We live in the world that is filled with dust, dirt, and pollution. There are often times when we come across one or another kind of substance that causes allergies in our body and we have to deal with it by using anti-allergens or antihistamines. There is a variety of over-the-counter antihistamines available on the market to treat mild and severe allergic reactions. Allergies can be caused by pollen, dust, food, or some medicines that does not suit your system. In this article, we will discuss two very common over-the-counter antihistamines and differences between them.
Definition of Allegra and Claritin
Allegra is the brand name of a drug called Fexofenadine, while Claritin is the brand name of a medicine called Loratadine, and both of these medications are used to treat allergies. Both Claritin and Allegra are very strong antihistamines that do not require a prescription and can be bought almost everywhere. Both of these medicines fall under the category of second-generation antihistamines. The second-generation antihistamines are the safest form of the drug because they do not have any side effects. Although these two medicines have the same function and are similar in their mode of action, there is a number of differences between them.
Allegra vs. Claritin
The differences between Allegra and Claritin are as follows:
Although both of these drugs fall under the category of second-generation antihistamines, which are very safe, and this is why they are freely sold without a doctor's prescription, they can still cause some minor side effects.
Allegra or Fexofenadine is less sedating compared to the other drugs from its family. Even if it is taken in huge doses, this medicine does not cause any drowsiness or sleepiness. Hence, it is the perfect choice for the people who are working in the environments that require following safety measures, such as an airline pilot, a surgeon and much more.
Claritin is also safe when it comes to other side effects. However, it does have a sedative effect when taken in bigger doses. If the patient exceeds the daily dosage of 10mg, it will cause sleepiness and loss of focus. Hence, Allegra is much safer in this regard.
Skin reactions and urticaria
Chronic and acute urticaria is treated by all second-generation antihistamines. However, many tests have been conducted to find out which drug is better for treating urticaria. The research results showed that Claritin acts faster on the body and is generally more effective than Allegra. Claritin was successful in treating urticaria in most cases, whereas Allegra turned out to be a slow-reacting drug.
The same applies to skin reactions. The patient needs a medicine that can relieve the symptoms as fast as possible. This is why Claritin is always chosen over Allegra in such cases. However, the second drug of choice after Claritin should always be Allegra.
Antihistamines do not help in relieving cold. The patients can take antihistamines in the first two days of cold to prevent such symptoms as a runny nose and sneezing, but such drugs do not treat cold itself. Although the early symptoms of cold might be similar the early symptoms of allergy, taking an antihistamine, be it Allegra or Claritin, is not going to be very effective.
There are a lot of different reasons for post-nasal drip, and allergies is one of them. If post-nasal drip is caused by allergies, the antihistamines will certainly help. In this case, a person needs an antihistamine that works faster and can effectively stop the symptoms. Since Claritin is a much faster-acting drug, it is preferred over Allegra. However, these two are equally effective in getting rid of all the post-nasal drip symptoms.
Other side effects
The side effects that are produced by the second-generation antihistamines are very mild and not cause any major discomfort to the patient. Some of the common side effects include nausea, headaches, and dry mouth. However, when we are talking about such drugs as Claritin and Allegra, they both do not come with any effects except for the sedative effect of Claritin when taken above the recommended dosage what was mentioned above. In addition to this, certain side effects can only occur when antihistamines interact with other drugs. For example, the absorption rate of Allegra is decreased by 30% after consumption of grapefruit juice, whereas this is not the case with Claritin.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It is very important for the pregnant women to monitor their medicinal intake. Claritin comes under the pregnancy category "B" drug. This means that it is completely suitable for pregnant women. At the same time, Allegra is not advised during pregnancy as it might cause some side effects. When it comes to the breastfeeding women, taking Allegra in small doses is approved by the doctors, while taking Claritin should be strictly avoided.
Time needed to take effect
How quickly the drug works is also a determinant of its effectiveness against a certain disease. Amongst the two, Claritin works a little faster while Allegra takes several hours to show its effects in the body. In addition to these differences, the price is often a major topic of consideration. However, the prices of these drugs are similar and they both have generic forms available over-the-counter.
Both Claritin and Allegra are second-generation antihistamine drugs that have minor or none side effects. From the comparison above we have concluded that using Allegra is safe for people with critical jobs. Both these medicines stay in effect for 24 hours. When it comes to treating allergic rhinitis, Claritin is much more efficient than Allegra. Claritin also overpowers Allegra in the cases when the patient needs a faster-acting drug that can show the effect on the body quicker, and Allegra takes around 2 hours to take effect. Additionally, we also saw that Allegra should not be taken with grapefruit juice to avoid its decreases effectiveness.
Although these drugs are available over-the-counter, doctor's consultation is always preferred before taking them as they may have different effects on different body types.