Buffalonians know that the pollen count in Western New York is particularly high. When your symptoms are particularly bad, you can use over-the-counter antihistamines to keep the sniffles in check. Today, we’re going to review Zyrtec and Claritin–both non-prescription allergy medicine—to see how they compare, once and for all.

Will This Allergy Medicine Make Me Tired?

Both Zyrtec and Claritin are known as second-generation antihistamines, which means that they are less likely to cross the barrier between the blood and your brain. So, they don’t usually affect your nervous system as severely.

That being said, most patients find that Zyrtec is far more likely to induce drowsiness than Claritin is. So, if you plan to take antihistamines to help you sleep, then consider Zyrtec. Claritin can help clear your sinuses during the day without affecting your concentration.

How Quickly Will the Allergy Medicine Take Effect?

Whether you’re taking Claritin or Zyrtec, you only need to take one pill because the effects should last for a full 24 hours.

Both of them absorb quickly. However, many patients report that Zyrtec will absorb in as quickly as one hour while it often takes Claritin two to three hours to really take effect.

Which Allergy Medicine Has Fewer Side Effects?

Allergy medicine, like all medicine, comes with a few potential negative side effects. With both Zyrtec and Claritin, you might experience headache, dizziness, sore throat, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and eye redness.

That all being said, both of them are considered very safe and effective for anyone in Buffalo, NY struggling with environmental allergies. Claritin does, though, tend to interact with other drugs. Because Claritin is broken down in the liver, the enzymes that help to digest it are sometimes blocked by other medications and build up inside the organ, which can worsen side effects.

Make sure to speak to your physician about taking antihistamines if you’re already on other medications. Alternatively, you might want to consider immunology or natural solutions to allergy symptoms if you find that allergy medicine isn’t right for you.

Allergy Medicine: The Final Verdict

Both Claritin and Zyrtec will clear your symptoms and help you breathe more easily during allergy season. There are slight differences between them that you should consider when choosing one over the other, but for all intents and purposes, the differences are marginal.

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