      ClaritinZyrtec D
      NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

      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.

      See the FDA package insert
      NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

      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.

      See the FDA package insert
      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 D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) 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
      • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose just as well as other antihistamines, but with less sedation (drowsiness).
      • People age 65 and older have a higher risk of troublesome side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Claritin (Loratadine). 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 Claritin (Loratadine) and stop using it if you have side effects.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) can cause more drowsiness than similar antihistamines, like Allegra D (which contains Fexofenadine) and Claritin D (which contains Loratadine).
      • You might not sleep as well due to Pseudoephedrine's effects and you can also have strange dreams while taking it.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) causes less drowsiness than other medications like Benadryl.
      • It's better to take Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) early in the morning or when you wake up, otherwise you can have trouble sleeping later.
      • People age 65 and older have a higher risk of troublesome side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine). 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 D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) and stop using it if you have side effects.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      ClaritinZyrtec D
      • 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.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) causes less drowsiness than other medications like Benadryl.
      • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) is stronger than other decongestants. It can also help relieve congestion-related headaches and ear pressure.
      • The stimulant effects of Pseudoephedrine can give you some extra energy during the day.
      • Doesn't give you rebound congestion (worse congestion symptoms after you stop taking the medicine) like decongestant nose sprays can.
      • It's available without a prescription, unlike other strong allergy medicines.
      Downsides and risks
      ClaritinZyrtec D
      • 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).
      • You can have more side effects when using combination pills than when using single-ingredient medications.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) can cause more drowsiness than similar antihistamines, like Allegra D (which contains Fexofenadine) and Claritin D (which contains Loratadine).
      • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) can make your heart race or give you anxious or restless feelings.
      • You might not sleep as well due to Pseudoephedrine's effects and you can also have strange dreams while taking it.
      • Pseudoephedrine can raise your blood pressure, so don't take it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
      • Although you don't need a prescription, you do need to show a photo ID to buy this from behind the pharmacy counter.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      ClaritinZyrtec D
      • 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 Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains Pseudoephedrine.
      • Don't cut, crush, or chew tablets; swallow them whole.
      • It's better to take Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) early in the morning or when you wake up, otherwise you can have trouble sleeping later.
      • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
      • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor since a different medication might work better for you.
      Learn more
      More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about Zyrtec DSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert