Singulair vs Zyrtec – Uses (Allergy), Dosage, Side Effects, Differences


It is the brand name of a drug called montelukast that belongs to a class of medications called leukotriene receptor antagonists.

This medication works by blocking specific natural substances called leukotrienes (a family of eicosanoid inflammatory mediators) which may cause or worsen allergies and asthma.


It is an effective drug to treat and prevent allergic conditions, such as – seasonal allergies, asthma, and exercise-induced asthma. Asthma is a condition caused by chronic inflammation of the breathing passages of the lungs, called bronchioles. Common signs and symptoms of asthma may include:

  • wheezing;
  • coughing, particularly at night;
  • chest pain;
  • chest tightness;
  • shortness of breath.

Notes – sometimes, asthma symptoms can get suddenly or gradually worse. This is known as an asthma attack, however, healthcare specialists may use the term “exacerbation.” Also, this drug should not be used to treat sudden asthma attacks because it does not work immediately.


This medication should be taken 2 hours before physical exercise if treating difficulty breathing caused by any physical activity and in the evening if treating asthma. It is available as tablets for adults and chewable tablets for children.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Montelukast

Common side effects may include:

  • fever;
  • diarrhea;
  • headaches;
  • stomach pain;
  • ear infection;
  • upper respiratory infection;
  • a runny nose;
  • a sore throat;
  • bed-wetting in children;
  • a cough;
  • sinus infection;
  • stuffy nose.

Rare side effects may include:

  • worsening asthma symptoms;
  • unusual changes in behavior or mood;
  • ear swelling, pain, or warmth;
  • muscle weakness;
  • severe tingling;
  • skin rash;
  • shaking;
  • easy bruising;
  • thoughts about hurting yourself or suicide;
  • depression;
  • tremors;
  • severe sinus swelling, pain, or irritation;
  • anxiety;
  • swelling in your face or tongue;
  • purple pinpoint spots under the skin;
  • burning in your eyes;
  • skin pain;
  • unusual bleeding (mouth, nose, vagina, or rectum).


It is recommended to not consume alcohol while taking the medication.


It is the brand name of a drug called cetirizine, an antihistamine commonly used to treat nasal congestion, cold symptoms, severe allergies, or hives. This drug works by blocking the action of histamine, a natural substance in the human body that causes allergic symptoms.

Second-generation antihistamines like this one are less able to cross the blood-brain barrier (protects the neural tissue from variations in toxins and blood composition), hence, it has fewer effects on the central nervous system compared to first-generation antihistamines.

It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1996 as a prescription medicine. However, in 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration made it available as OTC.


This medication is typically used to treat swelling and itching caused by chronic urticaria. Additionally, it is used to treat allergy or cold symptoms, like – itching, sneezing, runny nose, or watery eyes.


The usual recommended dose for 5 to 10-year-old children is 2, 5-5 mg per day. The usual recommended dose for children 11 years and more is 5 to 10 mg per day. For individuals with kidney or liver problems the usual recommended dose is 5 mg per day.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Cetirizine

Common side effects may include:

  • dry mouth;
  • drowsiness;
  • constipation;
  • dizziness;
  • tired feeling;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

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

Drug Interactions

Since this drug may negatively interact with other drugs you may be taking, you should tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you take, including:

  • ipratropium (a drug that opens up the large and medium airways in the lungs);
  • herbal supplements;
  • umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta);
  • vitamins;
  • anticholinergics, like – trospium (Sanctura), glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Cuvposa),  solifenacin (Vesicare), oxybutynin (Gelnique, Anturol, Ditropan, Oxytrol), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), dicyclomine (Bentyl), and atropine (Sal-Tropine, Atropen);
  • tiotropium (a drug used in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
  • potassium chloride (a metal halide salt composed of chloride and potassium);
  • azelastine (a histamine antagonist used to treat mild persistent rhinitis);
  • aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair).

Singulair vs Zyrtec – Differences

Singulair (active ingredient – montelukast) is part of a class of drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists. This medication works by blocking the effects of a substance produced by the human body in response to certain triggers, called leukotriene. This substance causes swelling and narrowing of the airways in the lungs.

It is used to prevent narrowing of the airway which occurs with exercise (exercise-induced bronchospasm) in children who are at least 6 years old and adults. Moreover, it is used to prevent asthma attacks in children and adults.

Zyrtec (active ingredient – cetirizine) is an over-the-counter medication which is used for the treatment of seasonal allergies, hay fever, and hives. It belongs to a group of drugs called antihistamines.

Home Remedies To Relieve Allergy Symptoms

#1 Eucalyptus Oil

This essential oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties. To use it, you just need to add a few drops to a boiling pot of water. Breathing in the aroma can help clear the sinuses.

#2 Turmeric

Turmeric also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory attributes which can reduce your allergy symptoms. Its properties come from its content of an active natural compound called curcumin which actually acts as a natural decongestant. More importantly, curcumin can considerably reduce the release of histamines in the human body.

#3 Nettle Leaf

It is a good source of vitamin K, carotene, and vitamin B6. According to research, all these compounds can help reduce allergy symptoms.

#4 Use A Dehumidifier

Dust allergy is commonly caused by dust molds and mites, both of which flourish in humid conditions. Therefore, the use of a dehumidifier is one of the easiest and effective ways to relieve dust allergy and its symptoms.

#5 Quercetin

This flavonoid can improve nasal inflammation since it works similarly to allopathic nasal sprays. Foods rich in quercetin include – garlic, onion, cranberries, oranges, capers, tomatoes, red cabbage, spinach, kale, apples, cherries, green tea, lemons, raspberries, and grapefruit.

Image source – @Getty & Shutterstock

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