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What is the difference between Cetirizine HCI and Cetirizine HCL?


Stephen Treloar 13 Feb 2015

They are exactly the same, writing HCL instead of HCL is strangely lazy. In both, the H stands for Hydrogen and the Cl is chlorine.
Many medications use acid as a base; hydrochloric acid, sulphates, citrate and tartrates from memory

Votes: +1
Stephen Treloar 13 Feb 2015

HCL instead of HCl apologies

samanthaaa6969 13 Feb 2015

Thank you very much for answering me. I have regular allergy symptoms every day (ex. runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, ect.). I normally buy a low dose off brand version of Benadryl a couple times a day. Every once in a while I break out in hives that are caused by an unknown (according to my doctors) allergic reaction. It starts as a few tiny bumps but can get as bad as putting me into the hospital (again). So I was getting prescribed Citrizine 10 mg tablets for when I would break out in the hives. So the antihistamines I take for the sniffles are the same as for my hives?

Dan Condon 13 Aug 2017

Why does the HCI just quickly melt in my mouth immediately while HCL remains firm for minutes. Further HCL seems more effective.

dbk55 11 April 2019

@Dan Condon:
There is no HCI. That would be H for hydrogen; C for carbon; I for iodine. The correct three letters are HCl, where the last letter is a lowercase "L". That is H for Hydrogen and Cl for chlorine. It is easy to mistake the lowercase "L" for an uppercase "I".

As for the differences in effectiveness that you perceive, cetirizine comes in both quick-dissolve and regular tablet forms. The quick-dissolve form falls apart and dissolves in your mouth. You don't need to drink liquid to take it. The drug is partly absorbed into your bloodstream in your mouth. The rest is washed down your throat with your saliva, then absorbed the same as the regular tablet.


Compromises have to be made to make quick-dissolve form, including that they are extremely sensitive to humidity, so each one must stay in its sealed pouch (which must not be punctured or partially opened) until it is used. If that seal is broken for a substantial time before the tablet is used, the drug will deteriorate fairly rapidly due to humidity in the air.

If you find that the quick-release tablets work less well for you, and you don't need the waterless feature, then just buy the regular tablets. free discount card

Related topics

hives, allergies, hay fever, cetirizine, allergic rhinitis

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