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What is Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)?
Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride) is an over-the-counter (OTC) histamine H1-receptor antagonist used to relieve symptoms associated with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis and to treat uncomplicated skin manifestations of chronic idiopathic hives.
Common side effects of Xyzal include:
- urinary retention,
- runny or stuffy nose,
- dry mouth,
- sore throat,
- vomiting, and
- ear infection (otitis media).
Serious side effects of Xyzal include:
- involuntary repetitive movements of the mouth and face,
- severe low blood pressure,
- still birth,
- myoclonus, and
- extrapyramidal symptoms.
Drug interactions of Xyzal include alcohol, other medicines that can make you drowsy (cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotics, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety), ritonavir, or theophylline.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Xyzal in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, Xyzal should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. No peri- and post-natal animal studies have been conducted with levocetirizine.
What are the side effects of Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)?
The most common adverse reactions (rate ≥2% and > placebo) were somnolence, nasopharyngitis, fatigue, dry mouth, and pharyngitis in subjects 12 years of age and older, and pyrexia, somnolence, cough, and epistaxis in children 6 to 12 years of age.
In addition to the adverse reactions reported during clinical trials and listed above, adverse events have also been identified during post-approval use of Xyzal. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Adverse events of hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, increased appetite, angioedema, fixed drug eruption, pruritus, rash and urticaria, convulsion, paraesthesia, dizziness, tremor, dysgeusia, vertigo, movement disorders (including dystonia and oculogyric crisis), aggression and agitation, hallucinations, depression, insomnia, suicidal ideation, visual disturbances, blurred vision, palpitations, tachycardia, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, hepatitis, dysuria, urinary retention, myalgia, and edema have been reported.
Besides these events reported under treatment with Xyzal, other potentially severe adverse events have been reported from the post-marketing experience with cetirizine. Since levocetirizine is the principal pharmacologically active component of cetirizine, one should take into account the fact that the following adverse events could also potentially occur under treatment with Xyzal: orofacial dyskinesia, severe hypotension, cholestasis, glomerulonephritis, still birth, tic, myoclonus, and extrapyramidal symptoms.
Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Use of Xyzal has been associated with somnolence, fatigue, asthenia, and urinary retention.
Clinical Trials Experience
The short-term (exposure up to 6 weeks) safety data for adults and adolescents are based upon eight clinical trials in which 1896 patients (825 males and 1071 females aged 12 years and older) were treated with Xyzal 2.5, 5, or 10 mg once daily in the evening.
The short-term safety data from pediatric patients are based upon two clinical trials in which 243 children with allergic rhinitis (162 males and 81 females 6 to 12 years of age) were treated with Xyzal 5 mg once daily for 4 to 6 weeks, one clinical trial in which 114 children (65 males and 49 females 1 to 5 years of age) with allergic rhinitis or chronic idiopathic urticaria were treated with Xyzal 1.25 mg twice daily for 2 weeks, and one clinical trial in which 45 children (28 males and 17 females 6 to 11 months of age) with symptoms of allergic rhinitis or chronic urticaria were treated with Xyzal 1.25 mg once daily for 2 weeks.
The long-term (exposure of 4 or 6 months) safety data in adults and adolescents are based upon two clinical trials in which 428 patients (190 males and 238 females) with allergic rhinitis were exposed to treatment with Xyzal 5 mg once daily. Long term safety data are also available from an 18-month trial in 255 Xyzal-treated subjects 12-24 months of age.
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trial of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Adults And Adolescents 12 Years Of Age And Older
In studies up to 6 weeks in duration, the mean age of the adult and adolescent patients was 32 years, 44% of the patients were men and 56% were women, and the large majority (more than 90%) was Caucasian.
In these trials 43% and 42% of the subjects in the Xyzal 2.5 mg and 5 mg groups, respectively, had at least one adverse event compared to 43% in the placebo group.
In placebo-controlled trials of 1-6 weeks in duration, the most common adverse reactions were somnolence, nasopharyngitis, fatigue, dry mouth, and pharyngitis, and most were mild to moderate in intensity. Somnolence with Xyzal showed dose ordering between tested doses of 2.5, 5 and 10 mg and was the most common adverse reaction leading to discontinuation (0.5%).
Table 1 lists adverse reactions that were reported in greater than or equal to 2% of subjects aged 12 years and older exposed to Xyzal 2.5 mg or 5 mg in eight placebo-controlled clinical trials and that were more common with Xyzal than placebo.
Table 1: Adverse Reactions Reported in ≥2%* of Subjects Aged 12 Years and Older Exposed to Xyzal 2.5 mg or 5 mg Once Daily in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials 1-6 Weeks in Duration
|Adverse Reactions||Xyzal 2.5 mg|
(n = 421)
|Xyzal 5 mg|
(n = 1070)
(n = 912)
|Somnolence||22 (5%)||61 (6%)||16 (2%)|
|Nasopharyngitis||25 (6%)||40 (4%)||28 (3%)|
|Fatigue||5 (1%)||46 (4%)||20 (2%)|
|Dry Mouth||12 (3%)||26 (2%)||11 (1%)|
|Pharyngitis||10 (2%)||12 (1%)||9 (1%)|
|* Rounded to the closest unit percentage|
Additional adverse reactions of medical significance observed at a higher incidence than in placebo in adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older exposed to Xyzal are syncope (0.2%) and weight increased (0.5%).
Pediatric Patients 6 To 12 Years Of Age
A total of 243 pediatric patients 6 to 12 years of age received Xyzal 5 mg once daily in two short-term placebo controlled double-blind trials. The mean age of the patients was 9.8 years, 79 (32%) were 6 to 8 years of age, and 50% were Caucasian. Table 2 lists adverse reactions that were reported in greater than or equal to 2% of subjects aged 6 to 12 years exposed to Xyzal 5 mg in placebo-controlled clinical trials and that were more common with Xyzal than placebo.
Table 2: Adverse Reactions Reported in ≥2%* of Subjects Aged 6-12 Years Exposed to Xyzal 5 mg Once Daily in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials 4 and 6 Weeks in Duration
|Adverse Reactions||Xyzal 5 mg|
(n = 243)
(n = 240)
|Pyrexia||10 (4%)||5 (2%)|
|Cough||8 (3%)||2 (<1%)|
|Somnolence||7 (3%)||1 (<1%)|
|Epistaxis||6 (2%)||1 (<1%)|
|* Rounded to the closest unit percentage|
Pediatric Patients 1 To 5 Years Of Age
A total of 114 pediatric patients 1 to 5 years of age received Xyzal 1.25 mg twice daily in a two week placebo-controlled double-blind safety trial. The mean age of the patients was 3.8 years, 32% were 1 to 2 years of age, 71% were Caucasian and 18% were Black. Table 3 lists adverse reactions that were reported in greater than or equal to 2% of subjects aged 1 to 5 years exposed to Xyzal 1.25 mg twice daily in the placebo-controlled safety trial and that were more common with Xyzal than placebo.
Table 3: Adverse Reactions Reported in ≥2%* of Subjects Aged 1-5 Years Exposed to Xyzal 1.25 mg Twice Daily in a 2-Week Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
|Adverse Reactions||Xyzal 1.25 mg Twice Daily|
(n = 114)
(n = 59)
|Pyrexia||5 (4%)||1 (2%)|
|Diarrhea||4 (4%)||2 (3%)|
|Vomiting||4 (4%)||2 (3%)|
|Otitis Media||3 (3%)||0 (0%)|
|* Rounded to the closest unit percentage|
Pediatric Patients 6 To 11 Months Of Age
A total of 45 pediatric patients 6 to 11 months of age received Xyzal 1.25 mg once daily in a two week placebo-controlled double-blind safety trial. The mean age of the patients was 9 months, 51% were Caucasian and 31% were Black. Adverse reactions that were reported in more than 1 subject (i.e. greater than or equal to 3% of subjects) aged 6 to 11 months exposed to Xyzal 1.25 mg once daily in the placebo-controlled safety trial and that were more common with Xyzal than placebo included diarrhea and constipation which were reported in 6 (13%) and 1 (4%) and 3 (7%) and 1 (4%) children in the Xyzal and placebo-treated groups, respectively.
Long-Term Clinical Trials Experience
In two controlled clinical trials, 428 patients (190 males and 238 females) aged 12 years and older were treated with Xyzal 5 mg once daily for 4 or 6 months. The patient characteristics and the safety profile were similar to that seen in the short-term studies. Ten (2.3%) patients treated with Xyzal discontinued because of somnolence, fatigue or asthenia compared to 2 (<1%) in the placebo group.
There are no long term clinical trials in children below 12 years of age with allergic rhinitis or chronic idiopathic urticaria.
Laboratory Test Abnormalities
Elevations of blood bilirubin and transaminases were reported in <1% of patients in the clinical trials. The elevations were transient and did not lead to discontinuation in any patient.
In addition to the adverse reactions reported during clinical trials and listed above, the following adverse reactions have also been identified during postapproval use of Xyzal. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
- Cardiac disorders: palpitations, tachycardia
- Ear and labyrinth disorders: vertigo
- Eye disorders: blurred vision, visual disturbances
- Gastrointestinal disorders: nausea, vomiting
- General disorders and administration site conditions: edema
- Hepatobiliary disorders: hepatitis
- Immune system disorders: anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity
- Metabolism and nutrition disorders: increased appetite
- Musculoskeletal, connective tissues, and bone disorders: arthralgia, myalgia
- Nervous system disorders: dizziness, dysgeusia, febrile seizure, movement disorders (including dystonia and oculogyric crisis), paresthesia, seizure (reported in subjects with and without a known seizure disorder), tremor
- Psychiatric disorders: aggression and agitation, depression, hallucinations, insomnia, nightmare, suicidal ideation
- Renal and urinary disorders: dysuria, urinary retention
- Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders: dyspnea
- Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: angioedema, fixed drug eruption, pruritus, rash and urticaria
Besides these reactions reported under treatment with Xyzal, other potentially severe adverse events have been reported from the postmarketing experience with cetirizine. Since levocetirizine is the principal pharmacologically active component of cetirizine, one should take into account the fact that the following adverse events could also potentially occur under treatment with Xyzal.
- Cardiac disorders: severe hypotension
- Gastrointestinal disorders: cholestasis
- Nervous system disorders: extrapyramidal symptoms, myoclonus, orofacial dyskinesia, tic
- Pregnancy, puerperium and perinatal conditions: stillbirth
- Renal and urinary disorders: glomerulonephritis
- Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP); rebound pruritus -pruritus within a few days after discontinuation of cetirizine, usually after long-term use (e.g. months to years) of cetirizine.
What drugs interact with Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)?
In vitro data indicate that levocetirizine is unlikely to produce pharmacokinetic interactions through inhibition or induction of liver drug-metabolizing enzymes. No in vivo drug-drug interaction studies have been performed with levocetirizine. Drug interaction studies have been performed with racemic cetirizine.
Antipyrine, Azithromycin, Cimetidine, Erythromycin, Ketoconazole, Theophylline, And Pseudoephedrine
Pharmacokinetic interaction studies performed with racemic cetirizine demonstrated that cetirizine did not interact with antipyrine, pseudoephedrine, erythromycin, azithromycin, ketoconazole, and cimetidine. There was a small decrease (~16%) in the clearance of cetirizine caused by a 400 mg dose of theophylline. It is possible that higher theophylline doses could have a greater effect.
Ritonavir increased the plasma AUC of cetirizine by about 42% accompanied by an increase in half-life (53%) and a decrease in clearance (29%) of cetirizine. The disposition of ritonavir was not altered by concomitant cetirizine administration.
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Related Disease Conditions
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin that is usually a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergy may be to food or medications, but usually the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown.
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.
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.
Fragrances and preservatives in cosmetics may cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms include redness, itching, and swelling after the product comes in contact with the person's skin. Treatment typically involves the use of over-the-counter cortisone creams.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs of a food allergy reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Peanut allergies causes signs and symptoms that include hives, itching, redness, and a rash. Severe reactions may cause decreased blood pressure, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral changes. Someone with a peanut allergy should have an EpiPen with them at all times.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 vs. Allergies
Though there is some overlap in allergy and COVID-19 signs and symptoms there are also significant differences. Symptoms that they have in common include headache, fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and sore throat. Fever does not occur with allergies but is one of the defining symptoms of COVID-19 infections.
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin or eyes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, and anxiety. The most common drugs that people are allergic to include penicillins and penicillin type drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine. Treatment may involve antihistamines or corticosteroids. An EpiPen may be used for life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms.
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can either be delayed and cause a skin rash or immediate, which can lead to anaphylaxis. Avoiding latex is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.