Generic Name: cetirizine (se-TIR-i-zeen)
Brand Name: Zyrtec
Cetirizine is used for:
Preventing or treating symptoms of hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies such as stuffy nose; runny nose; sneezing; itching of the nose and throat; and itchy, watery eyes. It is also used for preventing or treating chronic hives. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Cetirizine is an antihistamine. It works by blocking the action of histamine and reduces the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Do NOT use cetirizine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in cetirizine or to hydroxyzine
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using cetirizine:
Some medical conditions may interact with cetirizine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have kidney or liver problems or you are receiving dialysis
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with cetirizine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Perampanel or theophylline because they may increase the risk of cetirizine's side effects
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if cetirizine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use cetirizine:
Use cetirizine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take cetirizine by mouth with or without food.
- If you miss a dose of cetirizine and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use cetirizine.
Important safety information:
- Cetirizine may cause drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use cetirizine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using cetirizine.
- Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using cetirizine; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Cetirizine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to cetirizine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Cetirizine may interfere with skin allergy tests. If you are scheduled for a skin test, talk to your doctor. You may need to stop taking cetirizine for a few days before the tests.
- Use cetirizine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially drowsiness.
- Caution is advised when using cetirizine in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially stomach pain and trouble sleeping.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using cetirizine while you are pregnant. Cetirizine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking cetirizine.
Possible side effects of cetirizine:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Drowsiness; dry mouth; stomach pain (in children); tiredness; trouble sleeping (in children).
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); persistent fatigue.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of cetirizine:
Store cetirizine between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep cetirizine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about cetirizine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Cetirizine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take cetirizine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about cetirizine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to cetirizine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using cetirizine.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More about cetirizine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: antihistamines