Claritin or Zyrtec for 8 Year Old?

Updated on May 10, 2013
N.R. asks from Chicago, IL
17 answers

Do you have preference for one or the other for kids? Claritin I give in the AM; Zyrtec can make you drowsy, so I'd do that PM. Doctor said I could give both in one day, but that seems overkill since both last 24 hours. Pharmacist says no matter what commercials say, it takes about 24 hours for medicine to kick in and work, so take it every day during allergy season, not just when allergies are acting up. I kind of hate to be pumping meds in a child daily, but I guess if it's just for a season...And if I'm going to do this, I wondered if one brand or another is "safer" for this daily intake and/or more effective. If you have advice, please send it. Thanks!

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answers from San Antonio on

Neither, my doctor recommends Allegra as it is the only allergy medicine that does not crossover to the brain.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Depends on the kid. Most of us take Claratin. One takes Zyrtec and one takes Allegra (adult). I can't take Allegra or it knocks me out. I would start with Claratin (small children can take that one) and see if it works.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

DO NOT give both. That your doctor said to give both? I would start looking for another doctor. PRONTO.

Yes, you need to give it daily. If you are concerned about giving your child meds - try a natural/homeopathic route and give her a teaspoon of local honey - UNPASTEURIZED. It's your local pollen and will help. Another avenue to consider is the Saline Rinse - I do NOT (borderline HATE) the Neti pot - I use the plunger - I have a LOT of allergies and it helps A LOT.

Have you had her tested for allergies to find out just what she is allergic to? Is she having running nose, itchy eyes, etc? If her nose is not running clear - it's NOT allergies. It might be a sinus infection.

Because the Claritin and Zrytec are both antihistamine's using different chemicals (Claritin - loratadine) and (Zyrtec - cetirizine), they will help with "hay fever". Both have been tested and proven safe for children.

You can also try Nasonex - that's a prescription. So she would have to be tested for allergies before she can get it. It might help her as well.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would not use both at the same time.

What I would do (which is what we did) is try the Claritin and observe results. When that supply is gone, try the Zyrtec and see how it works for you.

At our house, we use the Zyrtec 24 hour. We all take one in the morning with breakfast and it really helps us. We stuck with this 24 hr Zyrtec after first trying the 24 hr Clairitin which did not really help us.

Our pedi also said it is sometimes good to switch them up so you don't get used to one and then lose the effectiveness.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We do Zyrtec at night . Works great ! Claritin didn't work for my son .

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Safer? They are both safe. Heck I took Claritin while pregnant and breastfeeding. I don't think it gets any safer than that.

You're right, Zyrtec does have a 10% sedation rate and should be given at bedtime for that reason. Claritin does not.

YES they CAN be taken together and NO it is not overkill.

I would agree with the pharmacist that allergy medications do take a few days to be fully effective. Steroid nasal sprays such as Rhinocort are more instantaneous at shrinking swollen nasal passages.

Local honey has been proven to be ineffective because by the time it reaches you the pollen is denatured.

Personally when my daughter's allergies became out of control I had her tested and she now gets weekly injections. While it seems extreme I can not say enough about the effectiveness of the shots. She no longer has the strong reactions to the environment that rendered the allergy medications useless. When you reach that point, see an allergist for further testing. Sadly that is typically the progression.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

My daughter has been on zyrtec for years. Claritin did not work for her. You will just have to try both and see what works best. Zyrtec does not make DD drowsy but I do give it at night. If you give both they might dry your child out really bad. We use Walmart's generic of Zyrtec.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I hate Zyrtec. It makes me tired and irritable. And I am an adult.
I would NOT use, both meds at the same time.
That is overkill.

I personally like Claritin.

It all really depends on the person.
My Mom likes Zyrtec. It works for her. Claritin does not.

And yes, I have also taken Allegra, which I like.

No matter what, you need to get the kids' version of any of those.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My granddaughter has taken Zyrtec, 24 hour type, and it did not make her sleepy. She's now taking Alertek, I think. (sp?) lol I can't keep up. She's 12, has asthma as well as allergies. She takes one type until it stops helping so much and the allergist switches her to a different type. None of them have made her sleepy or tired.

I think you have to try one and see how it works for your son. Other children's experience won't tell you what works for your son.

I don't know why you'd take two different ones at the same time. Did the doctor recommend that? Are you sure you understood? As you said they last 24 hours, tho I think you can get 12 hour ones.

Yes, you do have to take one tablet everyday. It's made to prevent allergic reactions. It takes time to build up in your system. It's not a treatment for after you've had a reaction.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Your pharmacist is correct that they work best when you take them daily during allergy season. It isn't the kind of medicine that you take right when you need it (like for a headache, or a stomachache, or a fever)... it is preventative.

And for a season... yeah. Take them daily if your son needs it. My son was having to take them year round, because he is allergic to several things and they are active at different times of the year. There is always something blooming/producing pollen that he reacts to, except for about 2 weeks in December, because of where we live.

He started allergy immunotherapy (shots) about 2 1/2 - 3 years ago and about 2 months ago was able to stop taking OTC meds for his allergies. Completely stopped. YAY!!

I am not certain about Claritin and Zyrtec in the same 24 hours or not. But they are not the same medication so perhaps they work/function differently. Claritin is loratadine, and Zyrtec is cetirizine. My son would use Zyrtec for a few months, then it would begin losing efficacy and per his doctor, we'd switch to Allegra (fexofenadine) for a few months, then that would begin to lose efficacy and we'd switch him back to the Zyrtec. (He had been using Alavert daily already--which is another brand name of loratidine, same as Claritin is, and it seemed completely ineffective for him).

You may find that your son can tolerate or has fewer side effects with one or the other of them. Or he may have no issues with either. My son never noticed getting drowsy with Zyrtec, but his doctor said to take it before bed, so he was going to sleep anyway... I will say that since he has stopped taking OTC meds, he seems ready to go to bed EARLIER than he used to be, and falls asleep faster. Just my observation. But he is 14.

How bad are your son's allergies? It seems unusual (at least to me) for a doctor to suggest taking them simultaneously like that unless his allergies are really bad. Have you tested to find out what he is reacting to?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

different allergy meds works differently for each person. I know people who swear by Claritin, but it does NOTHING for me. Zyrtec helps me a lot. The pharmacist is right.... If you take zyrtec, you will start to see some result in a few hours, but it has to build up in the system to really help. Things like covering pillows and mattress with allergy covers, vacuuming frequently, and getting an allergy filter for the ac (if you have central air) will help. Also, if you guys have been outside a lot on a given day, having your kids shower at night (and wash hair) will help too.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't trust docs when it comes to meds. I always ask the pharmacist. If the pharmacist said it was okay then it's probably okay.

Since you didn't mention her symptoms I am curious. Is she itching? Super runny nose? Eyes swelling shut? What symptoms are being treated because sometimes one med is better than the other for certain symptoms.


answers from Washington DC on

the reason for giving both is that each will affect a slightly different type of allergic reaction, so give a broader spectrum of relief. if your child suffers from a variety of allergies, using 2 different kinds of meds will help her be less miserable, but yes, you then also run the risk of more side effects.
it's a crapshoot either way. only you and your experience with your own child can make a decision, and it will probably be an ongoing work in progress.
i've posted a lot here about my younger, his allergies, and our years getting the desensitizing shots. now at 22 he finds that zyrtec is really the only thing that works for him. it's a shame because he's a busy college student with a job, so has to be judicious in taking a medication that can make him sleepy. fortunately its soporific effect on him is mild.
local honey is NOT denatured by the time it reaches your home IF you're buying good honey that hasn't been heat pasteurized and/or filtered to remove the pollen. you want good straight-from-the-hive honey purchased from an ethical local beekeeper. and yes, it does help!
and it's yummy.
:) khairete



answers from Des Moines on

Zyrtec warning!!! Please please if you notice a behavioral change in your child after going on Zyrtec....please realize it can by the meds,. Google is amazing how many kids go from sweet children to little monsters on this med. my son took it one day and that one day he got into trouble at school....he got up in the middle of class and shouted it was time for recess. It wasn't. He told me he could not control himself that day. Never ever will I give any of my kids that med again. Many people do t put 2 and 2 together and realize meds can do this to kids. Just beware.



answers from Las Vegas on

We've used both for our son.. However, we now use the it ONLY at night , right before bed... Otherwise, when we don't, our son has sneezing fits..
I know they say the daytime medicine won't cause drowsiness, However, I think it does (having tried it myself)
Also, I agree with you in that two similar meds in one day is a bit much..



answers from Boston on

I like Claritin for me. My daughter takes Allegra in the morning and Zyrtec at night. It takes a little digging but both come in 12-hour dosages, though the 24-hour kind is easier to find. Zyrtec makes my girl drowsy, which makes school very difficult.

No matter what kind of medication you choose, make sure your child drinks plenty of water during the day. It helps to keep the mucus membranes thin and also replaces the fluids lost to all the sniffling & sneezing.



answers from Chicago on

Just a word of warning...Zyrtec gave my five year old insomnia. I checked with a pharmacist, and this happens with about 9% of children. (Now we are giving it to him in the morning!)

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