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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra?

There are so many choices out there for allergies. And since allergies can trigger an asthma attack, it's something our family likes to try to control.

I was reading the summer issue of Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, and found some interesting information under the 'comments to the editor' section about allergy medicine. Dr. Martha White wrote a column in the Spring issue where she said that Zyrtec was non sedating (it's not supposed to make you tired). However, another doctor - Dr. William Howland - wrote a comment to the editor saying that the Zyrtec label says some people may be so drowsy that they shouldn't be drive their car. Many people can probably take Zyrtec without feeling really tired. It doesn't seem to bother The Teenagers. But it makes me so tired that I can't get out of bed.

I'll include a photo of Dr.Martha White's comments (since I can't find that section of the magazine online.)


She lists the sedation rate of Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. (Sedation is what makes you REALLY tired! You know - the kind of tired where you just want to curl up on the couch and take a nap......)

From reading her comment, it looks like Claritin has a sedation rate of 8%, Allergra is 1.3%, and Zyrtec is 13.7%. Since everyone is different, you have to see what works for you. Asthma Doc has The Teenagers take their medicine at night, so they will sleep through the drowsy side effects. That seems to do the trick for them.

But talk to your doctor and see what works best for you. You can buy small bottles of different allergy medicines and see which one you like. Just don't drive if it makes you sleepy!! 

And stock up on boxes of tissues!!! 


  1. Have you heard of xyzal? It's the enatiomer of Zyrtec. Like xopenex is to albuterol or Claritin and clarinex. It's relatively new so most insurances wont cover it. But less people report drowsiness on xyzal. I personally take clarinex. Claritin didn't make me drowsy, but it just didn't work on me.

    1. It sounds familiar. It seems like we are always trying out a new medicine :(

      I hope you are doing well! :)

  2. When I was a child, there were in my country only Zyrtec and it was only for prescription. Nobody thought about sedation and other side effects. I took it, because it was the only antihistamine in the 1990's.
    I remember, when I was 12, I felt asleep during family lunch. And it was sign, that something doesn't work well.
    At the beginning of 2000's we had 2nd generation of antihistamines. Today I take Claritine (in Polish generic version), but I think, that it is too weak for me, because I don't see any difference for me if I take it, or not.
    Greetings from sunny Cracow :)

    1. It's such a pain to try to find a medicine that works. It seems like Zyrtec wasn't working for my daughter.

      We are trying Benadryl at night and Allegra in the morning. It seems like she isn't sneezing nearly as much as she used to!

      But I know that what works for us may not work for someone else.

  3. I am a pharmacy student that is doing an internship at Pill Pack pharmacy. I am very interested in your feedback regarding asthma medications. How can a pharmacy better serve their patients with asthma? I would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have.

    1. Nicholas, it would help if you talked about how to use each medicine. (Such as breathing in quickly with Advair discus, but slowly with your rescue inhaler.)

      Also, to really stress that maintenance medications can cause thrush so it's important to rinse your mouth out using it. (I also eat breakfast and then brush my teeth......just to make sure all of it is out of my mouth.)

      I've had thrush twice over the years, it's easy to get a little lazy when using asthma medicines.

      It also helps when my pharmacy lets me know there are coupons I can print out for my inhalers. Or that there is a generic version (they didn't say anything when the generic Singulair was released....I happen to see a news article)

      Also let them know about co-pay assistance. We use Needymeds

      They have a section on their website for generic and brand name medications. You click on the medicine that you need, and it will either have a coupon you can print out, or a foundation that can help with co-pay assistance.

      Also, to warn parents whose children need a steroid burst. It can really affect some kids who can have angry outburst, be really agitated, increase their appetite, etc. My kids would go a little crazy each time they had to have prednisone. I always warn other parents now that their kids might act like a little devil - but it's only temporary!