Having allergies can be frustrating at times, whether they're making your eyes itch, your nose run, or a combination of the two. So it's a relief to know that antihistamines, such as cetirizine hydrochloride – more commonly known as “cetirizine” – can help relieve your symptoms1.
In this article, we'll guide you through what cetirizine is used for and how it works, so you have a clear understanding.
What Is Cetirizine (HCl)?
Cetirizine is an antihistamine, which means it blocks histamine from binding to H1 receptors. It can come in multiple forms, including:
- Dissolve tablets
What Does Cetirizine Do?
When you have an allergic reaction, your immune system produces chemicals known as histamines to fight the allergen, and these are what cause your symptoms3.Cetirizine helps relieve these symptoms by blocking the effects of histamines, so your symptoms don't develop6.
What Is Cetirizine Used For?
You can use cetirizine to treat many common allergy symptoms, including5:
- Runny nose
- Itching nose or throat
- Itchy, watery eyes
Cetirizine Side-Effects & Safety
As with any medication, you may experience some side-effects when using cetirizine. Cetirizine side-effects shouldn’t require any additional medical treatment, and may pass normally as your body gets used to the medication4. These may include5:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
If side-effects become bothersome, speak to your doctor about other options.
You should also speak to your doctor before taking cetirizine if you’re5:
- Allergic to any medications
- Taking another prescribed medication
- Suffering from kidney or liver disease
If breast-feeding, use is not recommended. If you are pregnant, ask a health professional before use.
When taking cetirizine, alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness, so these should be avoided. Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.
When it comes to using cetirizine for kids, you should also consult a doctor first if the medication is for a child under two years old5.
Cetirizine Dosage Information
The appropriate dose of cetirizine is based on age and conditions5. Remember to read the label of your medication or speak to your doctor so you get the correct cetirizine dosage.
Speaking to a doctor can also help you determine5:
- How many doses you need in a day
- How long you should go between doses
- How long you need to take the medicine for
Does Zyrtec contain cetirizine?
Yes. Cetirizine HCl is the active ingredient in all Zyrtec allergy medications. Many of our products contain 10 mg of cetirizine to provide 24-hour relief from your allergy symptoms. Zyrtec-D contains 5 mg plus a decongestant and is a 12-hour product.
Where can I buy cetirizine?
Cetirizine is available in many over-the-counter allergy medications. Make sure you look at the active ingredients to find out if the medication you plan to take contains it. You can also find out where to buy Zyrtec medications, containing cetirizine, with our guide.
What can you not take with cetirizine?
Speak to your doctor to ensure it’s safe to do so if you’re on any other medications. You should also aim to avoid alcohol, sedatives and tranquillizers while taking an allergy medication containing cetirizine, as this may increase drowsiness6.