Claritin vs Flonase

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For patients suffering from seasonal allergies or chronic rhinitis, certain drugs that inhibit the action of histamines or other inflammatory substances can help in managing symptoms and providing relief. Claritin and Flonase are two such medications often prescribed for these conditions. They each target different aspects of the allergic response, but both have symptom-relieving effects in patients with nasal allergies. Claritin is an antihistamine, specifically a long-acting tricyclic antihistamine, which works by blocking histamines to reduce allergy symptoms like sneezing and itching. On the other hand, Flonase is classified as a corticosteroid which works by reducing inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages.

What is Claritin?

Loratadine (the generic name for Claritin) is an oral antihistamine that was first approved by the FDA in 1993. It acts by blocking histamines, natural substances your body produces during an allergic reaction, thus relieving symptoms such as sneezing, itching and runny nose. On the other hand, Fluticasone propionate (the generic name for Flonase) is a nasal corticosteroid spray which got its approval from the FDA in 1994. It works directly on swollen nasal tissues to decrease inflammation and relieve congestion, itching and runny nose associated with allergies.

Claritin has a selective influence on peripheral histamine receptors with minimal central nervous system penetration which results in it having fewer side effects such as drowsiness compared to older antihistamines like Benadryl. Flonase similarly targets inflammation at a cellular level within nasal passages but may have local side effects such as dryness or burning sensation due to its delivery method.

What conditions is Claritin approved to treat?

Claritin and Flonase are both approved for the treatment of different allergy symptoms:

  • Claritin is an antihistamine that treats sneezing, runny or itchy nose, watery or itchy eyes, and itching of the throat.
  • Flonase is a nasal spray containing a corticosteroid. It's used to control symptoms associated with allergic and non-allergic rhinitis such as congestion, sneezing, runny nose and pruritus.

How does Claritin help with these illnesses?

Claritin manages allergy symptoms by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that initiates allergic reactions. It does this by preventing it from binding to its receptors, so its effects can be minimized for longer periods of time. Histamine is an organic nitrogenous compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter for the brain, spinal cord, and uterus. In allergic reactions, histamine triggers inflammation and other symptoms like sneezing, itching or runny nose. Therefore, by decreasing histamine activity, Claritin can limit the negative effects of allergies and help patients manage their condition.

Flonase on the other hand works differently; it's a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation caused by allergens rather than inhibiting histamines directly. Flonase helps reduce swelling within nasal passages which may lead to fewer allergy symptoms such as congestion or runny nose compared to antihistamines like Claritin alone.

What is Flonase?

Flonase is a brand name for fluticasone, a corticosteroid that helps to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. It does this by preventing certain cells in the body from releasing substances that can trigger an allergic response. Fluticasone was first approved by the FDA in 1994 and comes as a spray intended for use in the nose.

Unlike Claritin (loratadine), which is an antihistamine, Flonase works primarily to decrease inflammation and swelling rather than blocking histamines directly. This action on inflammation makes it particularly useful for alleviating symptoms of allergies like sneezing, itching or runny nose when they are caused by inflammation.

Its side-effect profile is also different from that of antihistamines such as Claritin; while drowsiness may be experienced with loratadine, common side effects with Flonase include dryness or stinging inside the nose and sneezing.

The anti-inflammatory properties of fluticasone make it especially suitable for treating moderate to severe allergy symptoms and those who do not respond well to typical over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin.

What conditions is Flonase approved to treat?

Flonase is a corticosteroid nasal spray that is recognized and approved by regulatory bodies for the treatment of:

  • Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever)
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis (year-round allergies) This approval indicates its effectiveness in managing symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and congestion.

How does Flonase help with these illnesses?

Fluticasone propionate, the active ingredient in Flonase, is a corticosteroid that works by controlling the rate of protein synthesis, depressing the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and fibroblasts, reversing capillary permeability and lysosomal stabilization at the cellular level to prevent or control inflammation. This makes it incredibly effective for relieving nasal congestion and other symptoms associated with allergies. Unlike Claritin which primarily targets histamine production to alleviate allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching and runny nose, Flonase acts directly on inflammation making it beneficial for more severe allergic reactions involving significant nasal congestion. It's often prescribed when over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin fail to fully manage allergy symptoms.

How effective are both Claritin and Flonase?

Loratadine (Claritin) and fluticasone propionate (Flonase) are both well-established treatments for allergic rhinitis, but they act on different aspects of the immune response. Loratadine, an antihistamine, was approved by the FDA in 1993; it helps to reduce symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose by blocking histamines in the body. Fluticasone propionate is a corticosteroid nasal spray that was introduced one year later in 1994; it works by reducing inflammation in the nasal passages.

The effectiveness of loratadine and fluticasone propionate have been compared directly through several clinical trials. In general, both medications demonstrate similar efficacy in relieving symptoms of allergic rhinitis like itching or watering eyes. However, some studies suggest that fluticasone may be more effective at managing congestion.

A review from 2002 found that loratadine effectively alleviates allergy symptoms within hours after administration and has a relatively benign side effect profile as compared to other over-the-counter antihistamines – most notably it does not cause drowsiness. Its long half-life allows for once-daily dosing which is convenient for patients.

A meta-analysis conducted in 2015 concluded that intranasal steroids like fluticasone can be more effective than antihistamines when treating chronic conditions like perennial nonallergic rhinitis due to their anti-inflammatory properties - although this conclusion would apply only if inflammation were present alongside histamine-driven symptoms. Still, due to its safety profile and immediate relief upon use without systemic effects related with oral corticosteroids use makes Flonase a first-line therapy option for many physicians when dealing with moderate-to-severe persistent allergic rhinitis cases where local inflammation is prominently involved.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Claritin typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Claritin typically range from 10 mg/day for adults and children over six years old, while children aged two to five are usually given a dosage of 5 mg/day. Studies have shown this is sufficient for treating common allergy symptoms in most people. With Flonase, the standard dosage for adults and children above four years old is two sprays per nostril once daily initially which can be reduced to one spray per nostril every day after control has been achieved. In both cases, it's important not to exceed the recommended dose without consulting your healthcare provider.

At what dose is Flonase typically prescribed?

Flonase treatment typically begins with a dosage of two sprays (50 mcg/spray) in each nostril once daily. If symptoms are not adequately controlled, the dose can be increased to two sprays in each nostril twice daily. The maximum recommended dose is 200 mcg per day - divided into four doses of 50 mcg and spaced out evenly throughout the day. A decrease in symptom severity may occur if there's no response to treatment at 100 mcg/day after a few weeks, prompting an increase to the maximum dosage.

What are the most common side effects for Claritin?

Common side effects of Claritin include:

  • Headache
  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Eye redness, blurred vision
  • Nosebleed

On the other hand, Flonase may cause some of these common side effects:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cough and sore throat,
  • Nasal irritation or dryness
  • Headaches -Stinging in your nose after use -Diarrhea

Remember that you should always consult a healthcare professional if any adverse symptoms persist.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Claritin?

While Claritin and Flonase are both used to treat allergy symptoms, they have different potential side effects. For Claritin:

  • Signs of allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing
  • Feeling tired or sleepy
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth or throat

For Flonase:

  • Nosebleeds or sores in your nose
  • White patches inside your nose or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vision changes such as blurred vision
  • Severe allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives; swelling of the face, lips, tongue

Remember that these side effects are rare and most people do not experience them. However, if you notice any unusual physical or mental changes while taking either medication you should consult a doctor immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Flonase?

Flonase, a nasal spray often used for allergic reactions, has potential side effects that may include:

  • Dry or irritated throat
  • Nosebleed or bloody mucus in the nose
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Skin rash or itching
  • Cough and hoarseness
  • Eye redness and watering
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) -In rare cases, it can cause increased heart rate.

Although some users have reported experiencing dizziness with Flonase use, this is not commonly observed. It's important to note any unusual symptoms after using Flonase and contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned about any side effects.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Flonase?

While Flonase is generally safe and effective for many people, there are some rare but potential side effects to be aware of. These include:

  • Allergic reactions, such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Nasal discomfort or burning sensation in the nose
  • Unusual nasal bleeding
  • Vision problems including blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • Fever
  • Sores inside the nose that won't heal
  • Whistling sound from your nose when you breathe (caused by a hole/ulcer in the cartilage)

Remember: if you experience any severe symptoms while using Flonase, it's important to immediately stop usage and seek medical attention.

Contraindications for Claritin and Flonase?

Both Claritin and Flonase, like most other allergy medications, may cause side effects in some people. If you notice worsening of your symptoms or an unexpected reaction after starting these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Claritin nor Flonase should be taken if you are using certain other drugs without consulting with your doctor first. Some medicines such as ketoconazole or erythromycin can interact harmfully with these allergy medications. Always disclose to your healthcare provider which medications you are currently taking; some drugs may require a clearance period to prevent dangerous interactions with Claritin and Flonase.

It's highly recommended for patients who have liver disease or kidney disease to consult their doctors before using either drug because they may need dose adjustments or special tests when treating allergies.

How much do Claritin and Flonase cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 60 tablets of Claritin (10 mg) averages around $35, which works out to approximately $0.58 per day.
  • The price for a bottle of Flonase nasal spray (50 mcg/spray), providing about 120 sprays, averages around $22, working out to approximately $0.18 per day if using two sprays in each nostril.

Thus, if you are taking the recommended dosage for both medications, then the brand-name version of Flonase is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, cost should not be your primary consideration when deciding between these two drugs.

For the generic versions Loratadine (generic Claritin) and fluticasone propionate (generic Flonase), costs are significantly lower:

  • Loratadine is available in packs from 30 up to large counts like 300 or even higher. Prices can start as low as $8 for a month's supply or go up depending upon count and manufacturer with approximate costs ranging from about $0.10-$0.25/day.
  • Generic fluticasone propionate nasal spray is also available at lower prices than the branded equivalent; it typically costs between approximatelly$15–20/bottle equating roughly to about 12 cents ($0.12/day).

Popularity of Claritin and Flonase

Loratadine, in generic form as well as under the brand name Claritin, is estimated to have been used by about 24 million people in the US between 2015-2016. Loratadine accounted for a significant portion of antihistamine use in the US and is listed on WHO's List of Essential Medicines. It has maintained its popularity over time due to its non-sedating properties.

Fluticasone propionate nasal spray, sold under the brand name Flonase, was prescribed to approximately 8 million people across America during that same period. In terms of prescription nasal sprays for allergies, Flonase accounts for a substantial market share. Despite being a relatively newer entrant compared to oral antihistamines like loratadine, fluticasone propionate's efficacy against multiple allergy symptoms including those related to eyes has made it increasingly popular since its introduction.


Both Claritin (loratadine) and Flonase (fluticasone propionate) are widely used medications for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, with numerous clinical studies supporting their efficacy. While both can be utilized individually, they may also be used in combination to control symptoms more effectively. However, this should always be under the guidance of a healthcare provider as each medication has its own contraindications.

Their mechanisms of action differ; Claritin is an antihistamine that works by blocking histamines, chemicals responsible for allergy symptoms, whereas Flonase is a corticosteroid nasal spray that reduces inflammation in the nasal passages. As such, they're typically employed under varying circumstances: Claritin could be considered appropriate for general symptom relief while Flonase might typically be recommended when nasal congestion is prominent or if symptoms aren't adequately controlled by antihistamines alone.

Both drugs are available over-the-counter and come in generic forms which can lead to significant cost savings especially for patients who need to self-fund their treatments. The onset of effect varies between these two medications - while some relief with Claritin may occur within 1-3 hours post-dose, maximal effects from Flonase may take several days due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

In terms of side effects profiles both are generally well-tolerated but there are differences; drowsiness although rare can happen with Claritin whilst nosebleeds and irritation inside the nose may sometimes occur with Flonase use. It's important that users monitor how they feel after starting either drug and report any adverse reactions or worsening symptoms promptly.