Generic name: cetirizine (se-TIR-i-zeen)
Drug class: Antihistamines
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 5, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antipruritic
Pharmacologic Class: Antihistamine, Less-Sedating
Chemical Class: Piperazine (class)
Uses for cetirizine
Cetirizine injection is used to treat adults and children 6 months of age and older with acute urticaria (hives, itching, or redness of the skin).
Cetirizine is an antihistamine that works by preventing the effects of a substance called histamine, which is produced by the body. Histamine can cause itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. It can close up the bronchial tubes (air passages of the lungs) and make breathing difficult.
Cetirizine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using cetirizine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For cetirizine, the following should be considered:
The dose of cetirizine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of cetirizine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cetirizine injection in children 6 months of age and older. Safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 6 months of age.
Use of cetirizine injection in children younger than 6 years of age with kidney or liver disease is not recommended.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cetirizine injection in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving cetirizine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using cetirizine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Calcium Oxybate
- Chloral Hydrate
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Nitrous Oxide
- Opium Alkaloids
- Potassium Oxybate
- Ropeginterferon Alfa-2b-njft
- Sodium Oxybate
- Tolonium Chloride
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using cetirizine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use cetirizine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of cetirizine
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child cetirizine in a medical facility. It is given through a needle placed into one of your veins.
Precautions while using cetirizine
Your doctor will check your progress closely while you or your child are receiving cetirizine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it.
Cetirizine may cause some people to become drowsy, sleepy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to cetirizine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Cetirizine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor or dentist before taking any of the above while you or your child are receiving cetirizine.
Cetirizine side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- relaxed and calm
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Acid or sour stomach
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- change or loss of taste
- feeling hot
- increased sweating
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
Incidence not known
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
- Should cetirizine be taken at bedtime or upon awakening? And before or after any particular meal?
- Is Generic Zyrtec Available?
- Can you take antihistamines when pregnant?
More about cetirizine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- 254 Reviews
- Drug class: antihistamines
- Drug Information
- Cetirizine Capsules and Tablets
- Cetirizine Chewable Tablets
- Cetirizine Orally Disintegrating Tablets
- Cetirizine Injection
- Cetirizine Liquid
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.