Claritin vs. Zyrtec

Claritin
Zyrtec

Over-the-counter allergy relief medications Claritin (Loratadine) and Zyrtec (Cetirizine) have similar effects, but their different ingredients mean that different groups of people have rare but adverse reactions to them. Those using muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, or other allergy medications should speak to a doctor before also using Zyrtec, while those suffering from liver disorders or phenylketonuria (PKU) should be careful with Claritin. Generally, though, both drugs are very safe, thus their widespread availability.

Claritin and Zyrtec can also be used in dogs that suffer from a variety of allergic reactions or symptoms. A veterinarian can be contacted for appropriate dosage instructions.

Comparison chart

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Claritin

User Rating (75):
Claritin

Zyrtec

User Rating (104):
Zyrtec
Active ingredient Loratadine. Cetirizine.
Treatment for Allergy symptoms caused by hay fever, hives, angioedema, and skin allergies. May also be prescribed for mild to moderate headaches or coughs. Allergy symptoms caused by hay fever, hives, angioedema, and skin allergies. May also be prescribed for mild to moderate headaches or coughs.
Half-life 8 hours. 8.3 hours.
Administration method Liquid syrup, tablets, and tablets designed to dissolve in the mouth. Liquid syrup, tablets, and chewable tablets.
Inform the doctor If you have severe hepatic (liver) disorders or PKU (a rare genetic syndrome called phenylketonuria) or take other allergy medications. If you use muscle relaxers, sleeping pills or other allergy medications.
Side effects Claritin's most possible common side effects, which are typically not serious, include headache, feeling tired or drowsy, dry mouth, nervousness, stomach pain, diarrhea, eye redness, nosebleed, skin rash, and sore throat. Zyrtec's common, less serious side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, sore throat, dizziness, headache, cough, nausea, or constipation.
Excretion Claritin's is excreted about equally through the kidneys via urination and through the digestive system via feces (around 40% both ways); trace amounts of the drug, unmetabolized, may remain in the urine. About 70% of Zyrtec is excreted via urination, with half of the drug remaining unmetabolized; another 10% is expelled through feces.
Systematic (IUPAC) name Ethyl 4-(8-chloro-5,6-dihydro-11H-benzo[5,6]cyclohepta[1,2-b]pyridin-11-ylidene)-1-piperidinecarboxylate. (±)-[2-[4-[(4-chlorophenyl)phenylmethyl]-1- piperazinyl]ethoxy]acetic acid.
Chemical Data Formula C22H23ClN2O2 Mol. Mass 382.88 g/mol. Formula C21H25ClN2O3 Mol. Mass 388.89 g/mol.
Marketed by Schering-Plough. Pfizer.

Contents: Claritin vs Zyrtec

edit Allergies Treated

Both Claritin and Zyrtec are used to treat allergy symptoms caused by hay fever, hives, angioedema, and skin allergies. They should reduce general allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose, and eye irritation, that are common with allergic reactions to environmental factors or foods. In some cases, Claritin and Zyrtec may be prescribed to treat mild to moderate headaches.

The effectiveness of various antihistamines, as researched by Consumer Reports.
The effectiveness of various antihistamines, as researched by Consumer Reports.

edit Efficacy of Zyrtec vs Claritin

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 advertising seems to affect a person's perception of drug effectiveness.[1]

edit Studies on Claritin

edit Studies on Zyrtec

edit Forms and Appearance

Claritin is available in solid tablets, liquid syrup, and quick-dissolving tablets. Likewise, Zyrtec is available in both non-chewable and chewable forms, as well as in liquid syrup.

edit Dosage

Age Group Claritin (Loratadine) Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
Adults & Children (>6yrs) 1 10 mg tablet/reditab, or 2 tbs (10 mg) of syrup once daily. 5 mg or 10 mg once daily
Children (2 to 5 yrs) 1 tsp (5 mg)once daily. 2.5 mg (½ teaspoon) syrup once daily. Max dose is 5 mg per day.
Children (6 mo to <2yrs) Not recommended 2.5 mg (½ teaspoon) once daily. For children 12-23 mo, max dose is 5 mg per day.
Adults & Children (>11yrs) with special condition (liver failure, renal or hepatic impairment) Start with 1 tablet or 2 tsp (10 mg) every other day. 5 mg once daily.
Children (6-11yrs) with special condition (liver failure, renal or hepatic impairment) Start with 1 tablet or 2 tsp (10 mg) every other day. Not recommended

edit Cost

The cost of Claritin and Zyrtec varies depending on form; generic versions of both drugs are cheaper than the branded forms.

Claritin costs about $0.45 per tablet, or $17.98, for a pack of 30 tablets on Amazon.

Zyrtec costs less per tablet, overall. A pack of 70 on Amazon.com costs $23.99, or $0.34 per tablet.

edit Side Effects

While both Claritin and Zyrtec have relatively few side effects, some individuals may have a reaction to the drugs—usually a mild side effect that will not require contacting a doctor. For those taking other medication, including other allergy relief drugs, speaking to a doctor before taking Claritin or Zyrtec, too, is advisable.

A new side effect to these drugs may also be reported to US FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 and Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

edit Common Side Effects

Claritin's most possible common side effects, which are typically not serious, include headache, feeling tired or drowsy, dry mouth, nervousness, stomach pain, diarrhea, eye redness, nosebleed, skin rash, and sore throat.

Claritin's most common side effects. Screenshot from RxList.com.
Claritin's most common side effects. Screenshot from RxList.com.

Zyrtec's common, less serious side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, sore throat, dizziness, headache, cough, nausea, or constipation.

Zyrtec's most common side effects. Screenshot from RxList.com.
Zyrtec's most common side effects. Screenshot from RxList.com.

edit Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare for both Claritin and Zyrtec, but they can happen. In the event of experiencing one of the side effects below, patients are advised to contact their doctor immediately.

For Claritin, serious side effects can include fast or irregular heartbeats, feeling faint, yellowing of skin or eyes (signs of jaundice), urinary retention, and seizures.

Zyrtec's serious side effects may include a fast and heavy or irregular heart rate, extreme restlessness, uncontrollable shaking, sleep problems like insomnia, urinary retention, vision problems, and confusion.

edit Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to Claritin or Zyrtec are very rare, thus their over-the-counter status. An allergic reaction to either of these drugs may include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. Those experiencing allergic reactions to Claritin, Zyrtec, or any other drugs should contact emergency care immediately.

edit Potential Link to Obesity

At least one correlative study has found a potential link between antihistamine drugs, like Claritin and Zyrtec, and obesity. 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.

edit Metabolism

2D structure of nonsedating antihistamine loratadine (Claritin)
2D structure of nonsedating antihistamine loratadine (Claritin)

Though Claritin and Zyrtec last for around 16 hours (8-hour half-life) in the body, the two drugs are metabolized differently.

Claritin's is excreted about equally through the kidneys via urination and through the digestive system via feces (around 40% both ways); trace amounts of the drug, unmetabolized, may remain in the urine. In contrast, about 70% of Zyrtec is excreted via urination, with half of the drug remaining unmetabolized; another 10% is expelled through feces.

How long it takes for Claritin or Zyrtec to work varies slightly by person. As Claritin is often used as a preventative medication, it may take several days for it to affect some patients. Zyrtec usually has faster results, but it, too, may take time, depending on severity of symptoms. Both should work very well within 5-7 days of use, and many will experience allergy relief on the first couple of days.

edit Active Ingredients

Loratadine is the active ingredient in Claritin, while Cetirizine is the active ingredient of Zyrtec. Both drugs are second-generation H1 histamine antagonists.

edit References

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Comments: Claritin vs Zyrtec

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Anonymous comments (2)

June 6, 2014, 10:14pm

This is great

— 24.✗.✗.62
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April 30, 2014, 7:03am

I just take 1 of each type at same time.

— 151.✗.✗.252
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