Compare Zyrtec vs. Claritin

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Prescription or OTC

Claritin (loratadine)

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
Treats allergies.

Claritin (loratadine) is a once-daily medicine for allergies that won't make you as sleepy as other medicines that work like it.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 1517 reviewsforClaritin
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).
  • It doesn't cause daytime drowsiness unlike other antihistamines.
  • Side-effects are mild, if any at all.
  • Available over-the-counter without a prescription.
  • It provides quick relief of allergy symptoms for both children and adults.
  • It doesn't interfere with how a lot of other medicines work.
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.
  • It's not the best choice if you have persistent, daily allergy symptoms.
  • It's not recommended for children less than 2 years old.
ADVERTISEMENT
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
No pricing information available
No pricing information available
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Learn more
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
1517 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
38%
saiditworked well
6%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Claritin (loratadine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec (Cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
19possible side effects
  • Headache
    12%
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Nervousness or anxiety
    4%
  • Wheezing
    4%
  • Tiredness
    4%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Diarrhea
    3%
  • Mouth or tongue irritation
    3%
  • Dry mouth
    3%
  • Hyperactive behavior
    3%
  • Ear pain
    3%
  • Bloody nose
    3%
  • Sore throat
    3%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    3%
  • Abdominal pain
    2%
  • Pink eye
    2%
  • Lung infections
    2%
  • Difficulty speaking
    2%
  • Feeling uneasy or uncomfortable
    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
  • Difficulty concentrating
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Excess phenylalanine
    • History of phenylketonuria (PKU)
See more detailed risks and warnings