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Application of Zyrtec

Brand Name(s): Zyrtec

Generic Name Cetirizine

What are cetirizine tablets?

CETIRIZINE (Zyrtec®) is an antihistamine. Antihistamines work by preventing the effects of a substance called histamine, which is produced by the body. Cetirizine is used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of hay fever and other types of allergy. It is also used to help relieve itching and hives. Generic cetirizine tablets are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take cetirizine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cetirizine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take cetirizine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take this medicine with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take more often than directed. You may need to take cetirizine for several days before your symptoms improve.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. Cetirizine has been used in children as young as 2 years old.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with cetirizine?

Because cetirizine can cause drowsiness, other medicines that also cause drowsiness may increase this effect of cetirizine. Some medicines that cause drowsiness are:

  • alcohol
  • barbiturates such as phenobarbital
  • certain antidepressants or tranquilizers (for example, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, thioridazine, trifluoperazine)
  • certain narcotics or pain medicines (for example, codeine, hydrocodone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, or propoxyphene)
  • certain medicines used for anxiety or to help produce sleep (for example, alprazolam, chloral hydrate, diazepam, lorazepam, meprobamate)
  • certain antihistamines used in cold medicines (for example, diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine)

Ask your prescriber or health care professional about other medicines that may increase the effect of cetirizine.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking cetirizine?

Serious side effects to cetirizine are rare. Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • any unusual effects that are bothersome

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • nausea or stomach upset
  • sore throat

What should I watch for while taking cetirizine?

Tell your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not start to improve in 2 or 3 days.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how cetirizine affects you.

Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water will help.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature, between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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