Compare Clarinex vs. Zyrtec

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

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Clarinex (desloratadine)

Prescription only

Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Over-the-counter
Treats allergy symptoms.

Clarinex (desloratadine) is a good option for once-daily allergy relief. It doesn't make you feel sleepy, but you need a prescription.

Treats allergy symptoms.

Zyrtec (cetirizine) can help you with some allergy symptoms without making you very drowsy.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 1232 reviewsforZyrtec
Upsides
  • Clarinex (desloratadine) relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, hives, or itchy skin.
  • Preferred for older people since it causes little to no drowsiness compared to other antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
  • Works faster than other non-drowsy antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin).
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • Available as a liquid or fast-dissolving tablet for people who don't like swallowing pills.
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine) works to treat sneezing and runny nose, and causes less sedation compared to Benadryl.
  • 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 relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine) has few drug interactions with other medicines.
  • Most people don't get any side effects from Zyrtec (cetirizine).
Downsides
  • May not work as fast as the other antihistamines that make you sleepy (like Benadryl).
  • Not a good medication for pregnant women to take.
  • Although it works fast, Zyrtec (cetirizine)'s effectiveness wears off for some people over time.
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine) can make you a little more sleepy compared to Allegra or Claritin.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine), are more effective for them than Zyrtec (cetirizine).
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
Not enough review data.Leave a review
1232 reviews so far
76%
saidit'sworth it
47%
saiditworked well
7%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Zyrtec (cetirizine)?

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Side effects
15possible side effects
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
    21%
  • Diarrhea
    20%
  • Fever
    12%
  • Irritability
    12%
  • Coughing
    11%
  • Sleepiness
    9%
  • Inflammation of airways
    6%
  • Ear infection
    6%
  • Vomiting
    6%
  • Decreased appetite
    5%
  • Throat inflammation
    5%
  • Inability to sleep
    5%
  • Runny nose
    5%
  • Redness and swelling
    3%
  • Nausea
    3%
See more detailed side effects
The Zyrtec (cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Serious allergic reactions
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Increased side effects in the elderly
    • Age 65 or older
  • Impaired alertness
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • History of liver or kidney conditions
    • History of liver or kidney disease
See more detailed risks and warnings