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Difference Between Cetirizine and Loratadine

Cetirizine vs Loratadine

If you are one of those persons who frequently experiences hypersensitivity reactions, otherwise known as allergies, then you may be a regular user of antihistamines (anti-allergy drugs). Obviously, your doctor has been prescribing you different types of antihistamines depending on your need or your relative reaction to the drug.

Two types of second-generation antihistamines have become widely used nowadays: Cetirizine and Loratadine. These drugs are indicated for ordinary allergies, watery eyes, itchiness, and sneezing, but are not prescribed for use in hives and allergies that are systemic in nature.

Even if it is your doctor who is the one prescribing your anti-allergy medications, it is also important that you yourself know the nature of the drug you’re taking. Also, before you ask your doctor what kind of antihistamine is the most effective for your case, you must first put into consideration one basic fact: different types of people will react differently to different types of drugs. So you really can’t say that Cetirizine is more effective than Loratadine and vice versa. The only available literature, however, are test results or studies that may show which of the two have been seen to be more effective for a particular case; though this shouldn’t be generalized for all situations.

Using controlled environments and the same amount of 10mg preparations, some studies have shown that Cetirizine works better for allergic rhinitis as opposed to using Loratadine in treating the same. Another study has shown that Cetirizine can induce more sleepiness than the other. About 12% more patients have reported drowsiness in using Cetirizine than when using Loratadine.

In terms of the chemical content, the two antihistamines differ because Loratadine has 22 atoms of carbon, 23 hydrogen, 1 chlorine, 2 oxygen, and 2 nitrogen atoms which are structured into several branches. By contrast, Cetirizine has 21, 25, 1, 3, 2 carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms respectively that are linked into two hydrochloride (HCl) molecules. This is one of the reasons why the two have different mechanisms of action because their molecular arrangement and atomic compositions are all structurally different from each other.

Loratadine is being marketed under several trade names. Perhaps the most popular brand is Claritin. For Cetirizine, one of its trade names is Zyrtec. The most common Loratadine side effects are oral sores, restlessness, headaches, and nervousness. As mentioned previously, Cetirizine can induce more sleepiness and may even lead to mild discomfort or difficulty in breathing. Some Loratadine users may also experience breathing difficulties but only in the beginning stages of anaphylaxis.


1.Cetirizine is said to induce more sleepiness than Loratadine.
2.According to some studies, Cetirizine is better in dealing with allergic rhinitis.
3.Cetirizine has more hydrogen and oxygen atoms but less carbon atoms than Loratadine.
4.Cetirizine can also lead to slight breathing difficulties as one of its side effects.

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