Compare Nasacort AQ vs. Zyrtec

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

Nasacort Aq
(Triamcinolone)

Zyrtec
(Cetirizine)

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.Treats allergy symptoms. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that won't make you feel too sleepy.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.834862385321101Nasacort AQ
Reviews for Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
67%
of people say Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is worth it
39%
say it works well
10%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
76%
+9% vs. Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
46%
+7% vs. Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
7%
+3% vs. Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
Side effects
Nasacort AQZyrtec
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Tooth disorder 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Throat pain 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Bronchitis 2%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Flu syndrome 2%
  • Common cold 1%
More Nasacort AQ side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec »
How it works
Nasacort AQZyrtec
Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to help reduce swelling and inflammation from allergies.Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Zyrtec is a low-drowsiness version.
Type of medication
Nasacort AQZyrtec
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Prescription or OTC
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
Nasacort AQZyrtec
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
Nasacort AQZyrtec
Risk factors for serious side effects
Nasacort AQZyrtec
  • Long-term use
  • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
  • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Long-term use
  • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
  • Using other inhaled steroids with Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
  • Long-term use
  • Taking more than recommended dose
Detailed Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) risks & warnings »
    • Age 65 or older
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Current kidney disease
    • Current liver disease
    Detailed Zyrtec (Cetirizine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    Nasacort AQZyrtec
    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
    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 (Cetirizine) 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
    No specific sleep-related info.
    • People age 65 and older have a higher risk of troublesome side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Zyrtec (Cetirizine). 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 (Cetirizine) and stop using it if you have side effects.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    Nasacort AQZyrtec
    • 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 and risks
    Nasacort AQZyrtec
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    Nasacort AQZyrtec
    • Use Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) once a day, following age-specific recommendations on how many sprays to use. Don't take more than prescribed.
    • Blow your nose before using.
    • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
    • Can also cause nosebleeds, a sore throat, and headaches.
    • Needs to be used regularly during allergy season for it to work. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the medicine to start working fully.
    • Check with your doctor or pharmacist on how to use the nasal spray the right way.
    • Shake well before using it. Before the first use, prime the bottle by spraying it until you see a fine mist.
    • Starts working in a few hours. Only take it once a day.
    • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
    • Avoid some of the 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 since it might work better for you long-term.
    • Using an antihistamine eye drop instead can also work better to treat itchy or watery eyes.
    Learn more
    More about Nasacort AQSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ZyrtecSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert