Compare Zyrtec vs. Rhinocort Aqua

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

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Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Over-the-counter
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.

Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) is a steroid nasal spray that works best when used regularly for your nasal allergy symptoms.

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).
  • Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) lowers the number of nasal symptoms you'll get during allergy season.
  • Most people don't have many side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
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).
  • Needs to be used everyday to work, so it can't be used as needed.
  • Can hace an unpleasant smell or taste.
  • It's good for 120 sprays, but there isn't a counter to help you keep track of sprays.
  • Can't be used in kids younger than age 6 years.
  • Need a prescription to get Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide).
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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

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Side effects
The Zyrtec (cetirizine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
5possible side effects
  • Epistaxis
    8%
  • Pharyngitis
    4%
  • Bronchospasm
    2%
  • Coughing
    2%
  • 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
  • Changes to your nose
    • Long-term use
  • Poor wound healing
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Increased risk of infections
    • Long-term use
    • Untreated infections
  • Glaucoma and cataracts
    • Long-term use
  • Withdrawal
    • Long-term use
  • Decrease in growth in children and teenagers
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
See more detailed risks and warnings