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Does Claritin work as well as Benedryl?


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#1 mirth

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:43 AM

For adult seasonal allergy sufferers? I need to get thru this day without sneezing my head off or falling asleep.

#2 EKS

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:48 AM

My son's doctor recently told me that unlike drugs like Benedryl, which work immediately, Claritin needs a few days to really get up to speed, so while it might help a bit the first day, it won't be helping as much as it will help if you take it for a few days first.

I don't know from personal experience whether this is actually true.

#3 Pippen

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:49 AM

We have too much experience with sinus/allery around here, and my experience has been that antihistamines are very individual and you just need to trial them to see what works best for you. If you're looking for OTC meds, at my house we've found that Benadryl works better for itchy kinds of responses and Claratin-D for nasal reactions. Best of all for me is prescription Allegra-D.

#4 Renee in NC

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:49 AM

Claritin doesn't work at all for me. Benadryl knocks me out, though, and Zyrtec makes me crazy (literally), so I just suffer through it.

#5 abbeyej

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:52 AM

It really depends. The only thing you can do is try and see. I believe Claritin needs about 3 days to really kick in and make a difference. Unfortunately, it does little for me, but I know plenty of people for whom it makes a world of difference. Zyrtec works better for me, but it makes me sleep 12+ hours a night, so it's just not practical. Allegra is still by prescription, but it's another one that works well for many people. It's what my son is taking now. My daughter's taking Zyrtec, and I'm suffering through and taking half-doses (children's tablets) of Benedryl when it gets unbearable. I find a half-dose can take the edge off the allergy symptoms without knocking me out completely.

But really, you'll just have to try a couple of things and see what works for you.

#6 Where's Toto?

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:55 AM

Claritan never worked for me at all. Allegra worked well for me but I stopped it while I was pregnant and nursing. Benedryl works great for me but I usually take 1/2 a dose (just one pill) to avoid the drowsiness unless its bedtime. Zyrtec doesn't seem to work for me.

I have allergy induced asthma if I don't keep it under control so its been important to me to find things that work. Right now what's working best is Singulair on a daily basis and Sudafed (the real one - pseudoephedrine - that is now behind the counter) when needed. I reserve Benedryl for when I'm really, really bad (usually in the Fall) or want to sleep well.

It is true that Claritan, Allegra and Zyrtec all need to build up in your system to work well. So, they need to be taken every day regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. (Ex-h is a pharmaceutical rep and has "sold" both Allegra and Claritan). Unfortunately the only way to tell what's really going to work for you is to keep trying things.

#7 Mynyel

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:59 AM

We use Claritin here....well technically just the generic version but it is the same thing. My daughter had major allergies. We thought for a long time she was chronically sick. Swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes. She just looked horrid. We finally took her to the Dr and she said that our daughter has some of the worst allergies she has seen in a awhile and recommended Claritin or Zrytec. I already had Claritin in the house because my son and I use it in the summer to help with bug bites (it does help a bit with those!).
Like a pp said, it does take about 3 days or so for it to really work but once it kicks in it works great! There are no side effects either like "medicine head" or anything.
I love it and will always use it.

Sideline here....we use plain old Claritin...not Claritin-D. The D is the decongestant that has that suedophed-whatever stuff in it. I can't stant that psuedo stuff... I have never given it to my kids (Sudafed or anything) because I know how it makes me feel (wow..dunno what illegal drugs are like but it has to feel like it somewhat! At least in my case) and I don't want my kids to have that feeling.

Anyhow my experience and my $.02 :)

#8 elegantlion

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:03 AM

It doesn't work as well for me, but as others have said it could be individual response. Zyrtec knocks me out and I feel like a zombie the next day. Benadryl is the most effective for me. *sniff* need one right now *sniff*

#9 HollyDay

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:05 AM

Our allergist and pediatrician both said Claritin needs a "good" 72 hours to take full affect. It is for prolonged seasonal allergies. They also said it only works on 1/2 of allergies. They said allergies have an "A" component and a "B" component. Benadryl and Zyrtec work on both, but Claritan only on one. IF your allergies are in the grouping Claritin covers, then it will work for you. If your allergies are in the other group, then no. If you have allergies in both (like I do), then it will only work on some of them. Have you considered Allegra? My prescription has expired so I don't have any. It was the only thing that worked for me though that didn't knock me out. My allergist is not easy to get an appt with. Frankly, I don't want to wait 2 weeks, then sit in her waiting room for 2 hours, spend 10 min with her, and pay for an office visit, just to get Allegra.

#10 homeschoolally

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:06 AM

Like a pp said, it does take about 3 days or so for it to really work but once it kicks in it works great! There are no side effects either like "medicine head" or anything.
I love it and will always use it.

Sideline here....we use plain old Claritin...not Claritin-D. The D is the decongestant that has that suedophed-whatever stuff in it. I can't stant that psuedo stuff... I have never given it to my kids (Sudafed or anything) because I know how it makes me feel (wow..dunno what illegal drugs are like but it has to feel like it somewhat! At least in my case) and I don't want my kids to have that feeling.

Anyhow my experience and my $.02 :)


:iagree: This has been our experience as well. I like that Claritin doesn't make me feel drowsy. There may be things that are stronger as far as tackling the allergy symptoms, but for us if we have 'medicine head' it cancels out any benefit!

#11 LanaTron

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:22 AM

I have horrible allergies and asthma. I take various meds at this point, but I also use a neti pot.

My friend suggested this, and I resisted for a long time, thinking it would feel like I was drowning. But now I love it! It genly washes away all the pollen, etc. from the sinuses. I got mine at the local grocery; it's called SinuCleanse, and comes with the little packets of saline that you mix in the water. If you get the water just the right temperature, it actually feels good going in there.

Also, taking a shower every night to wash the pollen, etc., off helps me tremendously.

Oh, Zyrtec helps me and the kids much more than Claritin. My allergies make me super fatigued anyway, so I can't tell if the meds make it worse or not. When I use Nasocort or my neti pot, it does help with the fatigue.

Good luck finding what works, as I know how miserable allergies can be.

#12 gingersmom

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:40 AM

I think it is a very individual thing.

Benadryl does nothing for my son.
Claritin did not work.
Zyrtec puts him to sleep
Allegra (prescription) worked last year but so far this year not so good. Doctor says we may have to combine it with another prescription allergy medicine.

Doing everything we can to avoid allergy shots.

#13 Splash

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:40 AM

Nope. But I take Claratin anyway along with Nasacort AQ and saline rinses because Benedryl makes me too tired. We all have horrible allergies here.

#14 emubird

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:59 AM

Claritin doesn't work for me. Benadryl kind of works.

What works best for me is doxylamine succinate. It's the ingredient in Unisom (a sleeping pill). I only take HALF a pill. And that really knocks me out. However, if I take it at bedtime, it works through the day afterward.

My daughter tried it because her allergies were just awful this year. It worked like a charm, except she could hardly keep her eyes open all the next day. It seemed to finally get out of her system around bedtime.

Still, if you're desperate, it's something.

When I've accidentally eaten something I really shouldn't have, it's usually better for me to sleep it off anyway.

I used to take Chlortrimeton. I don't even know if that's on the market anymore (?). It was supposed to make one sleepy, but when my allergies were really bad it would actually make me more alert in comparison to my unmedicated state.

My kids live on Sudafed this time of year, with maybe a Benadryl at bedtime.

#15 Pippen

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 09:02 AM

Sideline here....we use plain old Claritin...not Claritin-D. The D is the decongestant that has that suedophed-whatever stuff in it. I can't stant that psuedo stuff... I have never given it to my kids (Sudafed or anything) because I know how it makes me feel (wow..dunno what illegal drugs are like but it has to feel like it somewhat! At least in my case) and I don't want my kids to have that feeling.

Anyhow my experience and my $.02 :)


Combining it with other ingredients can make a difference between having a wacky reaction or not. I didn't get along well with sudafed at all, but in Allegra-D I don't have wacky reactions at all. It will keep me up at night if I take it in the evening.

#16 AngieW in Texas

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 09:07 AM

All of the medicines knock me out, so I have to take them all just before bed.

Sudafed leaves me unable to drive for 24 hours and groggy for 3 days.
Benadryl leaves me unable to drive for 24 hours and groggy for 2 days.
Claritin leaves me unable to drive for 12 hours. If I take it two days in a row, I am groggy for 24 hours after the 2nd dose.
Actifed leaves me unable to drive for 12 hours, but has no grogginess after that.

Actifed is the only thing that I take now and I avoid taking it two nights in a row.

#17 FlockOfSillies

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:56 AM

I use Claritin Redi-Tabs. It works well for me, and I'm not drowsy (well, not because of the Claritin, anyway).

#18 delaney

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:59 AM

My ped yesterday said Claritan is a waste of money. Better to go with Zyrtec or Allegra. We have never had luck with it.

#19 Suzanne in ABQ

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:59 AM

Claritin works better than either Benedryl or Zyrtec for my dd, and it doesn't make her fall asleep at the table.

I agree that it depends on the individual.

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:01 AM

Neither Claritin or Allegra work for dh. He takes actifed which does make him sleepy. So he takes one before bed, then enough is still in his system the next day for him to avoid the worst of the sneezing and dripping. It's better than him sneezing and dripping through the night.

#21 Aggie

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:10 AM

I have horrible allergies and asthma. I take various meds at this point, but I also use a neti pot.

My friend suggested this, and I resisted for a long time, thinking it would feel like I was drowning. But now I love it! It genly washes away all the pollen, etc. from the sinuses. I got mine at the local grocery; it's called SinuCleanse, and comes with the little packets of saline that you mix in the water. If you get the water just the right temperature, it actually feels good going in there.

Also, taking a shower every night to wash the pollen, etc., off helps me tremendously.


Good luck finding what works, as I know how miserable allergies can be.

:iagree: Try the neti pot!

Claritin used to work for me. After about 3 weeks, though, it stopped. I've read since that many people have this happen.

Love Zyrtec here!

#22 Desert Rat

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:20 AM

We like Zyrtec here.

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:50 AM

Claritin doesn't work at all for me. Benadryl knocks me out, though, and Zyrtec makes me crazy (literally), so I just suffer through it.


Yep, this is me. Although, I do take Benedryl at night if I can't stand it.


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