Compare Zyrtec vs. Nasacort AQ

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

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Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Over-the-counter

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)

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 allergy symptoms.

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is the only medication in its class available over the counter for treating stuffy and runny nose due to allergies. You have to use it every day for it to work.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 328 reviewsforNasacort AQ
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).
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
  • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
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).
  • Can't be used on as-needed basis. Must be taken every day.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left.
  • Since the medicine in Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Needs to be primed before use and re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
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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
328 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
39%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec (cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
  • Changes in the nasal septum
    • Long-term use
  • Decreased wound healing
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Reduced immune system
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Glaucoma and cataracts
    • Long-term use
  • Adrenal suppression
    • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
    • Using other inhaled steroids with Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
  • Decrease in growth in children and teenagers
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
See more detailed risks and warnings