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- What is cetirizine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for cetirizine?
- What are the side effects of cetirizine?
- What is the dosage for cetirizine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with cetirizine?
- Is cetirizine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about cetirizine?
What is cetirizine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Cetirizine is a non-sedating antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-1) receptors on cells. It is similar to the other second generation antihistamines loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra) and azelastine (Astelin). Histamine is a chemical that is responsible for many of the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, for example, swelling of the lining of the nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Histamine is released from histamine-storing cells (mast cells) and then attaches to other cells that have receptors for histamine. The attachment of the histamine to the receptors causes the cells to be "activated," releasing other chemicals that produce the effects that we associate with allergy, for example, sneezing. Certirizine blocks one type of receptor for histamine (the H1 receptor) and thus prevents activation of H1 receptor-containing cells by histamine. Unlike the first-generation antihistamines, cetirizine and other second-generation antihistamines do not readily enter the brain from the blood, and, therefore, they cause less drowsiness. Cetirizine may cause more drowsiness than other second-generation antihistamines. The FDA approved cetirizine in September 1996.
What brand names are available for cetirizine?
Is cetirizine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for cetirizine?
Yes, OTC (yes)
What are the uses for cetirizine?
Cetirizine is used for the relief of symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis due to allergens such as ragweed, grass and tree pollens in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Symptoms treated effectively include sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose and eyes, tearing, and redness of the eyes.
Cetirizine is used for the relief of symptoms associated with perennial allergic rhinitis due to allergens such as dust mites, animal dander and molds in adults and children 6 months of age and older. Symptoms treated effectively include sneezing, runny nose, postnasal discharge, itchy nose and eyes, and tearing.
Hives and itching
Cetirizine is used for the treatment of the uncomplicated skin manifestations of chronic hives in adults and children 6 months of age and older. It significantly reduces the occurrence, severity, and duration of hives and significantly reduces itching.
What are the side effects of cetirizine?
Side effects that have been reported with cetirizine include:
- sleepiness (occurs in 14% of patients),
- dry mouth,
- jitteriness, and
- sore throat.
Other important but rare side effects include:
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What is the dosage for cetirizine?
The recommended dose is 5 to 10 mg daily depending on the severity of symptoms.
Which drugs or supplements interact with cetirizine?
Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-Phyllin)reduces the breakdown of cetirizine by 16% and can increase blood levels of cetirizine. Drugs that cause drowsiness may add to drowsiness resulting from cetirizine.
Is cetirizine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Cetirizine has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Available evidence suggests that risk to the developing fetus is low.
Cetirizine is excreted in human breast milk.
What else should I know about cetirizine?
What preparations of cetirizine are available?
Tablets: 5 and 10 mg. Tablets (Chewable or orally disintegrating): 10 mg. Syrup: 5 mg/5 ml.
How should I keep cetirizine stored?
Cetirizine should be stored in a dry place at 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Cetirizine (Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy, Zyrtec Hives) is a drug used to treat seasonal or perennial allergies and hives. Review side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of Urticaria
Urticaria, also known as hives, is a skin rash with red, raised itchy bumps. They may also burn or sting. The whelts often last...
Picture of Fixed Drug Eruption
Fixed drug eruption. FDEs occur as an allergic reaction to drug exposure and appear as round, dark spots on the skin. Pain and...
Related Disease Conditions
Cough: 19 Tips on How to Stop a Cough
Coughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe cough including irritants like cigarette and secondhand smoke, pollution, air fresheners, medications like beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, the common cold, GERD, lung cancer, and heart disease.Natural and home remedies to help cure and soothe a cough include staying hydrated, gargle salt water, use cough drops or lozenges, use herbs and supplements like ginger, mint, licorice, and slippery elm, and don't smoke. Over-the-counter products (OTC)to cure and soothe a cough include cough suppressants and expectorants, and anti-reflux drugs. Prescription drugs that help cure a cough include narcotic medications, antibiotics, inhaled steroids, and anti-reflux drugs like proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, for example, omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and pantoprazole (Protonix).
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
Chronic rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) causes runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion. Post-nasal drip is drainage of mucus from the sinuses into the throat. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
How Long Does an Allergic Reaction Last?
Allergic reactions may last for varying lengths of time. They may take a few hours to a few days to disappear. If the exposure to the allergen continues, such as during a spring pollen season, allergic reactions may last for longer periods such as a few weeks to months.
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin. Most often the cause of hives is unknown. Sometimes it is a sign of an allergic reaction to food or medications, but the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown. Dermatographism and swelling (angioedema) may accompany hives. Treatment to get rid of hives and alleviate symptoms typically includes antihistamines.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Indoor allergens are substances that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Common sources of indoor allergens include dust mites, cockroaches, molds, pets, and plants. Avoiding indoor allergens is one way to reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics may cause eye allergies. Allergic eye conditions include allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Dry eye, tear-duct obstruction, and conjunctivitis due to infection are frequently confused with eye allergies. Eye allergies may be treated with topical antihistamines, decongestants, topical mast-cell stabilizers, topical anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic medications, and allergy shots.
How Do You Get Rid of Hives Fast?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your hives and speed up your recovery.
Are Hives (Urticaria) Contagious?
Hives are not contagious are triggered by an allergic response to a substance. Symptoms and signs of hives include a raised, itchy red rash on the skin. An individual should seek medical care for hives if he or she develops dysphagia, wheezing, shortness of breath, or throat tightening.
What Is the Best Treatment for Urticaria?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your urticaria symptoms and speed up your recovery.
Allergy Treatment Begins at Home
Avoiding allergy triggers at home is one of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation are a few ways to allergy-proof the home. Cleaning, vacuuming, and using HEPA air filters also helps control allergies.
Are Hives and Rash the Same Thing?
Learn how to tell the difference between a rash and hives and how to treat both.
What Are the Main Causes of Urticaria (Hives)?
Hives are mostly an allergic reaction, appearing quickly and disappearing as fast. Learn what causes them, when to see a doctor and how to avoid them.
What Is Allergic Cascade?
The allergic cascade refers to allergic reactions that happen in the body in response to allergens. A variety of immune cells and chemical messengers participate in the allergic cascade. Symptoms of the allergic cascade range from mild swelling and itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock. Allergen avoidance and medications are used to prevent or treat allergies.
Sinus Infection vs. Allergies
Both sinus infections and allergies (allergic rhinitis) cause symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose and fatigue. Sinus infection (known as sinusitis) is inflammation of the sinuses, caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi (molds). Allergic rhinitis occurs when certain allergies cause nasal symptoms. When a person with allergies breathes in an allergen, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander, symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, itching, sneezing, and fatigue occur.
Why Won’t My Allergy Symptoms Go Away?
Allergies happen when your body's immune system reacts to certain substances as though they are harmful. Allergy symptoms may not go away unless you avoid your triggers, stick to your medications, find the right combination of medications, and consider surgery.
What Are the Symptoms of Ragweed Allergy?
The common symptoms of ragweed allergy are sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery red eyes, headache, nasal congestion, eye swelling, rashes and coughing.
What Is the Best Treatment for a Jellyfish Sting?
Jellyfish are the most common creatures found in seawater around the world. Jellyfish tentacles have stinging cells called nematocysts that secrete a poisonous substance (venom). The best treatment for jellyfish stings includes rinsing the area with water or vinegar, removing the tentacles, soaking the affected area in hot water, taking medications to ease itching and pain and seeking medical attention, if necessary.
Do Allergy Desensitization Shots Work?
Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to harmless substances called allergens. Allergy desensitization shots make your body less likely to react to allergen.
How Do You Know if You Are Allergic to Pollen?
Pollen is a powdery yellow grain that fertilizes other plants of the same species. The only way to know for sure if a person has pollen allergy is to see a board-certified allergist for allergy testing.
Should I Exercise Outside if I Have Allergies?
An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overresponds to a foreign substance. With the right treatment and precautions, you can completely eliminate allergy flare-ups during your outdoor workout.
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Medications & Supplements
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Antihistamines (Oral)
- Drug Interactions
- loratadine, Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin
- fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D)
- fexofenadine (Allegra, Mucinex Allergy)
- loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
- Dymista (azelastine hydrochloride and fluticasone propionate)
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- Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)
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- Quzyttir (cetirizine)
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