Cetirizine | Allergy Medication | Antihistamine | Allergy


by Allergy Guy

Cetirizine StructureCetirizine is an antihistamine used to manage allergy symptoms.  While some find it effective, others do not.  Cetirizine use may cause annoying problems.

This article is about Cetirizine and also refers to some branded medications using

What is Cetirizine

Cetirizine Structure

Cetirizine reduces allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes.

It also helps reduce hives (urticaria).

Cetirizine crosses the blood-brain barrier in much smaller amounts compared to previous generations of antihistamine.  This reduces but does not eliminate the annoying side-effects of sleepiness common in older allergy medication.

Cetirizine reduces eosinophil, one of the immune system’s tools for fighting multicellular parasites.   This could be a problem if you are exposed to such parasites.  On the other hand, eosinophil is also involved in allergic reactions.

Cetirizine also reduces Leukotriene B4 release.  Leukotriene B4 is involved in inflammation, so reducing it helps reduce allergic reaction symptoms.

It may help some patients with atopic dermatitis.

Cetirizine Hydrochloride

Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is a decongestent which is often combined with antihistamine medications.  When combined with Cetirizine, it is known as Cetirizine hydrochloride or Cetirizine-H.

Cetirizine Side Effects

This drug may cause sleepiness.  It may also cause fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, increased appetite, or nausea.

In children, it may cause stomach pain, diarrhea, headache, nosebleeds, sore throat,trouble sleeping, cough.

Like all drugs, there is a small chance of more severe side effects including severe allergic reaction (ironically, as it is used to treat allergies), dark urine, altered heartbeat, mood changes, seizures yellowing of skin or eyes, difficulty breathing, anxiety, increase in liver enzymes, and a host of other side-effects..

Cetirizine Itch

Some people experience severe itching after using Cetirizine for some time, and then quitting use.

According to some accounts, if you stop Cetirizine completely, it takes two weeks for itchiness to go away.  This may be the only way to quit.

Cetirizine Brands

Cetirizine is branded as Zyrtec in the USA and some other countries including Australia, UK.  In Canada it is sold as Reactine.  Cetirizine is available in many other countries as a generic drug.  Most countries allow Cetirizine to be sold over the counter.  In India it is a prescription drug, but like many other prescription drugs in India, Cetirizine is in practice available over the counter.


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