Claritin vs Allegra vs Zyrtec – Uses, Side Effects, Differences


It is the brand name of a drug called loratadine, an over-the-counter antihistamine drug. It works by blocking histamine receptors in the human body, therefore, preventing the immune system from reacting to triggers that typically cause allergy symptoms.


This drug is typically used to treat symptoms, like – runny nose, itching, sneezing, and watery eyes, from allergic rhinitis. In addition, this medication is used to relieve itching from hives.


For allergic rhinitis, the usual recommended dose is 5 mg two times per day or 10 mg per day. Do not to exceed 10 mg per day. Do not give this medication to kids under 2 years of age.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Loratadine

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • dry throat;
  • sleepiness;
  • diarrhea;
  • dry mouth;
  • vomiting;
  • tiredness;
  • feeling nervous or an opposite reaction in which you feel excited;
  • stomach pain;
  • dry eyes.

Rare side effects may include:

  • asthma;
  • severe headaches;
  • fast heart rate;
  • a feeling like you might pass out.

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if have or had – liver disease or kidney disease. Moreover, tell your healthcare provider what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking, including:

  • muscle relaxants;
  • erythromycin;
  • sedatives;
  • sleeping pills;
  • tranquilizers;
  • medications for asthma;
  • ketoconazol;
  • pain medications;
  • medications for depression;
  • vitamins.

Avoid this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding since there are no conclusive clinical studies regarding its safe use by pregnant or lactating women.

Do not use this drug if you stopped taking an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) within the previous two weeks or take an MAOI currently since adverse effects can occur.


It is the brand name of a drug called fexofenadine hydrochloride, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine – a natural substance which the human body makes during an allergic reaction. This natural substance can produce symptoms of itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.

It was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995.


This drug is used to relieve the symptoms associated with chronic idiopathic urticaria (an allergic reaction to a food or drug) including itchy skin and hives.

It is commonly prescribed for the relief of symptoms associated with year-round and seasonal allergies, such as – itchy palate, sneezing, runny nose, and tearing, itchy, and redness of the eyes.


The usual recommended dose is 60 mg two times per day. It is typically taken with water. It comes as a suspension (liquid), a tablet, and an orally disintegrating tablet.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Fexofenadine Hydrochloride

Common side effects may include:

  • menstrual cramps;
  • upset stomach;
  • tired feeling;
  • diarrhea;
  • muscle or back pain;
  • headaches;
  • drowsiness;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • body aches;
  • allergic reactions;
  • flu symptoms;
  • a cough.

It may interact with other drugs which make you sleepy, including:

  • erythromycin;
  • sleeping pills;
  • allergy medicines;
  • ketoconazole;
  • medicine for depression, seizures, or anxiety;
  • muscle relaxers;
  • narcotic pain medicine;
  • sedatives.

Avoid taking this medicine if you are breastfeeding a baby because it passes into breast milk. If you are pregnant, consult your healthcare professional since there are no controlled studies in human pregnancy.


It is the brand name of cetirizine, an over-the-counter second-generation antihistamine that reduces the effects of histamine in the body. This neurotransmitter can produce symptoms of itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.


This drug is approved to treat the following allergy symptoms:

  • nasal congestion;
  • watery eyes;
  • itchy throat;
  • itchy nose;
  • sneezing;
  • a runny nose.


Follow all the directions on the medicine package or your doctor’s orders before taking this drug. The usual recommended dose for allergic rhinitis is 5 to 10 mg once per day.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Cetirizine

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • fatigue;
  • nervousness;
  • sickness;
  • weakness;
  • dizziness;
  • dryness of the mucous membranes.

Rare side effects may include:

  • uneven heartbeat;
  • confusion;
  • little urination;
  • problems with vision;
  • hyperactivity;
  • severe restless feeling;
  • sleep problems;
  • tremors (uncontrolled shaking).

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.

Claritin vs Allegra vs Zyrtec – Which Is Better For Allergies?

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

Allegra (fexofenadine) 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 (cetirizine) 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.

5 Natural Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

#1 Bromelain

Bromelain is a plant enzyme that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is an enzyme produced from the stem of the pineapples (scientifical name – Ananas comosus).

#2 Omega-3 Fatty Acids

According to studies, omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals (prostaglandin E2 and inflammatory cytokines) in the human body. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a type of fatty acids that we must obtain through our regular nutrition.

Healthy source of omega 3 includes – flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, red kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, hazelnuts, broccoli, and hemp seeds.

#3 Hot Showers

Spending twenty minutes in a steamy, foggy environment can help prevent the inflammation of the nasal passages.

#4 Peppermint

It is useful in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

#5 Quercetin

It is a type of antioxidant that is an adequate allergy remedy because quercetin prevents the release of histamine. Good sources of quercetin include – lovage leaves, capers, elderberries, red onions, garlic, apples, and spinach.

Images credit – Shutterstock & @Getty

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