GENERIC NAME: Cetirizine

COMMON BRANDS: Zyrtec, Aller-Tec, All Day Allergy, Equate Allergy Relief

Cetirizine is an anti-allergy non-prescription medication you can buy over-the-counter at any pharmacy. The medication comes in tablets, capsules, and syrups. Typically taken just once a day, and it begins to work instantly. Generally, cetirizine is a safe and effective drug, but you should be aware of certain warnings and precautions when taking this drug.

What are the uses of Cetirizine?

Cetirizine is an antihistamine drug used to relieve allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, itching eyes/nose, hives, sneezing, and itching. It acts by blocking some natural substance like histamine that your body makes during the allergic reaction.

Cetirizine does not stop hives or prevent or treat a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis. Hence, if your doctor has recommended epinephrine to treat allergic reactions, do not forget to carry your epinephrine injector with you. Do not replace cetirizine in place of your epinephrine.

How to use Cetirizine?

If you are using over-the-counter medications to self-treat, read all the directions present on the product package label before using this medication. If you have any queries, inform your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication to you, use it as instructed, usually once a daily.

If you are advised chewable tablets, chew each tablet thoroughly and swallow. If you are using the rapidly soluble tablet, allow the tablet to dissolve on the tongue and then swallow, with or without water. In case if you are prescribed a liquid form of this medication, measure the dosage quantity carefully using a measuring device or spoon. Don’t use a household spoon because you may not have the correct dose.

The dosage depends on your age, medical condition, and the patient’s response to the treatment. Don’t increase your dose or use this medication more than directed.

Inform your physician if your allergy symptoms do not get better, if your hives do not get better after 3 days of medication, or if your hives continue for more than 6 weeks. Seek medical advice immediately if your condition worsens or if you think you have a serious medical illness (for example a very serious allergic reaction/anaphylaxis).

What are the side effects of Cetirizine?

Tiredness, drowsiness, and dry mouth may occur. A stomach ache may occur especially in children. Inform your physician or pharmacist immediately, if any of these effects continue or worsen.

If your physician has prescribed this medicine, remember that he or she has found that the benefits to you are greater than the chance of side effects. Many people using this medicine do not have severe side effects.

Inform your doctor immediately if you have any severe side effects, including difficulty in urinating, weakness.

A very severe allergic reaction to this medication is uncommon. However, get medical help immediately if you see any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including rash, itching or swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, difficulty in breathing.

This is not a full list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not recorded above, contact your physician or pharmacist.

What are the precautions while using Cetirizine?

Before using cetirizine, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, to hydroxyzine, or to levocetirizine; or if you suffer from any additional allergies. This product may include certain inactive ingredients which can produce allergic reactions or some additional problems. Ask your physician or pharmacist for further information.

Before starting this medication, inform your physician or pharmacist your medical history especially if you suffer from difficulty in urination (for example due to enlarged prostate), kidney impairment, or liver disease.

If you are using this medication to manage hives, tell your doctor immediately if you suffer from some other symptoms because they may be symptoms of a more serious ailment, hives that are of strange color, hives that seem bruised or blistered, hives that don’t itch.

This drug may produce you drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you severely drowsy. Don’t drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs sharpness unless you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Discuss with your doctor if you use marijuana.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor about all the products you use including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.

If you are pregnant, this medication can be used only when needed. Talk to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits.

This medicine passes into breast milk. Seek advice from your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the drug Interactions of Cetirizine?

Drug interactions may alter depending on how your medications work or increase your risk for severe side effects. This record does not contain all likely drug interactions. Have a list of all the products you use including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products and inform it to your physician and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or modify the dosage of any medications without your doctor’s permission.

Notify your doctor or pharmacist if you use other products that produce drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (for example codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana, drugs for sleep or anxiety (for example alprazolam,zolpidem, lorazepam), muscle relaxants (for example cyclobenzaprine, carisoprodol), or other antihistamines (for example chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine).

Read the labels on all your medications like an allergy or cough-and-cold products because they may include ingredients that produce drowsiness. Seek help from your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Do not use with any other topical antihistamines like diphenhydramine cream, ointment, spray because it may cause some severe side effects.

Cetirizine is very alike to hydroxyzine and levocetirizine. Do not use these medications along with cetirizine.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory test results such as allergy skin testing, possibly producing false test results. Inform your laboratory personnel and all your doctors about your usage of this drug.

What are the forms and strengths of Cetirizine Hydrochloride?

Form: Tablet
Strength: 5mg, 10mg

Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strength: 10mg

Form: Chewable tablet
Strength: 5mg, 10mg

Form: Syrup
Strength: 5mg per 5mL

Form: Solution
Strength: 5mg per 5mL

What is the dosage of Cetirizine?

For Allergies/Urticaria/Hay Fever:


For perennial and seasonal allergy and vasomotor rhinitis, relief of symptoms from colds, angioedema, urticaria, anaphylactic reactions, pruritus, allergic conjunctivitis:
5-10mg orally each day, depending on the severity of symptoms; do not exceed more than 10mg each day.

For Perennial and Seasonal Allergic and Vasomotor Rhinitis:


Children (under 2 years)

There is no established study on safety and efficacy and must be avoided.

Children (2-6 years)

2.5mg (0.5 teaspoons) oral solution, orally each day; can increase to 5mg orally each day or 2.5mg orally twice a day; not to exceed 5mg a day.

Children (above 6 years)

5-10mg orally Day, depending on the severity of symptoms; not to exceed 10 mg a day.


Older adults (over 77 years)

5mg a day orally and may increase to 10mg a day maximum, depending on the severity of symptoms and not exceed 5mg a day.


TheMedPharma has made every effort to make sure that all the information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this website should not be considered as a substitute for the advice, knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or licensed health care professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subjected to changes if required. The lack of warnings or other information for a given drug does not mean that the drug or its combination is safe, effective or appropriate for use in all patients.