Mix-Up Between Claritin D and Z-Pack

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between Claritin D and the Z-pack.

Question

Hi there. Yesterday I went to urgent care and the doctor told prescribed me Claritin D 24 hour 5-day pack. But when I went to the pharmacy they gave me Azithromycin 250 mg tablets which tells me to drink 2 the first day and then 1 daily after that. I just wanted to make sure if they are the same thing or not. Thanks so much for your help!

Asked by Luisa On Jun 25, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 03, 2018

Azithromycin is often known by its brand name “Z-Pak.” The typical directions for the Z-Pak is 500 mg on day 1 (2 tablets), followed by 250 mg (1 tablet) each day thereafter for a total of 5 days. This is not the same as Claritin-D. Claritin-D is a combination of loratadine and pseudoephedrine. It is possible the doctor misspoke or there is some sort of mix-up. Be sure to contact the office to clarify.


See more information about both drugs below. 

 

Information About Azithromycin

Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that can treat a variety of infections including bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, sexually transmitted infections, and more. Azithromycin can cover several types of bacteria, but is not effective in treating the flu, the common cold, or other viral infections.


Like most antibiotics, azithromycin may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Macrolides are more likely to cause these types of side effects, but azithromycin is one of the more tolerable drugs in the class. Another concern with azithromycin is that it can cause QT prolongation in patients with a past medical history related to the heart. Drug interactions can also be a concern so always check each new medication prior to starting a new therapy.

 

Information About Claritin-D

Claritin-D (loratadine + pseudoephedrine) is a commonly used allergy medication that is available behind the counter upon request from a Pharmacist. It is only available behind the counter because of the pseudoephedrine component. Pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant, but has abuse potential and has been used to illegally produce methamphetamine.


Claritin is a second-generation antihistamines that is less likely to cause drowsiness than first-generation antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). This is because first-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier, whereas the second-generation antihistamines usually do not.

 

Summary

Claritin-D (loratadine + pseudoephedrine) and azithromycin (Z-Pak) are different medications, but may be used together in some cases. For example, azithromycin could be used to treat the bacteria related to a sinus infection. Claritin-D could be used for symptom relief including congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. 

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Kevin Davis Pharm.D

Dr. Kevin Davis is a licensed pharmacist with experience in retail and hospital pharmacy. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2015 and a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Adventist University in 2017. He is also a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist since 2016.

About Zithromax (Azithromycin)

Zithromax (Azithromycin) is a macrolide antibiotic, similar to erythromycin. Advantages of azithromycin include that it has a long duration of action, making it able to be dosed once daily as well as the fact that is generally produces less gastrointestinal side effects than other antibiotics. While an effective antibiotic, it is associated with some major drug interactions and has been reported to cause heart arrhythmias in susceptible individuals. Azithromycin is available in multiple dosage forms including tablets, capsules and liquid suspensions. Azithromycin can be taken with or without food.

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