Which OTC Allergy Med Works Best for Your Child?

Updated on March 28, 2012
☆.A. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
21 answers

As I mentioned in a recent response, my son has seasonal allergies.
He is taking Children's Claritin right now.
Our pediatrician just said "try an OTC children's allergy med".
But I'm wondering if Zyrtec or Allegra might be better.
So if you've tried a few and found one works better or other advantages/disadvantages, please share!
(And I have heard that after a while, it's best to switch around. True?)

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So What Happened?

Jo--he's 9. He takes the Claritin once a day, too.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

My daughters use zyrtec. I did switch at O. point to the allerga but you need to take more than the zyrtec so cost wise it wasnt best when the zyrtec worked. ( I use the walmart brand of zyrtec)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My allergist prefers Zyrtec to Claritin. Honestly I tried Claritin myself once and it doesn't do much for me, I prefer Zyrtec also.

ETA: if it makes you feel drowsy just take it at bedtime

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Albany on

We use Claritin by day and benadryl by night.

It works well and since it's only for a few weeks now and again in the fall, I haven't tried the others.

But I might for myself since today I feel like I've got shards of glass under my eyelids and I already took a Claritin.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh the allergy season..... my daughter (17) is in the pedi office like clockwork in the fall and in March with a sinus infection due to allergies.

We both have issues here in TX and living on our lot filled with the lovely cedar elm and all the other pollens in the air.

Our Dr. suggested the Claritin last Spring for allergy relief BUT, we were both in a couple weeks ago (actually she was in for sinus and Dr. just heard me because I'd been fighting it a month) Our pedi suggests switching off between Claritin D, Allegra, and Zyrtec. She said your system gets used to the same meds so if you switch you get something slightly different and works better.

We tend to take the allergy pill on a daily basis and not just in allergy season. That is just how it is in TX.

Right now we are on Allegra and we have evened out for the time being. We are both well!! YEAH! We do tend to stay on the OTC longer in TX so the next time I need to purchase, it will be Zyrtec's turn.

I hope your son gets better... Are the pollens that bad in Pittsburgh this year? My hubby's brother and family live in Sewickley. Small world!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I do not like Zyrtec. It makes me MOODY and tired.
I like Claritin.
Also Allegra.
Both of these are OTC. But make sure they have children's versions.

Every person, is different.
It is not a O. sized shoe fits all.

You do not have to switch around after awhile.
I have never had to.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've always liked the Walmart brand of allergy medicine (I think it's a generic of benedryl). Comes in a liquid. It doesn't "prevent" the allergies, but it really helps with the symptoms.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I can't remember how old your son is. Genna is almost 11 and takes Zyrtec. She loves it because it works and is 24 hour so she doesn't have to remember to take more pills during the day.

I looked on the bottle, six and over. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I read somewhere once that loratidine (the active ingredient in Claritin) doesn't work as well towards the last part of the 24 hour period as well as the others, i.e., zyrtec or allegra). I only occasionally have any drippy nose stuff from allergies, and when I do I will take Claritin. But for my son, who has awful year round allergies (he is 13 now, but has been battling this stuff since he was in kindergarten/1st grade) takes either Zyrtec or Allegra. He also is doing injection therapy (allergy shots).

His doctor says that after continuous use for some period of time (not 2 weeks, but like a few months) that they become less effective and to switch to something else for a bit. My son prefers zyrtec over allegra, so that is what he uses most of the time. When it has been a couple of months, I will have him switch to Allegra for a few weeks (a bottle length of time, lol) and then he goes back to zyrtec. Also, doctor suggested take it at bedtime, as some folks are affected a bit and can get a little drowsy soon after the dosing...so not a good choice to start the day with.

I asked if we should switch every few weeks or every month, or whatever, and the Dr said that frequent is not necessary. Every several months is what we were told.

But, use them daily to get the most benefit. If you only take them every few days, they are less effective. There is some sort of cumulative effect that happens and they are most effective when taken on a regular schedule, not sporadically "as needed". More like DAILY during the season they are needed, if that makes sense.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Zyrtec has always worked for us so I never switched. Doesnt make them sleepy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We used Claritin for my oldest son for many years starting at age 3. We picked up some Zyrtec when on vacation a couple of years ago and he swears that the Zyrtec works better for him so he uses that now. I use Allegra when needed. I honestly can't tell the difference between any of them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

The first allergy med our ped put my daughter on was Zyrtec.

* but you seen for us it didn't work. They told us to give it to her before bedtime as it did make her tired and really cranky. I just thought I would let you know that Zyrtec was the otc med she went with first. *

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

Zyrtec is great but just be careful because it can lead to sinus infections. We didn't know that til my son's allergist told us. So for us we use Zyrtec when there is no runny nose. The store brands work great.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

My son has environmental allergies, and they are worse in the spring. Claritin is ok for when my son's allergies are not at their worst. In the spring, we have to use Zyrtec. Also, I buy the store brand. It works just as well for a lot less. Zyrtec is a little more pricey than Claritin.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son takes Zyrtec before bed. It works great for him . My husbands allergies were bothering him and he tried the adult Zyrtec and it also works great for him . Good luck=0)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Zytec is what we have always used for my little ones. I give it at night because it is only once a day and can make them drowsy not that it ever really has. The only thing is that if I have to give it for about four days in a row I have to use a humidifier because it dries the nasal passages out and gives my older O. a nose bleed. As long as the humidifier is running then she is fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My PED recommended we try Claritin. And he had an allegric reaction. So I havent tried any others. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Allergy meds are such a personal preference. What works for O. person may not work for the next.

However....I need to warn you to watch the behavior in your child with new allergy meds. My son (age 8 at the time) took Zyrtec once and it made him extremely wild. He actually stood up in the middle of class and announced that it was time for recess and everyone should go outside. It was NOT recess time and he has NEVER ever done anything like this...not O. note home. But this warranted a call from the teacher. We will never use zyrtec again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Allegra! Hands down.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My girls used to take Claritin daily to prevent the seasonal breakdowns. There came a point when it did not seem to help. So then they were taking Claritin and Benadryl together. That only seemed to go so far.

I asked the allergist about Zyrtec. He said that we could try it but to try it at bedtime because it has a 10% sedation rate. That seemed to help with my oldest (although it coincided with the time we started allergy shots so is it the Zyrtec or the shots?).

I ended up switching both girls over to Zyrtec.

Now the past week or so my youngest (who does NOT get shots) seemed to be sniffling in the morning. Per the allergist I gave her Claritin in the morning and Zyrtec at night. It is working.

They are all different drugs so they can be taken in conjunction with O. another, but honestly when you reach that point I think it is time to have his allergies tested to see if shots would help.

Since they are young the shots are much faster acting than on us old folks ;-) I can attest to that after seeing my oldest. Last spring she lost WEEKS of her life because of her allergies. This year she is sooo much better.

I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Joseph Rudolph if you decide to have his allergies tested.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

For my son, the Claritin Kids works best. My girls have no problem with the Benedryl or even the Target generic. My son I guess is more sensitive to things. He is complaining already and they say this year is going to be bad.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

my son does well on zyrtec.

1 mom found this helpful
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