Xyzal vs Zyrtec: Which is Better for Allergies?

Categories: Prescription Drugs

Xyzal and Zyrtec are both drugs that are used to treat allergy symptoms. Because there are significant differences between them, it is important for patients and treating physicians to choose the allergy medicine that best fits the needs of the allergy sufferer.

Xyzal is the brand name of the drug levocetirizine that is produced by Sanofi. It is used to help people cope with allergies, both seasonal and year-round. It is also sometimes used to treat allergy symptoms—including a runny nose and watery eyes—and the swelling and itching that can occur from hives. 

Zyrtec is a brand name of the drug cetirizine, which is an antihistamine. Used to help reduce allergy or cold symptoms, Zyrtec works to limit the natural chemical histamine reaction of a person’s body. Sometimes it is also used for hives, to treat the swelling and itchy that can happen with hive outbreaks. Produced by Johnson & Johnson, Zyrtec is marketed for allergy relief. Both Xyzal and Zyrtec are available without prescriptions, they are over-the-counter medicines.

Will Xyzal or Zyrtec Make Me Drowsy?

Drowsiness is a possible side effect of both Xyzal and Zyrtec, even though they are both known as non-sedating antihistamines. With similar chemical makeup, both Xyzal and Zyrtec are effective for allergy relief. Many individuals report they are less drowsy on Xyzal and Zyrtec than on other allergy medications, such as Benadryl.

Xyzal Side Effects

Xyzal, like most allergy medications, does have side effects. Keep an eye out for these common side effects:

  • Cough
  • Drowsiness and tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems urinating
  • Ear pain and infections

Zyrtec Side Effects

Zyrtec has many of the same side effects. Some of the most common side effects while taking Zyrtec include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Dizziness and fatigue

Why do Allergies Occur?

When a person’s immune system is activated by an allergen, reactions can occur. It is often an immune system reacting to pollen, pet dander, or food. An allergic reaction does not occur in every person but they do happen for those allergic to the foreign substance.

This happens because an individual’s immune system produces antibodies. When a person’s immune system sees a foreign substance as dangerous, antibodies are made to ward off the threat, even when the allergen is not harmful to most. 

If a person is allergic to cats, for instance, when that person comes into contact with cats, he or she may have inflamed sinuses, watery eyes, a runny nose, and hives. In some cases, these reactions happen in response to dust and mold, too.

Since Xyzal and Zyrtec are both antihistamines, they are both used to treat allergy symptoms. 

Some of the symptoms antihistamines treat:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy skin
  • Watering eyes

How severe allergies are depends on the person. For some people, allergies are a minor irritation For others, they can create life-threatening emergencies. Anaphylaxis is this form of extreme allergic reaction. Life-threatening anaphylactic reactions typically happen in reaction to insect bites and stings, particular foods, certain medications, and latex.

Discuss Xyzal and Zyrtec With Your Doctor

With every drug and medication, it is important to discuss it with your primary healthcare provider and an allergist.

From there, it is important individuals share with their healthcare team all of the over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and supplements that are currently part of daily life. This includes antidepressants, sedatives, sleep aides, and more. Then, a doctor can talk about any possible interactions and also have your medical history in mind. Liver disease or kidney disease could be an issue. They can also make lifestyle recommendations, such as avoiding alcohol while taking Xyzal or Zyrtec.

Also, women should let their doctor know if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. When pregnant, there are additional precautions to take. In the same way, women who are breastfeeding their infants should avoid Xyzal or Zyrtec as it could get into the breastmilk.

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How do Antihistamines Work?

Histamines are chemicals within a person’s immune system. The immune system makes histamines to assist your body in clearing what the immune system sees as a threat from your system. 

When a person has allergies, the body is confusing something not dangerous, such as pollen, with an immune system threat. From there, the immune system produces histamine, which is working to rid the body of the allergen, whether that is through sneezing, watery eyes, or itchy skin.

What antihistamines, such as Zyrtec and Xyzal, do is work to block the histamine affecting a person’s body. When someone takes antihistamines prior to coming into contact with an allergen, they can stop a reaction from happening. If a reaction has already started, they can assist in reducing the impact of the allergen. 

Seasonal Allergy Relief

Those who suffer from pet or food allergies often learn to avoid allergy triggers. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, sometimes referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, it is common for additional steps to be taken when there are blooming trees and flowers. 

To reduce seasonal allergies, consider staying inside on dry, windy days during allergy season. Instead, opt to be outside when the air has less pollen, such as after it rains. Also, if there is someone in the family who does not suffer from allergies, have them do outdoor chores such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and gardening.

Within a home, seasonal allergy sufferers can take advantage of air conditioning and high-efficiency filters for forced air heating systems. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can also be used in air purifiers and vacuum cleaners. Tuning into local broadcasts or websites that forecast pollen levels can be helpful in planning daily actives as well.

Some also find it helpful to rinse nasal passages. Saline solutions sold over the counter are an inexpensive and quick way to clear nasal passages, flushing out allergens and mucus. Choose between a net pot or a squeeze bottle for nasal irrigation. When using a net pot, only use water that is sterile, distilled, or filtered properly for the purpose. Talk to a healthcare professional about the best option.

Over-the-Counter Allergy Medicine can Help

There are many popular antihistamine allergy medications. Discuss options with a healthcare provider to move forward with allergy relief.

Below is a list of the allergy drugs followed by the brand name many associate with the drug in parenthesis:

Talk to your doctor and see an allergist when necessary. Together, your healthcare team can give you a personal approach for your allergies. 

Looking for more reading about allergies? Check out these related articles –
Allergy Drug and Prescription Guide
Allegra vs Claratin

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

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