Compare Zyrtec vs. Claritin D

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

Zyrtec
(cetirizine)

Claritin D
(loratadine / pseudoephedrine)

Treats allergy symptoms. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that won't make you feel too sleepy.Relieves congestion and allergy symptoms. Claritin D (Loratadine / Pseudoephedrine) relieves allergies and congestion without causing daytime sleepiness. It can keep you up at night if you take it too close to bedtime.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.17Zyrtec
Reviews for Zyrtec
76%
of people (All ages) say Zyrtec is worth it
47%
say it works well
7%
say it's a big hassle
1232 reviews
Have you used Zyrtec (cetirizine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Claritin D
69%
+7% better vs. Zyrtec
39%
+8% better vs. Zyrtec
8%
+1% better vs. Zyrtec
1527 reviews
Have you used Claritin D (loratadine / pseudoephedrine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ZyrtecClaritin D

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

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec »

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

FDA side effect reports for Claritin D »
How it works
ZyrtecClaritin D
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.Claritin D (Loratadine / Pseudoephedrine) is a combination medicine for allergies. Loratadine (an antihistamine) prevents allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or skin. Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
ZyrtecClaritin D
Prescription or OTCPrescription or OTC
Available as
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Used for
ZyrtecClaritin D
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • 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 »
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 or older
  • History of seizure
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Claritin D (loratadine / pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Food
ZyrtecClaritin D
No food related info.
  • Claritin D (Loratadine / Pseudoephedrine) contains aspartame (phenylalanine). People who have phenylketonuria (PKU) can't break down the amino acid phenylalanine. It builds up and causes serious medical problems. If you have PKU, don't use this product.
Kidneys and liver
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • 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.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Sleep
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
  • You might not sleep as well due to Pseudoephedrine's effects and you can also have strange dreams while taking it.
Upsides and benefits
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • 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).
  • The antihistamine (Loratadine) in Claritin D (Loratadine / Pseudoephedrine) works as well as other antihistamines, but causes less drowsiness. It's also less sedating than Allegra D and Zyrtec D.
  • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) in Claritin D (Loratadine / 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
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • 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.
  • You can have more side effects when using combination pills than when using single-ingredient medications.
  • 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
ZyrtecClaritin D
  • 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.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • You need to show an ID to buy Claritin D (Loratadine / Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains Pseudoephedrine.
  • Don't cut, crush, or chew tablets; swallow them whole.
  • It's better to take Claritin D (Loratadine / 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 ZyrtecSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zyrtec (cetirizine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about Claritin DSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Claritin D (loratadine / pseudoephedrine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it