Cetirizine Hydrochloride or Loratadine

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allergy medication

Cetirizine hydrochloride and loratadine are active ingredients used in antihistamines, such as Zyrtec and Claritin, to treat symptoms related to allergies such as sneezing, itchy and swelling. Both ingredients can be found in various forms including pills, chewable tablets, and syrups. These medications can be bought over the counter to treat your symptoms. Cetirizine hydrochloride and loratadine are very similar but they may affect patients in different ways. It’s important to compare both ingredients to determine which type of medication will work best for your symptoms.

Characteristics Of Cetirizine Hydrochloride

Cetirizine hydrochloride is found in some second-generation antihistamines, such as Zyrtec. Second-generation antihistamines are newer than first-generation medications and are associated with fewer nervous system effects. Cetirizine hydrochloride is effective in treating hay fever. Our allergists often recommend medications with this active ingredient when symptoms include itching.

Some individuals reported that medications with cetirizine hydrochloride work faster than those containing loratadine. Many people responded to medications with the ingredient, cetirizine hydrochloride, within an hour while responding to loratadine in 1-3 hours. However, a 2014 research study found that both ingredients were absorbed into the bloodstream within 1–2 hours of taking the medication. So how fast the medication works depends on the individual.

While cetirizine hydrochloride is effective in treating your allergy symptoms, there are some downsides to the ingredient. For example, medications containing cetirizine hydrochloride are more likely to cause drowsiness than ones with loratadine. Doctors don’t recommend taking these medications before driving or operating machinery. It has also been indicated in a study of the treatment of allergic rhinitis, that more patients will experience dry mouth after taking medications with cetirizine hydrochloride.

Characteristics of Loratadine

Loratadine is also found in second-generation antihistamines. It is effective in treating upper respiratory allergies while causing less drowsiness. Claritin is a common medication containing loratadine. Many individuals report Claritin as being useful as a decongestant.

While patients have reported that cetirizine hydrochloride works faster, loratadine lasts longer. Products with the ingredients state to be effective for 24 hours, but many people claim that cetirizine hydrochloride’s effects expire before then. For long-lasting relief, medications with loratadine may be the better option.  

However,  Loratadine is likely to interact with other drugs causing more risks for side effects. Drugs containing loratadine are also not safe for people with severe liver conditions.

Which Active Ingredient Is Right For Me?

Cetirizine hydrochloride and loratadine products are effective in treating allergies; however, there are advantages and disadvantages to both active ingredients. As with any medication, you might experience side effects. It’s important to discuss taking new medication with your doctor and disclose any medical conditions you may have. Our NYC allergists will determine which product will best treat your allergies.

Meet The Physician Collaborator

Dr. Bruce Dobozin specializes in Allergy and Immunology with a sub-specialty in asthma and allergic conditions. He has been in practice for more than 20 years. He is dual certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Allergy & Immunology. To book an appointment with Dr. Dobozin, call (212) 686-4448 or stop by one of our six locations.