Singulair vs Claritin

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For patients dealing with allergies or asthma, certain drugs that inhibit the release of substances in the body linked to inflammation can help in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Singulair and Claritin are two such medications often prescribed for these conditions. Both act on different pathways involved in allergic reactions but have similar effects in reducing allergy symptoms.

Singulair is a leukotriene receptor antagonist which functions by blocking leukotrienes, compounds that cause inflammation, fluid buildup, and muscle contraction during an allergic reaction. On the other hand, Claritin is classified as a second-generation antihistamine primarily affecting histamine receptors by preventing them from binding with histamines thus lessening the immune system's response to allergens.

What is Singulair?

Montelukast (the generic name for Singulair) is a leukotriene receptor antagonist that was first approved by the FDA in 1998. It works differently from traditional antihistamines, as it blocks the action of leukotrienes, substances in the body that cause inflammation and constriction in the lungs and breathing passages. This makes Singulair particularly effective at managing asthma symptoms and preventing asthma attacks triggered by exercise. Unlike Claritin which primarily tackles allergic reactions, Singulair treats both allergies and asthma but does not provide immediate relief for either condition.

On the other hand, loratadine (Claritin) is an antihistamine used to treat hay fever or other allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching eyes/nose/skin rash/watery eyes etc., which was first approved by FDA in 1993. It functions by blocking histamine that your body produces during an allergic reaction thus providing relief from allergy symptoms.

Singulair has selective influence on leukotrienes with no discernable effect on histamines while Claritin only targets histamines resulting in fewer side effects than medications having stronger effects on both these compounds.

What conditions is Singulair approved to treat?

Singulair is approved for relief of symptoms associated with several conditions:

  • Chronic treatment and prevention of asthma
  • Relief from symptoms experienced during the allergy season (seasonal allergic rhinitis)
  • Perennial Allergic Rhinitis, a year-round condition
  • Prevention of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the air passages in the lungs) in patients 6 years of age and older.

How does Singulair help with these illnesses?

Singulair helps manage allergies and asthma by blocking the action of leukotrienes in the body. Leukotrienes are naturally occurring substances that induce tightening of airway muscles and production of mucus and fluid, both of which can result in symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and congestion. Singulair works as a leukotriene receptor antagonist; it blocks these substances from binding to their receptors hence halting their actions. This aids in maintaining open airways for longer periods contributing to better breathing and less allergic reactions.

Claritin on the other hand is an antihistamine acting primarily against histamine H1 receptor. Histamines are chemicals released when the body encounters an allergen leading to symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes or runny nose commonly associated with allergies. By inhibiting histamine activity through competitive antagonism at its receptors, Claritin alleviates these allergy symptoms thus providing relief.

While both Singulair and Claritin work towards managing allergy symptoms they do so via different pathways making them effective for different aspects or types of allergies.

What is Claritin?

Claritin is a brand name for Loratadine, an antihistamine that can be used to alleviate symptoms of allergic reactions by blocking the action of histamine. Available over-the-counter since 2002, Claritin inhibits the inflammatory response typically associated with allergies and provides relief from sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. Unlike Singulair (Montelukast), which targets leukotrienes to prevent airway constriction often seen in asthma patients, Claritin does not treat lung-related issues; its major effect lies in managing allergy symptoms. Its lack of drowsiness-inducing effects makes it different from many other antihistamines. Moreover, side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction are less common compared to certain anti-allergy medications like Montelukast. The efficacy on relieving nasal allergy symptoms makes Claritin a more suitable choice for people suffering from seasonal allergies.

What conditions is Claritin approved to treat?

Claritin has been sanctioned by the FDA for use in dealing with:

  • Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (also known as hay fever)
  • Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (hives without a known cause) These are conditions that Claritin is commonly used to treat, offering relief from symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes.

How does Claritin help with these illnesses?

Histamine is a compound which is released by cells in response to injury and in allergic and inflammatory reactions, causing contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries. Claritin (loratadine) functions as an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural histamine in the body. It helps to alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose associated with allergic reactions or colds. Its action on H1 receptors may also play roles in its effectiveness against allergy symptoms. Since it does not significantly cause drowsiness like some other antihistamines, it can be considered when a patient requires symptom relief but needs to maintain alertness throughout the day. Compared with Singulair (montelukast), which works by blocking leukotrienes substances in the body that cause inflammation and constriction in the lungs and swelling in nasal passages - Claritin might be preferred for patients who primarily deal with typical hay fever-like allergy symptoms.

How effective are both Singulair and Claritin?

Both montelukast (Singulair) and loratadine (Claritin) are well-established in their effectiveness at treating allergy symptoms, with the former receiving FDA approval in 1998 and the latter in 1993. These drugs operate under different mechanisms: Singulair is a leukotriene receptor antagonist used primarily for asthma prevention and relief from seasonal allergies, while Claritin acts as an antihistamine offering relief from allergy symptoms.

The efficacy of both medications has been studied extensively. For example, a 2002 double-blind clinical trial compared montelukast to placebo in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis; it found similar efficacy between montelukast and loratadine at reducing daytime nasal symptoms score over a two-week treatment period.

A review of multiple studies on loratadine published by Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews concluded that it was effective at relieving common allergy symptoms such as sneezing, nasal discharge, itching eyes/nose/throat/roof of mouth, tearing eyes, redness of eyes. Loratadine is also considered non-drowsy which makes it preferable among many other first-generation antihistamines.

Montelukast's unique mechanism enables its use not just for managing respiratory allergies but also as maintenance therapy for chronic asthma — whether or not triggered by exercise — making this drug versatile especially to those suffering from both conditions. However,it does have some notable side effects like mood changes which should be taken into account when prescribing.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Singulair typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Singulair are typically 10 mg/day for adults and adolescents over the age of 15, which has been demonstrated to be an effective amount for managing asthma symptoms. Children aged 6-14 years may start on a daily dosage of 5 mg while children aged from 2-5 years can take a daily dose of 4 mg. In either population, if there is no response after several weeks, it might be necessary to reevaluate the treatment plan rather than increasing the dosage. The maximum recommended daily dose should not exceed 10 mg for adults and adolescents or above stated doses for younger age groups.

At what dose is Claritin typically prescribed?

Claritin treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of 10 mg/day for adults and children over six years old, taken orally once daily. For children between two to five years old, the recommended dose is 5 mg/day. The beauty of Claritin lies in its long-acting capability; one dose provides relief for up to 24 hours. Hence, there's usually no need to increase the frequency beyond once a day. However, if symptoms persist after a few weeks despite regular usage, it would be wise to consult with your healthcare provider as you may require additional or alternative therapeutic strategies.

What are the most common side effects for Singulair?

Common side effects of Singulair include:

  • Headache
  • Stomach pain, diarrhea, heartburn or upset stomach
  • Flu-like symptoms such as a fever or chills
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Skin rash, bruising, severe tingling or numbness
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, and restlessness.

On the other hand with Claritin:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness/drowsiness
  • Stomach discomfort at times.

Always remember to consult your healthcare provider for any medication you intend to take. This will help ensure it's safe based on your health history and current medications.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Singulair?

While both Singulair and Claritin are used to control symptoms of allergies, they have different potential side effects:

  • For Singulair: In rare cases, patients may experience mood changes, suicidal thoughts or actions. Contact a healthcare professional immediately if these occur.
  • Allergic reactions including skin rash, itching or hives; swelling of the face, lips or tongue can happen in response to either medication
  • Visual disturbances such as blurred vision or eye pain are uncommon but can potentially occur with Singulair usage. If you notice any change in your sight while taking this medication contact your doctor promptly.
  • Palpitations or feeling like your heart is pounding/racing is less common with these medications, but it's important to seek medical help quickly if you experience this
  • Both drugs have been associated rarely with systemic responses - such as muscle cramps or spasms, shaking tremors, confusion and disorientation.

Please be aware that these side-effects are not exhaustive and individual experiences vary between patients. Always consult with your healthcare provider for advice tailored specifically for you.

What are the most common side effects for Claritin?

When it comes to Claritin, a widely used antihistamine for combatting allergies, the common side effects can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or gastritis
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) While these are generally mild and manageable, if they persist or you notice other more severe symptoms such as fast heartbeat, significant weight loss, blurred vision or muscle pain among others; it would be crucial to consult your healthcare provider.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Claritin?

Claritin, generically known as loratadine, is generally well-tolerated. However, there are potential serious side effects that you should be aware of:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing; hives; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes)
  • Seizures (convulsions)

Less common but severe reactions may include confusion; unusual thoughts or behavior; feeling restless or nervous. If any such symptoms occur while using Claritin, it's crucial to stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention.

Contraindications for Singulair and Claritin?

Both Singulair and Claritin, like other allergy medications, may cause side effects in some individuals. If you notice any serious changes in your health or well-being after taking these medications, such as severe allergic reactions, unusual behavior or mood changes, seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Singulair nor Claritin should be taken if you are using certain types of medications due to potential interactions. In particular, antifungal drugs like ketoconazole and itraconazole can increase the levels of claritin in your body while phenobarbital or rifampin can decrease the effectiveness of Singulair. Always inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you are currently taking; some will require a washout period before starting treatment with either Singulair or Claritin to prevent harmful drug interactions.

How much do Singulair and Claritin cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Singulair (10 mg) averages around $200, which works out to approximately $6.66 per day.
  • The price for a pack of 30 tablets of Claritin (10 mg) is roughly about $25, working out to nearly $0.83 per day.

Hence, if you are considering cost alone, Claritin is significantly less expensive on a daily basis compared to Singulair. However, it's crucial to bear in mind that effectiveness and potential side effects should be your primary considerations when selecting between these two medications.

In terms of generic versions:

  • Montelukast sodium (the active ingredient in Singulair), costs approximately between $15 and $50 for thirty 10mg tablets: translating to about a range from as low as $.50/day up to around $1.60/day depending on where you buy it.
  • Loratadine (the active ingredient in Claritin), can start at prices as low as approximatley $.20/day if bought upfront in larger packs( such as quantities over 100). This makes loratadine even cheaper than montelukast sodium on an average daily cost basis.

Popularity of Singulair and Claritin

Montelukast, also known by the brand name Singulair, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 7.1 million people in the US in 2020. This medication accounted for a significant proportion of prescriptions for asthma and allergic rhinitis treatment. Montelukast is an oral leukotriene receptor antagonist that helps control symptoms related to asthma and seasonal or year-round allergies. It has seen a slight increase in prevalence since its patent expiry in 2012.

Loratadine, including brand versions such as Claritin, was prescribed to approximately 25 million Americans in 2020. In the US market, loratadine represents one of the most frequently used over-the-counter antihistamines designed to alleviate allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose without causing drowsiness. The prevalence of loratadine use has remained relatively steady over recent years due largely to its effectiveness and non-sedating properties.


Both Singulair (montelukast) and Claritin (loratadine) have long-standing records of usage in patients with allergies, and are backed by numerous clinical studies indicating that they are more effective than placebo treatments. They work differently to control allergy symptoms: Singulair is a leukotriene receptor antagonist which works by blocking substances in the body called leukotrienes that cause asthma and allergic rhinitis, while Claritin is an antihistamine which works by blocking histamines that trigger allergy symptoms.

In terms of prescription, Singulair can be used as a first-line treatment option for mild persistent asthma or severe allergies while Claritin would usually be considered for seasonal or perennial non-specific allergies. Sometimes these drugs may be combined; however, this should only be done under careful consideration by a physician as there could potentially be interactions between them.

Both medications also come in generic forms representing significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out of pocket. As with many medications both Singulair and Claritin may require an adjustment period meaning effects may not necessarily be noticeable right away.

The side effect profile is similar between the two drugs with common side-effects like headache and dry mouth but generally well-tolerated. However, rare serious side effects such as liver disease in case of loratadine or suicidal thoughts in case of montelukast must warrant immediate medical attention.