Cetirizine – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage


Drug trade name: Zyrtec

Category: Antihistamine

Generic name: cetirizine     

Introduction and Quick Information of Cetirizine:


Cetirizine is one of the effective antihistamine medications, which has the ability to minimize the natural chemicals called histamine inside the body. Histamine can result in the symptoms of itching, sneezing, runny nose along with watery eyes. Cetirizine can treat allergic and cold symptoms.

Is Cetirizine Approved by U.S. FDA?

The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved various dosage forms like tablet, oral-disintegrating tablet, chewable, syrup, and solution. The U.S. FDA has also approved over-the-counter consumption of cetirizine. 

Usage and Benefits of Cetirizine:

Some of the important uses and benefits of this medication are:

Cetirizine for Allergies and hives: Cetirizine is used to treat various allergic symptoms like cold, allergic skin disorders, allergic symptoms (watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itching), hives (urticaria), chronic idiopathic urticaria, anaphylaxis (serious allergic reaction), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), perennial allergic rhinitis caused by allergens, rhinorrhea, postnasal discharge, nasal pruritus (itchy nose) and ocular pruritus (Itchy eyes). Also, it may be used in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis and insect bites.

Side effects of Cetirizine:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat or tongue
  • Fast, pounding or uneven heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Weakness, tremors (uncontrolled shaking), or sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sore throat
  • Severe restless feeling
  • Problems with vision
  • Urinating not at all or less than normal
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Tired feeling
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Constipation.

General Recommended Dosages of Cetirizine:

Take this medication exactly in the same amount as it is prescribed by the healthcare provider or as directed on the label. But, never take extra quantity than recommended.

You can take Cetirizine with or without your meals.

You need to chew the chewable tablet before swallowing it.

Measure the liquid medicine with a special medicinal cup or dose-measuring spoon, but not with the regular spoon. In case you do not have that dose-measuring instrument, then ask the pharmacist to have one.


In Case I Take Overdose?

Some of the common overdose symptoms may include feeling nervous, drowsy or restless. If you find these symptoms, seek medical help.

In Case I Miss my Dose?

In case the dose is missed, take it as soon as you recall. If, it the time for the next dose then skip the missed dose.

Drug Interactions of Cetirizine:

There are around 598 major drugs which can interact with this medication. A few of them are:

  • hydrochlorothiazide/quinapril (Accuretic)
  • perindopril (Aceon)
  • acetaminophen/butalbital (Allzital)
  • acetylcarbromal (Paxarel)
  • fentanyl (Actiq)
  • promethazine (Adgan)
  • doxepin (Adapin)
  • biperiden (Akineton HCl)
  • quinapril (Accupril)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)

Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Cetirizine:

You should always keep in mind that taking care of your lifestyle and eating habits is essential if you are planning to undergo any sort of treatment. A healthy lifestyle can actually improve the efficacy of the medication. However, taking alcohol along with drugs can prove hazardous and can lead to thought impairment and central nervous system depression.

In addition, you should not take this drug in case you are allergic to cetirizine. Adults above 60 are recommended to take a lower dose than the normal. Always follow the instructions of your doctor carefully.

How Safe Is Cetirizine for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

It is actually not proven whether this medication is harmful to an unborn infant or not. However, inform your healthcare provider if you are expecting or planning to be pregnant during this treatment.

Pregnancy category: B (May be acceptable); C (Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks) for Zyrtec-D 12 Hour

Lactation: Excreted in breast milk; use not recommended.

Complications and Conditions Possible Due to Prolonged Use of Cetirizine:

The prolonged use of this drug can make you addicted. In case you stop using Cetirizine suddenly after taking it for longer, then this may lead to several adverse effects. Hence, you should first consult your doctor before you stop using this medication completely.

Availability of the Cetirizine:

This drug is available in both the forms: on prescription as well as over-the-counter.