Compare Zyrtec vs. Flonase

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

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Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Over-the-counter

Flonase (fluticasone)

Prescription or OTC
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
Relieves nasal allergy symptoms.

Flonase (fluticasone) is a good first-choice treatment for allergies of the nose, but long-term use can increase the risk of nosebleeds.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 890 reviewsforFlonase
Upsides
  • 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).
  • Only need to use Flonase (fluticasone) once a day. Its effects can last for up to 24 hours.
  • Available over-the-counter and cheaper than many of its alternatives.
  • Highly effective treatment of allergy symptoms in the nose.
  • Flonase (fluticasone) gives you very little to no side effects since it's a nasal spray and doesn't expose the rest of your body to the medicine.
Downsides
  • 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).
  • Flonase (fluticasone) is not an appropriate medicine for people who have an injured nose or had a recent surgery in the nose.
  • Can slow down the growth rate in children.
  • Can increase the risk of bleeding and fungal infections in the nose.
  • Not recommended for those who are also taking other medicines that lower their ability to fight off infections.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Nasal spray
Price
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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
890 reviews so far
72%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
7%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Flonase (fluticasone)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec (cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
7possible side effects
  • Headache
    7%
  • Asthma-like symptoms
    7%
  • Sore throat
    6%
  • Nosebleed
    6%
  • Nausea/vomiting
    5%
  • Cough
    4%
  • Nasal burning/nasal irritation
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • Decreased growth rate in children
    • Children
    • Using the medicine for a long period of time
  • Effect on wound healing
    • People who had recent surgery or injury to the nose
  • Lowered ability to fight off infections
    • People who come into contact with others who have chickenpox, measles, or tuberculosis
    • People who have not received a vaccine for chickenpox, measles, or tuberculosis
  • Damage to nose
    • Using the medicine for a long period of time
  • Sinus infection
    • People who recently had the cold or flu
  • Increased risk of nosebleeds
See more detailed risks and warnings