Compare Zyrtec vs. Zaditor

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

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Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Over-the-counter

Zaditor (ketotifen)

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 itchy eyes due to allergies.

Zaditor (ketotifen) is the first-choice OTC treatment for allergy-related itchy eyes, but it doesn't treat infections and may not help for more serious allergies.

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).
  • Works within minutes to relieve itchy eyes.
  • Available to buy over-the-counter, which makes it cheaper.
  • Can use in children age 3 or older.
  • Unlike pills which can affect your whole body, Zaditor (ketotifen) only affects your eyes, which means it has less side effects than anti-allergy pills.
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 only use Zaditor (ketotifen) for a short period of time.
  • Administering the medication into the eye safely may be more difficult for some people than taking anti-allergy pills.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
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.
The Zaditor (ketotifen) 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
  • Allergy to ingredients
  • Risk for eye infection
  • Not to be used with contact lenses
    • Those who wear soft contact lenses
See more detailed risks and warnings