Compare Zyrtec vs. Zyrtec D

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

Zyrtec
(Cetirizine)

Zyrtec D
(Cetirizine / 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. Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) relieves allergies and congestion without causing daytime sleepiness. It can keep you up at night if you take it too close to bedtime.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.158456486042693Zyrtec
Reviews for Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
76%
of people say Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is worth it
46%
say it works well
7%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine)
75%
1% vs. Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
43%
3% vs. Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
9%
2% vs. Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
Side effects
ZyrtecZyrtec D

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

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec »

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

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec D »
How it works
ZyrtecZyrtec 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.Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) is a combination medicine for allergies. Cetirizine (an antihistamine) prevents allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or skin. Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
ZyrtecZyrtec D
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Antihistamine
2nd generation
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
ZyrtecZyrtec D
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ZyrtecZyrtec D
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZyrtecZyrtec 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
      • Age 65 years or older
      • Taking with alcohol
      • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
      • Current kidney disease
      • Current liver disease
      Detailed Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      ZyrtecZyrtec D
      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
      • 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.
      • People with kidney or liver disease may need to take a lower dose of Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) 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
      • 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.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) can cause more drowsiness than similar antihistamines, like Allegra D (which contains Fexofenadine) and Claritin D (which contains Loratadine).
      • You might not sleep as well due to Pseudoephedrine's effects and you can also have strange dreams while taking it.
      • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) causes less drowsiness than other medications like Benadryl.
      • It's better to take Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) early in the morning or when you wake up, otherwise you can have trouble sleeping later.
      • People age 65 and older have a higher risk of troublesome side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine). 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 D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) and stop using it if you have side effects.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      ZyrtecZyrtec 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 (Cetirizine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) causes less drowsiness than other medications like Benadryl.
      • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / 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
      ZyrtecZyrtec 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 antihistamine (Cetirizine) can cause more drowsiness than similar antihistamines, like Allegra D (which contains Fexofenadine) and Claritin D (which contains Loratadine).
      • 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
      ZyrtecZyrtec 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 Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains Pseudoephedrine.
      • Don't cut, crush, or chew tablets; swallow them whole.
      • It's better to take Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / 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
      More about Zyrtec DSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert