Differences Between Zyrtec and Claritin (With Table)

In general, OTC drugs like Zyrtec and Claritin are recommended by doctors for the treatment of hay fever and upper airway tenderness. Both these medications are antihistamines, which ease problems like sneezing, irritation, runny nose, and watery eyes for a short duration. Generic versions of Zyrtec and Claritin are obtainable. Whilst Zyrtec and Claritin belong to the same medication family, their onset times and side-effect profiles vary.

Zyrtec vs Claritin

The difference between Zyrtec and Claritin is that the former contains the active ingredient cetirizine hydrochloride, unlike the latter that has the active ingredient loratadine. When compared to Claritin, Zyrtec has a more sedative effect. Claritin cannot work as a muscle relaxant or antidepressant, or anticonvulsant. On the other hand, Zyrtec may serve these properties.

Zyrtec is an antihistamine that is purchased over-the-counter. It is used to relieve allergies. Within an hour, it begins to be effective and starts to ease allergy symptoms. This can last for around 24 hours. Adults and children over the age of six can take Zyrtec. Before taking this drug, children under six and adults aged above 65 should talk to their doctor.

Claritin is a second-generation OTC antihistamine. Often prescribed to handle allergies, and it takes about 3 hours to reach its full effect. Allergy healing as an action of this drug lasts about 24 hours on average. Claritin is safe to take by most people like adults and children over the age of two. This drug cannot act as a muscle relaxant, unlike Zyrtec.

Comparison Table Between Zyrtec and Claritin

Parameters of ComparisonZyrtecClaritin
Active Component This first-generation antihistamine contains the effective active ingredient cetirizine hydrochloride.This drug or antihistamine contains the active ingredient loratadine.
Sedative Effect It has a more sedative effect.This drug has a less sedative effect.
Muscle Relaxant It can work as a muscle relaxant which is a plus point of its use.This drug, unfortunately, cannot act as a muscle relaxant.
For ages It is for children over 6 and adults under 65 years.It is for adults and children not below 2 years.
Antidepressant This drug can also act as an antidepressant.This drug cannot act as an antidepressant.

What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec (cetirizine) is an antihistamine that works by reducing the adverse effects of the natural chemical called histamine. Sneezing, irritation, watery eyes, and a runny nose are all symptoms of histamine. These are the symptoms that this drug needs to treat. 

Zyrtec can also be used to help treat urticaria, which causes irritation and inflammation (hives).

This drug can act as an anticonvulsant and antidepressant which is a plus point. It can also act as a good muscle relaxant.

Zyrtec has the potential to affect your thinking and reactions. If you drive or do anything else that demands you to be aware, be cautious. Some of the cetirizine symptoms may be exacerbated if you drink alcohol.

If you’re allergic to cetirizine or levocetirizine, you shouldn’t take Zyrtec.

If you have any medical issues, see a doctor or pharmacist to see if taking cetirizine is safe for you.

If you are pregnant or nursing, see your doctor before using this medication.

Tiredness, sluggishness, drowsiness, excessive thirst, headache, constipation, cough, and vomiting are all side effects of Zyrtec.

Abnormal heart rate, palpitations, extreme faintness, or convulsions are all possible significant adverse effects. If you have any of these significant side effects, you should immediately contact your healthcare practitioner and get treatment.

What is Claritin?

Claritin is a prescription allergy drug for treating hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies. Claritin can be intaken on its own or in combination with other medicines.

Claritin can also be used to treat allergies-related postnasal drip.

This first-generation antihistamine contains the active ingredient loratadine.

This drug has a less sedative effect.

 This medicine should not be taken more frequently than prescribed. This drug should not be taken more than the recommended dosage for one’s age.

 Inactive chemicals may be included in this product, causing severe allergies or other issues.

 These drugs, on the other hand, are typically administered during allergy season. These medications may be stopped if allergy symptoms have decreased.

Headache, weariness, dry mouth, abdominal discomfort, anxiety, diarrhea, skin disease, bloody noses, and blurred vision are all common Claritin side effects.

This drug, unfortunately, cannot act as a muscle relaxant. It also does work as an antidepressant or anticonvulsant. The drug takes 3 hours to reach its full effectiveness and lasts for 24 hours.

If you have a hepatic or renal illness, you should check with your physician before taking Claritin.

The anti-allergy drug you use will finally be determined by your health and symptoms. After examining your symptoms, your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate prescription for you.

Main Differences Between Zyrtec and Claritin

  1. Zyrtec is a first-generation antihistamine containing the effective active ingredient cetirizine hydrochloride whereas, Claritin is a first-generation antihistamine containing the active ingredient loratadine.    
  2. Antihistamines from the second generation, such as Zyrtec and Claritin, are less prone to produce sedation. However, Zyrtec having a different active ingredient has a more sedative effect than Claritin. Yet consultation of a doctor before taking either is recommended.
  3. Zyrtec can work as a muscle relaxant which is a plus point of its use. On the other hand, Claritin, unfortunately, cannot act as a muscle relaxant.
  4. Zyrtec is for children over 6 and adults under 65 years, while Claritin is for adults and children over 2 years. However, the anti-allergy drug you use will finally be determined by your health and symptoms.
  5. Zyrtec can also act as an antidepressant, unlike Claritin than cannot act like one.

Conclusion

Therefore, we can see that despite both being antihistamines that are used for treating similar allergic conditions, Zyrtec and Claritin differ in many ways from each other.    

The active ingredient in Zyrtec is cetirizine hydrochloride, whereas loratadine is the active ingredient in Claritin. When compared to cetirizine, loratadine has lower sedative characteristics. Both are roughly comparable in terms of effectiveness. Cetirizine, on the other hand, may have a faster beginning of the action.

If you have a hepatic or renal illness, you should check with your physician before taking Zyrtec or Claritin. Because these medications are metabolized and expelled in the kidneys, this is the case.

Clinical researches have revealed that Zyrtec and Claritin are more helpful than a placebo pill at reducing allergy symptoms. As a result, depending on your health needs and situations, either medicine may be effective. After examining your symptoms, your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate prescription for you.

References

  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/aulr51&section=37
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0420.1999.tb01175.x
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