Compare Sudafed vs. Claritin

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

Sudafed
(Pseudoephedrine)

Claritin
(Loratadine)

Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.273672055427252Sudafed
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
82%
of people say Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is worth it
45%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Claritin (Loratadine)
74%
8% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
38%
7% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
6%
Same vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
Side effects
SudafedClaritin

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

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »

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

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »
How it works
SudafedClaritin
Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.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
SudafedClaritin
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
SudafedClaritin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
SudafedClaritin
Risk factors for serious side effects
SudafedClaritin
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of seizures
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) 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
    SudafedClaritin
    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.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
    • 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.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    SudafedClaritin
    • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
    • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
    • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
    • Available in regular and extended release forms.
    • 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
    SudafedClaritin
    • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
    • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
    • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
    • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
    • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
    • 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
    SudafedClaritin
    • Starts working in 30 minutes.
    • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
    • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
    • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
    • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
    • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
    • 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 SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert