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What’s Better For Allergies Claritin Or Zyrtec

What’s The Difference Between Allegra Claritin And Zyrtec

With or without a decongestant, Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec are all antihistamines, meaning they calm down your body’s immune reaction to allergens like pollen or animal dander.

“They have different active ingredients but are all in the same family of drugs,” Dr. Sakina Bajowala, an Illinois-based allergist, explains. “They are all considered to be non-sedating or low-sedating antihistamines, and they are all very effective.”

That said, they do have some very slight differences — which probably aren’t noticeable to every user. Allegra is the least likely to make you drowsy. Claritin is long-acting, with effects that last for 24 hours. Zyrtec acts the fastest — usually within one hour — but is also the most likely to make you drowsy, so avoid driving, alcohol, and sedatives as you figure out how you react.

You can also find out whether any of your other medications will interact with , , or .

Characteristics Of Cetirizine Hydrochloride

Cetirizine hydrochloride is found in some second-generation antihistamines, such as Zyrtec. Second-generation antihistamines are newer than first-generation medications and are associated with fewer nervous system effects. Cetirizine hydrochloride is effective in treating hay fever. Our allergists often recommend medications with this active ingredient when symptoms include itching.

Some individuals reported that medications with cetirizine hydrochloride work faster than those containing loratadine. Many people responded to medications with the ingredient, cetirizine hydrochloride, within an hour while responding to loratadine in 1-3 hours. However, a 2014 research study found that both ingredients were absorbed into the bloodstream within 1–2 hours of taking the medication. So how fast the medication works depends on the individual.

While cetirizine hydrochloride is effective in treating your allergy symptoms, there are some downsides to the ingredient. For example, medications containing cetirizine hydrochloride are more likely to cause drowsiness than ones with loratadine. Doctors don’t recommend taking these medications before driving or operating machinery. It has also been indicated in a study of the treatment of allergic rhinitis, that more patients will experience dry mouth after taking medications with cetirizine hydrochloride.

Can U Give A Dog Zyrtec

Zyrtec may be safe for dogs at the appropriate dose. As a pet owner, you should always consult your vet before giving your dog a new medication. You should also learn all that you can about the medication you’re giving to your dog and its potential side effects. At the end of the day, allergies are no fun.

Should I Take Claritin Zyrtec Or Allegra

editorial processSanja Jelic, MD

Sanja Jelic, MD is board-certified in pulmonary disease, sleep medicine, critical care medicine, and internal medicine. She is an assistant professor and attending physician at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, NY.

Medical Review Board

It’s common for people with hives or hay fever to wonder which over-the-counter they should take: Claritin , Zyrtec , or Allegra . All of these antihistamines have been available OTC without a prescription for a number of years.

But if you’re thinking these antihistamines are the same, they’re actually not. Depending on the allergic condition being treated, the age of the person, as well as other underlying issues , the best choice of antihistamine might be different.

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Side Effects And Precautions Of Fexofenadine Hydrochloride

Zyrtec vs. Claritin: What is the best antihistamine for ...

Common side effects may include:

  • menstrual cramps;
  • sleep problems;
  • tremors .

Because the effects of this medicine on an unborn baby are not known, talk with your healthcare provider before use. However, this medication can pass into breast milk, hence, avoid it if you are breastfeeding a baby.

Moreover, to be sure that this drug is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: severe kidney impairment, liver disease, or intolerance to sugars.

Zyrtec Vs Claritin: Administration

The antihistamine effects of Zyrtec and Claritin last for at least 24 hours, therefore, they are both given once daily. Cetirizine, the active ingredient of Zyrtec works within one hour. Claritin may not reach its peak effect for two to three hours since most of its antihistamine activity is attributable to its active metabolite desloratadine, which loratadine is metabolized to in the liver.

How Often Can Antihistamines Be Used

Antihistamines can be taken everyday to keep daily symptoms under control. Depending on when symptoms flare, they can be taken through the pollen season, for instance in the spring and fall, or they can be taken only when symptoms occur on an as-needed basis.  

Antihistamines can be helpful if taken in advance of exposure to allergens that trigger symptoms. For instance, taking anithistamines a few days prior to the start of pollen season or before visiting your friend who has a cat or dog.

Here Are A Few Tips To Help Allergy Sufferers Enjoy The Beautiful Spring Weather:

Oral allergy medications

Oral medications are especially useful for mild allergy symptoms, and many are available over the counter.

Nonsedating antihistamines can relieve itching, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Options include:
  • Loratadine , cetirizine , levocetirizine and fexofenadine all are available without prescription.
  • Oral decongestants, like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine can ease stuffiness, and pseudoephedrine is often combined with an antihistamine. These medications are generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects.
Common side effects

Oral decongestants cause insomnia and elevated blood pressure for some people, and antihistamines can cause drowsiness. If you find that one brand of antihistamine makes you sleepy, try a different one to see if you tolerate that better.

Older antihistamines, like diphenhydramine , are more likely to cause drowsiness compared to the newer antihistamines. Be careful about driving or working around heavy machinery if you take diphenhydramine.

Nasal steroid sprays

For more persistent allergy symptoms, nasal steroid sprays often are the best treatment option. Nasal steroid sprays block inflammation and swelling caused by airborne irritants and allergens, and prevent allergy symptoms.

Over-the-counter steroid nasal sprays include:
  • Triamcinolone
  • Fluticasone
  • Budesonide

Eye drops


Allergy shots

However, you may first want to know more details about allergy shots before considering:
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Which Is More Sedating Allegra Or Claritin

Allegra and Claritin are second-generation antihistamines. Second-generation antihistamines were first developed in the 1990s to provide allergy relief without the unwanted side effect of sedation common to first-generation antihistamines such as promethazine and diphenhydramine.

Fexofenadine , even in dosages exceeding those recommended, is the least sedating of all second-generation antihistamines, so is considered the antihistamine of choice for people in safety-critical jobs such as airline pilots. Loratadine is unlikely to cause CNS side effects such as sedation, or confusion when used at recommended dosages of 10mg/day; however, side effects may be more likely when used at higher dosages.

Comparisons With Other Allergy Medications

Researchers are often studying, comparing, and improving antihistamines. Other popular brands on the market today are Allegra and Benadryl.

  • Allegra contains the active ingredient fexofenadine. Allegra is non-sedating, so it should not make a person feel drowsy. Allegra is also a second-generation antihistamine.
  • Benadryl contains the active ingredient diphenhydramine. This acts faster than the other three and aims to treat minor skin reactions, not seasonal allergies. Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine, which makes it sedating, so people tend to feel drowsy after taking it.

When a person comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system reacts and produces a chemical called histamine.

Histamine causes many allergy symptoms, including of the skin or sinuses, pain, redness, and wheezing.

Immune responses also encourage extra mucus to develop, which helps to clear allergens from the nose and throat.

Allergy medications block histamine responses. This dulls the body’s response to minor or harmless allergens, such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.

Claritin and Zyrtec are effective and safe for most people with minor allergies. However, as with all medications, there may be some side effects.

Loratadine—present in Claritin—may not be safe for people with severe liver conditions. The liver has to break down loratadine. The kidneys break down cetirizine—found in Zyrtec—and the body excretes it in the urine, largely unchanged.

Why You Should Hate Histamines

Every time you experience allergy symptoms, it is the result of “histamines.”

Histamines are the natural chemicals that your body releases in response to an allergen, causing swelling, mucus secretion, or any number of other symptoms you’ve come to expect from your allergies.

Histamines are released in the nose, eyes, skin, chest, and GI tract during allergic reactions.  In the eyes, they can cause itching. In the nose, histamines can cause sneezing, itching, and watery mucus in the nose.  In the lips, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat, histamines produce itching and/or swelling. In the skin, they can produce hives.

Fortunately, there is a medicine that counteracts the behavior of histamines.  These medicines are appropriately named “antihistamines.”

What Causes Allergies In Dogs

We briefly touched on how certain allergens, like environmental or food allergens, can cause specific symptoms. Pet owners should understand that many factors can lead to dog allergies and that these factors may be trickier to pinpoint and therefore harder to prevent. Most allergen triggers fall into one of four categories: environmental, food, medication, or flea and tick. 

Signs Of Allergies In Dogs

Zyrtec vs. Claritin: What is the best antihistamine for ...

While we may think of allergies in terms of a runny nose and watery eyes, dogs may also show allergy symptoms in those ways as well as others.

If your pup is prone to allergies and/or is having an allergic reaction, you’ll likely notice the following symptoms:

  • Skin redness

  • Rubbing of the face and muzzle repeatedly

  • Biting of the paws or legs

If dog allergies are left untreated, hair loss and skin infections, including bacterial infections and yeast infections, as well as hot spots may develop.

Additionally, if your dog has a severe allergic reaction, this can lead to hives and in extreme cases, can cause anaphylactic shock.

Signs of anaphylactic shock can include excessive drooling, the sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, , coma, and even death. If you’re able to check your dog’s gums, they may appear paler than normal, instead of a healthy pink. Instead of the normal warmth in their limbs, their legs and paws may also feel cold. Your vet will also be able to detect any abnormalities in your dog’s heart rate and pulse. If you believe that your dog is showing signs of anaphylactic shock, it is imperative that you seek veterinary intervention straight away, as anaphylactic shock can be life-threatening.

Flonase Nasal Sprays Vs Zyrtec

Not all over-the-counter allergy medicines are created equal. Single-ingredient oral antihistamines don’t relieve nasal congestion, and some, like Zyrtec, may even cause drowsiness. FLONASE nasal sprays are non-drowsy, anti-inflammatory allergy relief nasal sprays that provide more complete relief* than a single-ingredient antihistamine. Here’s how FLONASE stacks up against oral antihistamines, like Zyrtec.

Symptom Prevention As Allergy Treatment

Allergens can be anywhere and everywhere, so taking steps to control your environment and allergy triggers are key.

  • Remove clothes and shower when you enter your house after spending time outdoors
  • Don’t hang your clothes outside to dry
  • Ask a friend or family member to handle outside chores like mowing or weeding
  • Use your air conditioning and equip your home with high-efficiency filters to reduce pollen
  • Work around the weather
  • Stay inside on dry and windy days
  • Venture outside after it rains
  • Avoid morning outings, when pollen counts are the highest

Allergen avoidance alone may not be enough to manage symptoms. Over-the-counter oral antihistamines can help with itching, runny nose and sneezing, but do not help with congestion.

For those who suffer from severe allergies, starting the medication a few days before allergen exposure can minimize initial symptoms. Individuals who suffer from less severe allergies can use medication as needed to reverse temporary symptoms for a short period of time.

Is Zyrtec Or Claritin More Effective

Clinical trials have shown that both Zyrtec and Claritin are more effective in relieving the symptoms of allergy compared to a placebo pill. However, there are a few studies that compare the effectiveness between Claritin and Zyrtec.

Zyrtec has a quicker onset of action compared to Claritin and may be more effective than Claritin in reducing allergy symptoms, according to one clinical trial. However, cetirizine, the active ingredient of Zyrtec, has been shown to produce more drowsiness than loratadine. In a randomized, clinical , those taking cetirizine for allergic rhinitis experienced more somnolence during the workday compared to loratadine.

The choice of anti-allergy medication to use ultimately depends on your specific condition and symptoms. Your doctor will be able to suggest the best medication for you after evaluating your symptoms.

Shower Immediately After Being Outside

When you spend a lot of time outside, particularly if you’re working out in the yard, pollen can end up on your skin and hair, worsening allergy symptoms. If you’re highly allergic to , it’s a good idea to take a second shower after you come inside to rinse away the pollen and avoid allergy symptoms, explains Mark S. Dykewicz, MD, a professor of internal medicine and the director of allergy and immunology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Do Antihistamines Come With Side Effects

Side effects that are reported with antihistamines include dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, feeling nervous, excited or irritable, changes in vision such as blurry vision, and decreased appetite.  

These symptoms are often not experienced with the second generation non-sedating antihistamines like loratadine, fexofenadine, and cetirizine. Please see the Drug Facts for more detail.

How Should I Take Claritin

  • Claritin comes as a mouth-taking syrup , a pill, and a quickly disintegrating tablet. It is normally taken with or without food once a day. Claritin should be taken exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor on the package label or as recommended. You can experience drowsiness if you take more Claritin than recommended.
  • Follow the packaging instructions to detach the tablet from the blister package without damaging the tablet if you are taking the rapidly disintegrating tablet. Do not attempt to break through the foil with the tablet. Place it immediately on your tongue after you remove the tablet from the blister packet and close your mouth. The tablet can dissolve easily and can be swallowed with water or without water.
  • Do not use Claritin to treat bruised or blistered hives, which are irregular in colour, or which do not itch. Call your doctor if you have hives of this sort. If your hives do not improve within the first 3 days of your medication, or if your hives last longer than 6 weeks, stop taking Claritin and contact your doctor. Call your doctor if you do not know the cause of your hives.
  • Other Anti Histamines For Treating Allergies

    There are other anti-histamines like Claritin which does not function well. It takes about three hours to act on the patient. However, the three antihistamines, namely Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin are good options for spring allergy. In this context, one needs to understand that Benadryl is a powerful antihistamine but it is sedative in nature. It is recommended to use other antihistamines like Allegra instead of to treat allergic symptoms.

    However, it is important to comprehend that one needs to consult a physician prior to taking drugs. Some drugs have side effects and therefore it is the physician who needs to be consulted with if a person is suffering from allergic conditions.

    Efficacy Of Zyrtec Vs Claritin

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    In studies, Claritin and Zyrtec have provided much greater allergy relief than placebo, usually with few side effects. The two drugs have also, at times, outperformed similar allergy relief drugs or worked well alongside other drugs. It is worth noting that seems to affect a person’s perception of drug effectiveness.

    Comparing Claritin Zyrtec And Allegra

    Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are all considered newer generation antihistamines. First-generation antihistamines, such as and Atarax , can be helpful for allergies and hives as well, but their use is limited due to side effects such as fatigue and sedation .??

    So while Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are all newer generation antihistamines that can treat hay fever or hives, there may be some advantages for each of these over the others.

    Drug Interactions Of Zyrtec Vs Claritin

    Most antihistamines, including Zyrtec and Claritin, are metabolized by the liver and excreted in the kidney. These drugs are broken down by the P450 cytochrome enzyme in the liver which is involved in the metabolism of a number of other drugs. For this reason, both Claritin and Zyrtec have a number of drug interactions.

    Zyrtec and Claritin should be avoided with another sedating antihistamine such as Benadryl . Taking these two medications together can increase CNS side effects like sedation and impairment in judgment, concentration, and memory. You should also avoid using Zyrtec or Claritin with alcohol which can also increase drowsiness.

    Other sedating medications that Zyrtec is likely to interact with include benzodiazepines, some anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, and certain antidepressants among other drugs.

    Claritin may have fewer drug interactions compared to Zyrtec.

    Yes No

    This is not a complete list of drug interactions. Please consult your doctor before taking these medications.

    Are Cetirizine And Loratadine Safe To Use While Pregnant And Breastfeeding


    Cetirizine has not been adequately evaluated in women. Available evidence suggests that risk to the developing fetus is low.

    Cetirizine is excreted in human breast milk.


    Loratadine is secreted in breast milk at levels similar to blood levels. mothers should decide whether to stop or discontinue loratadine.

    Claritin Vs Allegra Vs Zyrtec Which Is Better For Allergies

    Claritin belongs to a group of drugs called histamine antagonists. It is available over-the-counter.

    Allegra belongs to the class of drugs called second-generation antihistamines – the class known as histamine receptor antagonists. Allergies, like – watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, skin itching can be effectively treated with this drug.

    Zyrtec is a medication that is used to treat cold symptoms, moderate to severe allergies, or chronic hives.

    According to studies, between these three drugs, fexofenadine exhibits a higher incidence of side effects, plus, in dosages exceeding those recommended, it’s the least sedating. Loratadine is the longest-lasting of the three and cetirizine possesses the stronger antihistamine effects.

    In conclusion, each of these drugs has different ingredients, although they have similar effects as well as they may cause numerous side effects.

    Which Is Better For Allergies Zyrtec Or Claritin

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    Which Is More Effective For Allergic Rhinitis

    Trials have shown both Zyrtec and Claritin are significantly more effective than placebo for reducing symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, hay fever, and other allergies. Trials have not consistently shown that one antihistamine is more effective than another, although one trial did report cetirizine reducing symptoms to a greater extent.

    Intranasal or ophthalmic antihistamines have a quicker onset of action than oral antihistamines ; however, need to be administered several times daily. In people with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and predominantly eye symptoms, ophthalmic antihistamines work much quicker and are much more effective than any other form of treatment. Intranasal antihistamines are as effective as intranasal cromolyn, intranasal nedocromil, and leukotriene modifiers in seasonal allergic rhinitis; however, are not as effective at relieving nasal congestion and other symptoms as intranasal glucocorticoids.

    What Are The Main Differences Between Zyrtec And Claritin

    The active ingredient in is cetirizine hydrochloride. It is used to treat symptoms in adults and children over 6 years of age. It is usually taken as an oral tablet and can be used for allergies that last throughout the year or during certain seasons . Zyrtec has a quick onset of action with relief usually felt within 1 hour. However, this medication also has the potential to cause .

    , on the other hand, is known by the generic name of loratadine. It is also used to treat allergy symptoms but has a much slower onset of action than Zyrtec—around 3 hours. It is less likely to cause sedation and can be taken for seasonal or perennial allergies. Claritin is suitable for adults and children older than 6 years of age. It is available as an oral tablet.

    Main differences between Zyrtec and Claritin

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    What Is Better For Allergies Humidifier Or Air Purifier

    Is Allegra An Antihistamine

    Traditional air filters capture these particles, while the Molekule air purifier is the only technology that can effectively destroy allergens. Humidifiers, on the other hand, have no impact on allergen levels. Instead, they may help symptoms feel less severe if your nasal passages are dry and irritated.

    Potential Link To Obesity

    At least one correlative study has found a potential link between antihistamine drugs, like Claritin and Zyrtec, and . Antihistamine drugs may affect some patients’ normal appetite suppression neurotransmitters, thus leading patients to feel hungrier—and therefore eat more—than they would if they were not using an antihistamine. Further study is needed, but those concerned about their weight or who have noticed differences in their eating habits while on these drugs should consult a doctor.

    So Which One Should You Choose

    This may sound obvious, but the key thing to pay attention to is not what’s written on a box, but what actually works for you. “Some people may respond well to one anti-histamine while getting no benefit from another,” Consumer Reports advises in its .

    In a Washington Post Health Talk about allergies, Dr. Daniel Ein, a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and a practicing allergist since 1972, gave this advice: “My rule about the best one antihistamine is: It’s the one that gives you the greatest relief with the fewest side effects at the lowest price.”

    So if one antihistamine isn’t working for you, try a different one.

    A doctor can also talk to you about prescription antihistamines, and — if your symptoms persist — immunotherapy, which can help desensitize you to what’s causing a reaction in the first place.

    Most importantly, talk to your pharmacist and a board-certified allergist.

    Why Trust Verywell Family

    As a seasoned health writer, Isis Briones knows the importance of finding products that work best for you and your conditions. You can count on her to always provide a variety of recommendations from licensed medical professionals because she has tested and reviewed tons of products over the years to know everyone is different.

    Additional reporting by Katrina Cossey

    Best Treatment To Manage Allergies Long Term

    Immunotherapy is a great option for anyone who suffers from severe allergy symptoms, especially for those with year-round allergies. Immunotherapy works by exposing you to gradually increasing levels of an allergen to help your immune system slowly build a tolerance, relieving allergy symptoms and even preventing new allergies from developing. 

    Allergy shots are one form of immunotherapy that require frequent office visits to be administered by a doctor. Allergy drops are a revolutionary form of immunotherapy that can be taken under the tongue from home each day to relieve allergy symptoms long term. Both allergy shots and allergy drops can be prescribed by a doctor after specific allergies are determined by an allergy test. This is a long term approach to allergy relief and management, with most patients taking allergy shots or drops for a period of three to five years.

    Best For Treating Itching And Nasal Allergy Symptoms

    Antihistamines work by targeting and blocking histamine, which is the chemical substance your body releases when exposed to an allergen, such as pollen or pet dander. Antihistamine treatments can take the form of pills, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops. Once antihistamine medications are in your bloodstream, they can quickly reduce symptoms caused by allergens and prevent the release of histamines in the first place.

    Taking antihistamines before or during exposure to an allergen can help limit and even prevent allergy symptoms. Antihistamine pills are most effective against itching, sneezing and runny nose, while nasal sprays are primarily designed to relieve congestion and pressure. It’s important to note that certain antihistamine, especially older drugs, can cause drowsiness and dizziness, so you should be careful to avoid certain activities like driving after taking some antihistamines.


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