Compare Zyrtec vs. Claritin-D

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

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
Treats allergies and clears up nasal congestion.

Claritin-D (loratadine / pseudoephedrine) relieves allergies and congestion without causing daytime sleepiness but it can keep you up at night.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 1527 reviewsforClaritin-D
Upsides
  • 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).
  • This once-daily, single-pill combination conveniently treats congestion and other allergy symptoms.
  • It doesn't cause any daytime drowsiness unlike other antihistamines.
  • It doesn't require a prescription from your doctor.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • The decongestant (pseudoephedrine) can make you anxious or your heart race. You may not sleep as well at night.
  • Although you don't need a prescription, you do need to show a photo ID to buy this from behind the pharmacy counter.
  • It may interfere with how your other medicines work. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before combining with other medicines.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Extended-release pill
No pricing information available
No pricing information available
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Reviews
1232 reviews so far
76%
saidit'sworth it
47%
saiditworked well
7%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Zyrtec (Cetirizine)?

Leave a review
1527 reviews so far
69%
saidit'sworth it
39%
saiditworked well
8%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Claritin-D (loratadine / pseudoephedrine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
12possible side effects
  • Headache
    19%
  • Insomnia
    16%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Drowin
    7%
  • Nervousness or anxiety
    5%
  • Dizziness
    4%
  • Indigestion
    3%
  • Nausea
    3%
  • Sore throat
    3%
  • Fatigue
    3%
  • Increased thirst
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
    • Glaucoma
  • Restlesness
    • History of heart problems
    • Overactive thyroid
    • Diabetes
    • Over age 65
  • Difficulty concentrating
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
See more detailed risks and warnings