Cetirizine treats hay fever and seasonal allergies. Symptoms treated include: sneezing; runny nose; and itchy, red, watery eyes. May cause drowsiness.
Cetirizine is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication used for the treatment of hay fever, seasonal allergies, and hives. Cetirizine belongs to a group of drugs called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.
This medication comes as a tablet, chewable tablet, orally disintegrating tablet, extended-release tablet, capsule, and a syrup (liquid) to take by mouth, and is usually taken once a day with or without food.
Do not chew, divide, or break cetirizine extended-release tablets and capsules. Swallow extended release tablets and capsules whole.
Common side effects include drowsiness, headaches, excessive tiredness, and dry mouth. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how cetirizine affects you.
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Uses of Cetirizine
Cetirizine is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication used for the treatment of hay fever, seasonal allergies, and hives.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Cetirizine Brand Names
Cetirizine Drug Class
Cetirizine is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Cetirizine
Common side effects of cetirizine include drowsiness, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and dry mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- Aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair)
- Azelastine (Astelin)
- Ipratropium (Atrovent)
- Potassium Chloride
- Tiotropium (Spiriva)
- Umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta)
- anticholinergics such as glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa, Robinul), trospium (Sanctura), oxybutynin (Anturol, Gelnique, Oxytrol, Ditropan), solifenacin (Vesicare), dicyclomine (Bentyl), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), and atropine (Atropen, Sal-Tropine)
This is not a complete list of drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Cetirizine can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how cetirizine affects you.
Do not take cetirizine if you are allergic to cetirizine, hydroxyzine, or any of its ingredients.
Cetirizine Food Interactions
Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of cetirizine, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.
Before taking cetirizine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to cetirizine, hydroxyzine or to any of its ingredients
- have liver problems
- have kidney problems
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Cetirizine and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Cetirizine falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with cetirizine. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.
Cetirizine and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Cetirizine has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from cetirizine, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.
Take cetirizine exactly as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication comes as a tablet, chewable tablet, orally disintegrating tablet, extended-release tablet, capsule, and a syrup (liquid) to take by mouth.
Cetirizine is usually taken once a day with or without food. Do not chew, divide, or break cetirizine extended-release tablets and capsules. Swallow extended release tablets and capsules whole.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of cetirizine at the same time.
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:
- the condition being treated
- other medical conditions you have
- other medications you are taking
- how you respond to this medication
- your weight
- your height
- your age
- your gender
The recommended dose range of cetirizine for the treatment of hay fever, allergies, or hives is 5 to 10 mg. The maximum recommended dose for cetirizine is 10 mg daily.
If you take too much cetirizine, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.
If cetirizine is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
- Store cetirizine at room temperature.
- Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.