Why Didn’t Loratidine Work At Controlling My Allergies?

Summary: Loratadine (generic Claritin) is one of three non-drowsy antihistamines that I see used on a consistent basis. It’s also, based on my experience and feedback from patients, the least effective of the three. A switch to another anti-histamine is often effective. You may want to consider switching to a formulation that has a decongestant in it as well. Like generic Zyrtec-D.

Dear Curtis: I’ve noticed that since the cottonwood trees have started shedding their cotton my head has clogged up, my eyes are red and watering and my nose is running. I haven’t gone to the doctor for it. But it happens every year and then eventually goes away. I’m sure it’s allergies. The only thing is last year the pharmacist recommended loratadine. It didn’t do a thing. But I’m so miserable. Is there anything else you might recommend? If loratadine is an allergy pill why didn’t it work?

You’d be amazed how often I hear this same type of story. A person has allergies. They take an allergy medication like loratadine (generic Claritin). And it doesn’t work.

First of all, there are a number of allergy medications. Some in the same class. For example, loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are all ‘non-drowsy’ anti-histamines. But, even though they are in the same class doesn’t mean you’ll respond to each of them in the same way.

I’ve had people, like yourself, utterly fail to see results with loratadine, but get relief with fexofenadine or cetirizine. Why? I don’t exactly know. They’re suppose to act in the same way. But as time has gone along I’ve learned one thing: each person responds to medications in different ways. Often very unpredictable ways.

So, I wouldn’t hesitate to try another allergy medication. If I were to recommend one to start with it would be Zyrtec (cetirizine). It doesn’t work for everyone but the patients who I get feedback from who get relief often times use Zyrtec. Ironically, the patients who claim that their allergy pill didn’t work are, more often than not, using Claritin.

One Other Option

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)  before but you may find it to be helpful for you. It’s a decongestant and may help the feeling that your head has clogged up. The downside is it makes some folks pretty jittery and can make it difficult to get to sleep. But, I doubt you’re sleeping that great right now with the symptoms you have.

Zyrtec-D is available in a generic (cetirizine-pseudoephedrine). In most states you can buy it over-the-counter. Technically, it is behind the pharmacy counter, but you don’t need a prescription for it. You will need to show your license and sign that you got some. It’s a way for states and pharmacies to track how much of the product certain people have bought as the pseudoephedrine component is used to make methamphetamine.

Personally, I think you’ll see better results with Zyrtec. I would seriously consider getting some Zyrtec D to help with the congestion as well. Also, I’d appreciate knowing how you did and if it helped at all?


  1. […] it’s always been surprising to me that people have reported these differences. After all, both of these drugs are in the same class of medications and basically act in the same […]

  2. […] Personally, I’ve always preferred Zyrtec over Claritin. That’s not only based on my personal experience but that of patients who’ve given plenty of feedback over the last decade plus. […]

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