Zyrtec-D Vs. Claritin-D

Allergies can be a seasonal or year-round nuisance. Two popular allergy products with decongestant are Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D. Knowing more about the available over-the-counter medications will help you make a more informed decision about treating your allergies and congestion.


Zyrtec-D is a non-prescription medication indicated for short-term relief from allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, itchy throat and nose, sneezing, runny nose and itchy or watery eyes due to allergies or hay fever.

Claritin-D is a non-prescription medication that alleviates allergy and hay-fever symptoms like itching of the throat or nose, watery or itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing. It also helps to alleviate stuffy noses caused by hay fever, allergies or a cold and provides short-term relief from sinus pressure and congestion.

Dosing Instructions

Consult a doctor before giving either medication to a child younger than 12 years old.

Adults older than 65 should talk to a doctor before taking Zyrtec-D. Dosing instructions for Zyrtec-D are to take one tablet, which lasts up to 12 hours.

Dosing instructions for Claritin-D 12-hour formula are to take one tablet, which lasts up to 12 hours. Dosing instructions for the 24-hour formula are to take one tablet daily.


Neither medication should be taken if you have a history of allergic reaction to any of the ingredients or if you are currently taking an MAOI (monamine oxidase inhibitor, a medication used for treating depression) or have taken an MAOI within the past 14 days. Tell your doctor if you are suffering from any medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, prostate problems, liver disease, heart disease, glaucoma, kidney disease or thyroid disease as these conditions may require special dosing. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should contact your doctor before using either medication.

Active Ingredients

The active ingredients in Zyrtec-D are 5mg of cetirizine HCl (which is an antihistamine) and 120mg of pseudoephedrine HCl (which is a decongestant).

The active ingredients in Claritin-D 12-Hour Formula are 5mg of loratadine (an antihistamine) and 120mg of pseudoephedrine (a decongestant). The active ingredients in Claritin-D 24-Hour Formula are 10mg of loratadine and 240mg of pseudoephedrine.

A Clinical Study

In a 2006 study at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, researchers evaluated the effects of cetirizine plus pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D) and loratadine plus pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) on more than 50 patients with allergy symptoms. Both medications offered symptom relief but results indicated slightly increased relief from nasal congestion and sneezing with the cetirizine formulation (Zyrtec-D) as compared to the loratadine formulation.


Zyrtec-D may cause drowsiness. You should not take more than the recommended dosage of Zyrtec-D. Avoid alcoholic drinks and sedative or tranquilliser use as this may result in increased drowsiness. Use caution when driving or operating any machinery until you know how Zyrtec-D will affect you.

Claritin-D is a non-drowsy formula.

Immediately discontinue use of either product and call your doctor if you experience an allergic reaction, if your symptoms do not improve within a week or if you develop a fever or other symptoms like insomnia.