Compare Zyrtec vs. Sudafed

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

Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Prescription or OTC

Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)

Prescription or OTC
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
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.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 1740 reviewsforSudafed
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).
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
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
1740 reviews so far
82%
saidit'sworth it
45%
saiditworked well
6%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart problems
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
See more detailed risks and warnings
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Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.