Flonase vs. Claritin

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

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Relieves allergy symptoms. Flonase (Fluticasone) is a good first-choice medicine for treating a runny or stuffy nose caused by allergies, and it's cheaper than some alternatives.Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.
How it works
Flonase (Fluticasone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.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.
Type of medication
Prescription or OTC
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Flonase (Fluticasone)
of people say Flonase (Fluticasone) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Claritin (Loratadine)
+2% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
-5% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
+1% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
Side effects
  • Asthma symptoms 4%
  • Nausea/vomiting 3%
  • Nosebleed 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Sore throat 1%
More Flonase side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
  • Using other inhaled steroids with Flonase (Fluticasone)
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
    • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
    • Using other inhaled steroids with Flonase (Fluticasone)
    • Long-term use
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
    • Long-term use
    Detailed Flonase (Fluticasone) risks & warnings »
      • Age 65 or older
      • Taking with alcohol
      • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
      • History of phenylketonuria (PKU)
      Detailed Claritin (Loratadine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      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
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
      • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
      • Can be used as needed to help control symptoms in people age 13 years or older.
      • Available as a generic medication.
      • 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.
      Downsides and risks
      • Flonase (Fluticasone) doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
      • Needs to be primed (pressed/pumped until a fine spray appears) up to six times prior to using it for the first time, or if you haven't used it in 2 weeks.
      • Since the medicine in Flonase (Fluticasone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
      • 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).
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      • It can take several days for Flonase (Fluticasone) to start working fully.
      • Don't take more of it than was prescribed for you.
      • Blow your nose before using Flonase (Fluticasone).
      • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
      • Can also cause a headache, sore throat, or nosebleeds.
      • 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.
      Learn more
      More about FlonaseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert