This is shaping up to be an especially tough year for people with allergies. With all the choices for allergy medications out there, how do you make sure you’re prepared with the best one? Here are three questions you should ask before popping that next allergy pill.
- 1. How long do my allergy symptoms last?
- 2. Will my allergy medication make me drowsy?
- 3. How much will my allergy medication cost?
- SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips
- What Is Claritin Supposed to Do?
- 5 Possible Reasons Claritin Doesn’t Work for You
- Other Treatment Options If Your Claritin Doesn’t Work
- Summary: Claritin Not Working
- Zyrtec vs Claritin: Main Differences and Similarities
- Zyrtec vs Claritin Side by Side Comparison
- Claritin -D Allergy and Congestion 24 Hour Extended Release Tablets
1. How long do my allergy symptoms last?
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is caused by environmental allergens like pollen in the air. Symptoms include itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Depending on how long these symptoms last, certain allergy medications may work better than others.
Here are the three most common kinds of medications people use:
If your allergies only appear sporadically – say when pollen count is high or you have that random encounter with your friend’s cat – fast-acting antihistamines will be your best bet. These include medications like Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratidine), Allegra (fexofenadine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine).
Antihistamines block histamine chemicals from attaching to your immune cells, which normally would trigger allergy symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes. However, antihistamines can lose their effectiveness in just three weeks of daily use, so you may have to find another solution if your symptoms last long enough.
If you experience daily or year-round allergies, you’ll want to look into nasal steroids like Nasonex (mometasone), Flonase (fluticasone propionate), Nasacort AQ (triamcinolone), or Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide). These medications can take longer to work than antihistamines, but healthcare providers consider them to be the most effective maintenance therapy for nasal allergies.
Here’s how they work: When you have allergies, a complicated series of reactions occur in your immune cells between the moment you sense an allergen and when you get that runny nose. Nasal steroids act early on in these reactions, even before histamine is made, and prevent those processes that lead to a full-blown allergic response.
These medications, which include Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and Afrin (oxymetazoline), improve breathing by relieving nasal and sinus congestion. Some medicines like Allegra-D (fexofenadine/pseudoephedrine) and Claritin-D (loratadine/pseudoephedrine) combine both decongestants and antihistamines into the same pill, so they can target congestion and other symptoms at the same time.
2. Will my allergy medication make me drowsy?
Like so many medicines, allergy medications can have side effects.
Serious side effects with nasal steroid sprays are rare because very little of these medicines are absorbed by the body. They do, however, carry the risk of nasal tissue inflammation, so regular check-ups with a doctor are important when using them for long periods of time.
Drowsiness is a common side effect of older, first-generation antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine). These medications work quickly to control allergy symptoms, but they can cross over into your brain and cause drowsiness along with other neurological symptoms like difficulty concentrating.
Brain-related side effects are less of an issue with second-generation antihistamines like Claritin (loratadine) and Allegra (fexofenadine) because they’re less likely to enter the brain. Zyrtec (cetirizine), however, is an exception — while it is a second-generation antihistamine, you can still get sleepy from taking it. Common side effects of second-generation antihistamines include dry mouth, headaches, and nausea. As a group, they may also be less effective at controlling nasal congestion compared to first-generation antihistamines.
3. How much will my allergy medication cost?
Once you’ve found an allergy medication that fits your needs, you’ll ultimately want a good price for it. All of the medications listed in this article have brand-name and generic forms. Most are also available over-the-counter. Their cost will largely depend on whether you buy them over the counter or with a prescription. And as it turns out, visiting your doctor and getting a prescription for a generic medicine can be well worth it.
Let’s take Claritin (loratadine) as an example. Claritin (30 tablets) costs about $25 retail. If you get a prescription for the generic form, loratadine, you might pay about $13 cash instead for the same amount. That’s roughly a 50% savings. Now, if you use a GoodRx coupon with your prescription, that same amount of loratadine can cost as little as $4, saving you 84% off the brand-name, over-the-counter price.
Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket! We’ll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app Get GoodRx Mobile App Your link is on the way!
We’ve sent a link to download the GoodRx mobile app to your phone.
Something went wrong
We were unable to send a link to your phone.
SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips
Are you trying to get rid of your allergy symptoms but Claritin doesn’t work for you? Claritin is one of the most popular allergy medications on the market, but for some people it just doesn’t work. Why is this?
It can be very frustrating when a drug doesn’t work the way you expect it to, so in this guide we go over the top five reasons your Claritin doesn’t work or you find Claritin not working anymore. We also go over which symptoms Claritin is supposed to treat (and which it doesn’t) as well as other methods to try to get allergy relief.
What Is Claritin Supposed to Do?
Claritin is a brand name for the drug loratadine which is an antihistamine used to treat allergies as well as hives or rashes. Antihistamines reduce the effects of histamines. Histamines are natural chemicals the body produces to help your body get rid of something that’s bothering your immune system, such as an allergen.
In order to get rid of the allergen, histamines will heighten your body’s defense system causing you to sneeze, cough, tear up, have a runny nose, and itch to help get the allergen out of your system. Sometimes histamines can go overboard and leave you a miserable, sneezing, itching mess, so many people use antihistamines like Claritin to reduce the response their body has to allergens.
Claritin is designed to reduce the following symptoms:
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Skin rash
- Runny nose
Claritin uses a formula that avoids the drowsiness many antihistamines produce so you can get allergy relief without feeling tired or foggy.
5 Possible Reasons Claritin Doesn’t Work for You
Claritin can be a great drug for allergy sufferers, but for some people it doesn’t work or the Claritin stopped working. Why does this happen? Below are the five reasons Claritin doesn’t work for you or doesn’t work the way you expect it to.
#1: You Didn’t Start Taking Claritin Soon Enough
In order for Claritin to be most effective, you should aim to start taking it one to two weeks before allergens or other histamine triggers are in the air. Doing this helps your body begin to build up resistance so it’s prepared by the time the allergens arrive.
If you only start taking Claritin once you have allergy symptoms, you may not get immediate relief, but the good news is it’ll begin working after several days or up to two weeks after you begin using it.
#2: You Aren’t Consistent With Your Medication
Claritin is meant to be taken once a day, every day during allergy season(s) in order to provide long-term relief from allergy symptoms. If you don’t take a Claritin pill every day, you could wind up suffering from allergy symptoms even on days you do take Claritin since the drug doesn’t start working immediately.
Take one Claritin every day for it to be the most effective, but don’t take more than one pill a day, even if you missed a pill the day before. Taking multiple pills a day increases your risk of serious side effects.
Remember to Claritin every day for it to be most effective.
#3: You Expected Claritin to Be a Decongestant
You might also be expecting Claritin to solve a problem it isn’t meant to solve. Although congestion can be a common symptom for allergy sufferers, it isn’t one of the symptoms that Claritin is supposed to stop. So if you’re suffering from congestion, you’ll need to use another drug other than Claritin, or you’ll need to try Claritin-D, a version of the drug that also helps with congestion.
#4: Different Antihistamines May Work Better for You
There are multiple kinds of antihistamines, and different antihistamine drugs have different combinations of them. It may be that the active antihistamine in Claritin, loratadine, isn’t the kind that’s most effective for you. This could cause Claritin to not work well when you take it. In the next section we go over other antihistamine drugs, some of which may work better for you than Claritin since they have different active ingredients.
#5: You May Have Built Up a Tolerance
If you’ve been using Claritin for multiple years and it worked in the past but the Claritin has stopped working, your body may have built up a tolerance to it. Building up a tolerance can happen for any drug you take. What happens is your body gets used to the drug after you take it over an extended period of time and stops having a response to the drug. This causes the drug to not work well or at all.
If this happens, it may help to increase your dose or switch to a stronger antihistamine, but you shouldn’t do this without speaking with your doctor. Increasing your dose on your own can lead to serious side effects.
Other Treatment Options If Your Claritin Doesn’t Work
If Claritin doesn’t work for you, there are other options out there you can try to get allergy relief. Below are four categories of other treatment that may work better for you than Claritin.
Other Non-Drowsy Antihistamines
Claritin in one of three major non-drowsy antihistamine drugs. The other two Zyrtec and Allegra. Zyrtec’s active ingredient is cetirizine, while Allegra’s is fexofenadine. These are both different antihistamines than loratadine, the one Claritin contains, so if you find Claritin not working for you, switching to a different non-drowsy antihistamine drug may help you get relief. Non-drowsy antihistamines are very popular since they allow people to get relief from their allergy symptoms without feeling drowsy or tired during the day.
Antihistamines That May Make You Drowsy
If you’ve tried all three of the non-drowsy antihistamines and still are suffering from allergy symptoms, you may want to try other histamines that aren’t specifically anti-drowsy. The most common of these is Benadryl (active ingredient diphenhydramine), as well as Tavist (clemastine) and Dimetane (brompheniramine).
Some people taking these drugs feel they work better than non-drowsy antihistamines, but taking them can cause you to feel tired for much of the day. For some people, this can affect their school or job performance as well as prevent them from doing regular activities, like driving, because the medication makes it difficult for them to stay alert and focused. It may help you to take this drug at night, before you go to bed, to reduce some of the drowsiness these drugs cause.
Allergies can cause the lining of your nasal passages to swell, which can make you feel like your nose is stuffed and make it more difficult to breathe. Decongestants shrink the swollen blood vessels and tissues in the nasal passages so you aren’t congested anymore. If you’re suffering from nasal/sinus congestion, you may want to try a decongestant either in place of or in addition to Claritin.
Decongestants can come in pills, nose drops, nasal sprays, and liquids. Some common decongestant brands are Sudafed, Vicks Sinus, and Afrin. Decongestants don’t relieve other allergy symptoms like watery eyes, itching, and a runny nose, so if you’re suffering from any of those as well, you’ll likely need to use both antihistamines and decongestants to get relief.
The three non-drowsy antihistamines mentioned above also come in versions that include a decongestant. You can tell if your antihistamine includes a decongestant if it has the letter “D” after its name (Claritin-D, Allegra-D, etc.).
You don’t always need to pop a pill in order to get allergy relief; there are actually multiple natural remedies that help many people with allergies. One of the most effective and popular is a neti pot. A neti pot helps clear mucus and debris from your nasal cavity. To use a neti pot, first fill it with either a purchased saltwater solution or purified water. Stand over a sink and tilt your head sideways. Place the spout of the neti pot in your nostril that’s currently pointed up. Carefully pour the water into your nostril so the water drains through your lower nostril. When it’s done draining, repeat on your other side.
Drinking two cups of green tea a day can also help relieve your allergy symptoms, especially if you start at least two weeks before allergy season. Green tea contains natural antihistamines to help fight allergy symptoms. Another effective natural remedy is an herb called butterbur. Some studies have shown butterbur to be as effective at fighting allergy symptoms as many over-the-counter allergy meds. If not properly processed though, butterbur can contain harmful chemicals known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), so you should always check any butterbur supplement you plan on taking with your doctor. Your butterbur supplement should also always be labeled “PA free.”
Summary: Claritin Not Working
Claritin is a common antihistamine drug designed to reduce allergy symptoms without causing drowsiness. But what should you do if your Claritin stopped working effectively or Claritin doesn’t work for you?
There can be several reasons for Claritin not working:
- You didn’t start taking Claritin soon enough
- You don’t take Claritin every day
- You’re expecting Claritin to be a decongestant
- The antihistamine Claritin contains (loratadine) doesn’t work for you as well as other antihistamines would
- You’ve built up a tolerance to Claritin, and now it doesn’t work as well
If your Claritin stopped working, there are other drugs you can try to get relief from your allergy symptoms including other non-drowsy antihistamines, antihistamines in general, and decongestants.
Zyrtec vs Claritin: Main Differences and Similarities
Zyrtec and Claritin are effective medications used to relieve allergy symptoms. They are both grouped into a class of medications called antihistamines that work by blocking the action of histamine, a natural allergy-causing substance that is released during exposure to an allergen. When histamine is inhibited, it is unable to bind to certain H1 receptors to provoke typical symptoms of an allergic reaction such as redness, swelling, and itching.
Antihistamines are further classified into one of three generations based on their properties and side effects. Both Zyrtec and Claritin are identified as second-generation antihistamines although they have different chemical features.
Zyrtec, also known by its chemical or generic name, cetirizine, comes in dosage forms of 5 or 10 mg oral tablets, 10 mg capsules, and 5 mg/5mL oral solutions. It is rapidly absorbed with peak concentrations in the body at approximately 1 hour after oral administration. The average half-life of Zyrtec is 8.3 hours when it is then excreted unchanged in the urine and feces. One major aspect to note is the risk of increased somnolence requiring caution if an individual is performing hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinery.
Claritin, also known by its chemical or generic name, loratadine, comes in dosage forms of 10 mg oral tables and 5 mg/5 mL oral solution. It is rapidly absorbed and metabolized in the liver to its active metabolite, descarboethoxyloratadine. Therefore, people with liver impairment should be cautioned if they are starting Claritin. Claritin may also exhibit clinically significant interactions with drugs that inhibit or induce enzymes in the liver. This may result in increased side effects if Claritin accumulates in the body.
Zyrtec vs Claritin Side by Side Comparison
While Zyrtec and Claritin share similar characteristics, they both have differences that identify each drug as unique. These differences can be examined more closely in the table below:
Zyrtec Claritin Prescribed For
- Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis
- Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
- Chronic Urticaria
- Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis
- Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
- Chronic Urticaria
- Johnson & Johnson
- Bayer Healthcare
Common Side Effects
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Flu-like symptoms
Is there a generic?
- Cetirizine Hcl
Is it covered by insurance?
- Varies according to your provider
- Varies according to your provider
- Oral tablet
- Oral chewable tablet
- Oral capsule
- Oral solution
- Oral tablet
- Oral disintegrating tablet
- Oral solution
Average Cash Price
- $22 (per 30 tablets)
- $25 (per 30 tablets)
- Zyrtec Discount
- Claritin Discount
- CNS depressants (alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers)
- MAO inhibitors
- Macrolide antibiotics
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
- Zyrtec is in Pregnancy Category B. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy. Zyrtec is not recommended if you are breastfeeding.
- Claritin is in Pregnancy Category B. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy. Claritin is not recommended if you are breastfeeding.
Both Zyrtec and Claritin are popular antihistamine medications that are available over-the-counter. They both have similar dosage formulations available and are effective for once daily use. However, although they share similar characteristics, each drug is metabolized slightly different. Whereas Claritin may be affected by liver impairment, Zyrtec does not depend on liver metabolism to produce its intended effects. On the other hand, Zyrtec has a labeled warning of increased drowsiness associated with it. Claritin may also exhibit symptoms of drowsiness albeit at a lesser degree.
The information shared is designed to offer a comparison between two second generation antihistamines. It is always important to discuss your treatment options for your condition with a physician. Because specific conditions and lifestyles may be affected by taking either of these medications, it is recommended to review any possible adverse effects with your healthcare provider.
Claritin -D Allergy and Congestion 24 Hour Extended Release Tablets
Other Information: Each Tablet Contains: calcium 25 mg. Safety Sealed: Do not use if the individual blister unit imprinted with Claritin-D 24 hour is open or torn. Store between 68 to 77 degrees F (20 to 25 degrees C). Protect from light and store in a dry place. Misc: Pseudoephedrine sulfate 240 mg / nasal decongestant. Loratadine 10 mg / antihistamine. Non-drowsy (When taken as directed. See Drug Facts panel). Relief of: Nasal and sinus congestion due to colds or allergies; sneezing; runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; itchy throat or nose due to allergies. 10 days of relief. A subsidiary of Merck and Co., Inc. Recyclable carton. Uses: Temporarily relieves these symptoms due to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies: sneezing; runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; itching of the nose or throat. Temporarily relieves nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies. Reduces swelling of nasal passages. Temporarily relieves sinus congestion and pressure. Temporarily restores freer breathing through the nose.
Directions: Do not divide, crush, chew or dissolve the tablet. Adults and Children 12 Years and Over: 1 tablet daily with a full glass of water; not more than 1 tablet in 24 hours. Children Under 12 Years of Age: Ask a doctor. Consumers with Liver or Kidney Disease: Ask a doctor.
Ingredients Active Ingredients: In Each Tablet: Loratadine (10 mg), Pseudoephedrine Sulfate (240 mg). Purpose: Antihistamine, Nasal Decongestant. Inactive Ingredients: Carnauba Wax, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate Dihydrate, Ethylcellulose, Hydroxypropyl Cellulose, Hypromellose, Magnesium Stearate, Pharmaceutical Ink, Polyethylene Glycol, Povidone, Silicon Dioxide, Sucrose, Titanium Dioxide.