Claritin vs Claritin D

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For individuals dealing with allergies, certain drugs that block the release of compounds in the body linked to allergic reactions, known as histamines, can help manage symptoms. Claritin and Claritin D are two such drugs typically prescribed for allergy relief. They both impact histamine receptors but have different effects on patients due to their distinct compositions.

Claritin is a long-acting antihistamine that works by blocking the action of histamine which produces allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. On the other hand, Claritin D combines this antihistamine effect with pseudoephedrine sulfate—an effective nasal decongestant—to provide additional relief from sinus pressure and congestion. The key difference lies in its dual-action formula designed to address a broader range of allergy symptoms.

What is Claritin?

Loratadine (the generic name for Claritin) is a second-generation antihistamine that was first approved by the FDA in 1993. It's primarily used to treat symptoms of allergies such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. Loratadine works by blocking histamine, a substance in your body that causes allergic symptoms.

Claritin-D, on the other hand, combines loratadine with pseudoephedrine - a nasal decongestant. This additional ingredient makes Claritin-D effective at relieving congestion in your nose and sinuses often associated with colds or allergies. However, due to its stimulant properties from pseudoephedrine component, Claritin-D can potentially cause effects like restlessness and insomnia which are not commonly associated with regular Claritin.

In summary: while both medications help manage allergy symptoms quite effectively; if you're also suffering from congestion related issues then choosing Claritin-D would be more beneficial. Yet remember this might come with some potential sleep disturbances due to the added decongestant.

What conditions is Claritin approved to treat?

Claritin and Claritin D are both approved for the treatment of different types of allergies:

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever
  • Chronic idiopathic urticaria, commonly known as hives.

Additionally, Claritin D is also used to relieve nasal congestion due to the common cold or allergies. This is because it contains pseudoephedrine - a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages.

How does Claritin help with these illnesses?

Claritin helps to manage allergies by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms. It does this by inhibiting the binding of histamine to its receptors, so the levels of histamine can be lowered for longer periods of time. Histamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger in the body, playing an important role in immune responses, inflammation, and even gastric acid secretion. In individuals with allergies, exposure to certain allergens triggers an overproduction of histamine, leading to symptoms like sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. Therefore, by blocking histamine, Claritin can limit the negative effects of allergies and help patients manage their condition. Claritin D, on the other hand, contains an additional active ingredient, pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant that helps reduce nasal congestion symptoms often associated with allergies. It achieves this by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages, facilitating easier breathing.

What is Claritin D?

Claritin-D is an enhanced version of the antihistamine drug Claritin, with the added component of pseudoephedrine. This ingredient acts as a decongestant, meaning it helps to alleviate congestion in the nasal passages and sinuses. Pseudoephedrine works by narrowing blood vessels in your nose, which relieves swelling and makes it easier to breathe.

It was first made available over-the-counter in 2002. Unlike Claritin alone, which primarily treats allergies by blocking histamines that cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose; Claritin-D also addresses sinus pressure and nasal congestion due to its pseudoephedrine content.

The addition of pseudoephedrine changes the potential side-effects profile slightly - common ones include restlessness or feeling nervous or excited. However, for those suffering from both allergies and congestion issues such as those associated with sinusitis or the common cold; Claritin-D can be highly beneficial.

What conditions is Claritin D approved to treat?

Claritin-D is a combination drug that includes both an antihistamine (Loratadine) and a nasal decongestant (Pseudoephedrine). It's approved for the treatment of:

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever
  • Nasal congestion associated with sinusitis or common colds This makes Claritin-D particularly effective in treating symptoms where congestion is more prominent.

How does Claritin D help with these illnesses?

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant, known for its role in relieving nasal congestion in the body, which is often a symptom in cases of colds or allergies. Claritin D combines the antihistamine effects of loratadine, the active ingredient in Claritin, with the decongestant power of pseudoephedrine. It works by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages. This in turn reduces swelling and congestion. Its action on histamine receptors helps in alleviating allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. Thus, Claritin D is commonly prescribed when a patient is dealing with both allergies and nasal congestion. In contrast, Claritin is primarily used only for alleviating allergy symptoms and does not have the decongestant effect of pseudoephedrine.

How effective are both Claritin and Claritin D?

Both loratadine (Claritin) and loratadine with pseudoephedrine (Claritin D) have proven efficacy in managing allergy symptoms, and were approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. They both act on histamine receptors but may be prescribed under different circumstances due to the added decongestant component in Claritin D. The effectiveness of loratadine and its combination with pseudoephedrine was directly studied in several clinical trials that showed both drugs provide effective relief for allergy symptoms with promising safety profiles.

Several meta-analyses report that Loratadine is an effective treatment for relieving symptoms related to allergic rhinitis starting from the first dose, has a favorable side effect profile over many other antihistamines, and is well-tolerated even in elderly populations. As one of the most widely-prescribed over-the-counter antihistamines worldwide, there's significant research supporting its effectiveness as standalone therapy.

On another hand, studies show that adding pseudoephedrine to loratadine further improves nasal congestion compared to using only loratidine alone. Nonetheless, Claritin-D is typically considered when patients do not respond adequately to non-decongestant treatments or if they are experiencing severe nasal congestion along with their allergies. While data confirming its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment is robust like it's counterpart Claritin; it does come with potential side effects such as insomnia or elevated blood pressure due to its decongestant component - Pseudoephedrine.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Claritin typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Claritin, a non-drowsy antihistamine, range from 10 mg/day for adults and children over six years old. Children between two to five years may be given 5 mg/day. For Claritin D, which contains an additional decongestant, the dosage is also one tablet (Claritin-D 12 hour) every 12 hours or one tablet (Claritin-D 24 hour) once daily for adults and children over twelve years old. It is not recommended for children under twelve years old without doctor's advice. In either population taking either drug, dosage should not exceed the recommended maximum and prolonged use should only be with the guidance of a health professional.

At what dose is Claritin D typically prescribed?

Claritin D treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of one tablet (containing 240 mg pseudoephedrine sulfate and 10 mg loratadine) every 24 hours. Unlike regular Claritin, which only contains the antihistamine Loratadine, Claritin D also includes a nasal decongestant. The inclusion of a decongestant allows it to provide relief from sinus pressure and congestion as well as allergy symptoms. It's important to remember that due to its decongestant component, individuals with certain health conditions like high blood pressure should consult their healthcare provider before beginning treatment with Claritin-D. Maximum dosage is one tablet per day and if there are no noticeable improvements in symptoms after several days of use, you should consult your doctor.

What are the most common side effects for Claritin?

Common side effects of Claritin include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Somnolence (sleepiness/drowsiness)
  • Nervousness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain

Claritin-D, on the other hand, contains an additional component pseudoephedrine which can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Anxiety or restlessness.

Both medications are usually well tolerated but if you experience any severe side effects with either medication, seek medical assistance immediately.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Claritin?

While both Claritin and Claritin-D are used to alleviate allergy symptoms, there are some differences in their potential side effects due to the presence of pseudoephedrine in Claritin-D. The following serious side effects may occur:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction or severe skin reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Chest pain or pressure, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat—more common with Claritin-D due to its decongestant properties
  • Feeling short of breath (especially when lying down), swollen ankles/feet, unusual tiredness.
  • Mental/mood changes such as confusion, hallucinations
  • Difficulty urinating – this can be a sign of prostate problems
  • Easy bruising/bleeding

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking either medication, it's important that you seek medical attention immediately. These drugs do not typically cause low sodium levels in the body nor do they induce serotonin syndrome as antidepressants might. Always remember to discuss any concerns about your medications' possible side effects with your healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Claritin D?

Claritin D, a combination of loratadine and pseudoephedrine, comes with its own set of potential side effects:

  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Dizziness, headache
  • Increased heartbeat/ palpitations
  • Nausea, loss of appetite
  • Sweating -Rash

Remember that the added decongestant in Claritin D can cause these additional symptoms compared to regular Claritin. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Claritin D?

Claritin D, while effective for relieving symptoms of allergies and nasal congestion, can have adverse effects in some instances. It's crucial to be aware of these potential side effects:

  • Signs of allergic reaction or severe skin reaction: such as hives, itching, facial swelling including lips or tongue, difficulty breathing
  • Elevated blood pressure: it may cause a significant rise in your blood pressure due to the decongestant component (pseudoephedrine)
  • Anxiety or restlessness: Claritin D can lead to feelings of nervousness or excitability due to its stimulant properties
  • Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping is another common side effect as a result of pseudoephedrine contained within Claritin D
  • Blurred vision: Some people might experience visual disturbances upon using this medication
  • Irregular heartbeats; rapid pounding heartbeat can occur with pseudoephedrine use
  • Urinary retention especially with men who have prostate issues

If you encounter any of these signs after taking Claritin D, seek immediate medical attention.

Contraindications for Claritin and Claritin D?

Both Claritin and Claritin-D, like all antihistamine medications, can cause side effects in some people. If you notice an increase in symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives or skin rash after taking these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Claritin nor Claritin-D should be taken if you are using or have recently used a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI). Always inform your physician about any medication you are currently taking; MAOIs will require a period of about two weeks to clear from the system to prevent dangerous interactions with Claritin or Claritin-D.

Additionally, it's pertinent to note that while both drugs help reduce allergy symptoms, they differ slightly in composition and effect. Both contain loratadine which is effective in managing allergies but only Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine which helps relieve nasal congestion. However, this additional ingredient can also lead to potential side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. As always consult your physician before choosing between them.

How much do Claritin and Claritin D cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 tablets of Claritin (10 mg) averages around $35, which works out to approximately $0.58/day.
  • The price of 30 tablets of Claritin-D (12 hour), containing loratadine and pseudoephedrine sulfate is about $25, working out to roughly $0.83/day.

Thus, if you require relief from nasal congestion in addition to allergy symptoms (which is what the added 'D' stands for - decongestant), then brand-name Claritin D can be slightly more costly on a per-day treatment basis. However, cost should not be your primary consideration when determining which drug suits your needs best.

As with most medications, generic versions are available at much lower costs:

  • Generic Loratadine (10mg tablets) can be found in packs ranging from 30 up to several hundred tablets with approximate costs starting as low as $0.03 per day depending on pack size.
  • Similarly, generic Loratadine-D is also available although prices may vary significantly based on location and quantity purchased; typically though they fall well below that of their branded counterparts.

Popularity of Claritin and Claritin D

Claritin and Claritin D, both of which contain the antihistamine loratadine, are commonly used to alleviate symptoms of allergies. The primary difference between these two medications is that Claritin D also includes a decongestant called pseudoephedrine.

In 2020 in the United States, it was estimated that around 25 million people were prescribed with loratadine products such as Claritin. This accounted for just over 20% of all antihistamine prescriptions across the country. Its prevalence has been generally steady over the last decade.

On the other hand, preparations including pseudoephedrine like Claritin D had fewer prescriptions - at about 10 million people in 2020. In terms of overall decongestant usage, this accounts for just under 15%. Over recent years there's been a slight decrease in prescription rates likely due to regulations aimed at reducing illicit use of pseudoephedrine.


Both Claritin (loratadine) and Claritin D (loratadine with pseudoephedrine) have a long-standing record of usage in patients suffering from allergies, backed by numerous clinical studies indicating their efficacy over placebo treatments. In some cases, the drugs may be combined but this is subject to careful consideration by a physician as they can also interact with each other. Due to their different mechanisms of action - with loratadine acting primarily on histamine receptors and pseudoephedrine targeting nasal congestion - they tend to be prescribed under different circumstances.

Claritin is often considered as a first-line treatment option for allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, whereas Claritin D would usually be considered when there's additional need for decongestion or in patients who didn't respond well to regular antihistamines.

Both versions are available in generic form which represents significant cost savings especially for those paying out of pocket. Both medications should start providing relief soon after intake but sometimes it might take 1-3 hours before noticeable effects kick in.

The side effect profile is similar between the two drugs; both being generally well-tolerated. However, due to the presence of pseudoephedrine in Claritin D, it may cause insomnia or restlessness more than standard Claritin. For both drugs, consumers must monitor any adverse reactions and if severe effects like rapid heartbeat or dizziness occur then immediate medical help should be sought.