Compare Nasacort AQ vs. Zyrtec

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

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)

Prescription or OTC

Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves allergy symptoms.

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is the only medication in its class available over the counter for treating stuffy and runny nose due to allergies. You have to use it every day for it to work.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 328 reviewsforNasacort AQ
Treats allergy symptoms.

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

3.8/ 5 average rating with 1232 reviewsforZyrtec
Upsides
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Can't be used on as-needed basis. Must be taken every day.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left.
  • Since the medicine in Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Needs to be primed before use and re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
  • 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
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Price
No pricing information available
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
328 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
39%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)?

Leave a review
1232 reviews so far
76%
saidit'sworth it
47%
saiditworked well
7%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Zyrtec (Cetirizine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Changes in the nasal septum
    • Long-term use
  • Decreased wound healing
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Reduced immune system
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Glaucoma and cataracts
    • Long-term use
  • Adrenal suppression
    • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
    • Using other inhaled steroids with Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
  • Decrease in growth in children and teenagers
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Taking the wrong medication
  • Increased side effects
    • Age 65 or older
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Overdosage
    • Current kidney disease
    • Current liver disease
See more detailed risks and warnings