This article will discuss how cetirizine works against allergies, its use, side effects, and precautions to be taken while treating it. 

How is cetirizine beneficial in treating allergies and its various symptoms?

Allergic reactions are your body’s normal response to harmless substances (insect stings, pollens, mold, certain drugs, latex, and particular food). If you have been diagnosed with allergies, your physician will most likely prescribe you an anti-allergic drug to treat it. Cetirizine is an anti-allergic drug widely prescribed in Canada to treat various allergic reactions. 

How does cetirizine help with allergies?

When the body encounters an allergen, it produces a chemical called histamine. This chemical causes most of the symptoms related to the allergy. 

Cetirizine belongs to the antihistaminic class of medication. This class of drugs works by blocking the action of the natural chemical histamine.  

Cetirizine can be prescribed alone or combined with other drugs of similar action to reduce allergies. Cetirizine does not prevent allergic skin reactions or hives. However, it is used to treat itching and redness caused by hives. 

Cetirizine can also relieve allergy symptoms such as hay fever, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, watery eyes, itchy nose, or throat. 

Cetirizine Prescription and use for allergies

Cetirizine is available as a standard tablet, an extended-release tablet, a chewable tablet, and a syrup. It is usually prescribed once a day that can be taken with or without food. To help you remember, you should try and take medicine around the same time every day. 

You should follow the instructions on the prescription label. You can ask your health worker in case of any queries. Take cetirizine as directed by your pharmacist or physician. Do not take more or less than prescribed. 

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If you miss a dose, take medicine as soon as you remember it. However, skip the missed dose and follow your regular dosing schedule if it is time for a second dose. You should not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose. 

If your hives do not improve during the first three days of cetirizine treatment, stop taking the medication and call your doctor.

Adults and children above six years of age can take cetirizine. The normal dose for adults or children above six years is 10 mg per day. You should not take more than 10 mg per day. If your allergies are mild, you may be prescribed a 5 mg dose twice daily. 

Cetirizine Progress of treatment-short and long term

The progress of treatment may differ for everyone. Usually, Cetrizine acts within hours to manage allergy symptoms. If you use it for the long-term, the symptoms become less intense once you stop taking medicine. But taking Cetrizine for an unusual time or misusing it may have adverse effects. So, it is advisable to take medicine as prescribed by your doctor.

Cetirizine Common side effects

Like all medications, cetirizine also has some side effects. It is possible that you may not experience any or some of the side effects. You should inform your physician if the below mentioned side effects are severe or do not away: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting 
  • Excessive tiredness 
  • Stomach pain 

Some of the side effects can be serious. You should inform your physician immediately if you experience it: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 

Cetirizine may cause other side effects. Call your health care professional if you experience any unusual or persistent effects while on treatment with the medication. 

If you are on cetirizine to treat hives and if you develop any of the following symptoms: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Swelling of the tongue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of consciousness 
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These are symptoms of life-threatening allergic reactions. You should get emergency help immediately. 

Other precautions while on Cetirizine

Please inform your doctor or pharmacist about being allergic to cetirizine or any of its ingredients. If you have any other allergies, do not forget to share the same with the health care professional. 

Inform your health worker about other prescription, non-prescription medications, and nutritional supplements that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or planning to take. 

Inform your doctor if you ever had kidney or liver disease. 

Pregnancy and Cetirizine

You should inform your physician if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while on treatment with Cetrizine, inform your doctor immediately. 

Cetirizine may make you drowsy

Cetirizine may make you feel drowsy. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. 

You should not consume alcoholic beverages while taking cetirizine, as alcohol can make you feel drowsier while taking the medication. 



Recommended reading for you

  1. Allergic Rhinitis Treatment With Cetirizine. Causes, Symptoms and How to treat. Explained.(Opens in a new browser tab)
  2. Allergic reactions. What to do in an emergency. Symptoms, treatment & causes explained.(Opens in a new browser tab)
  3. Urticaria: Types & Treatment with Cetirizine Allergy Medicine(Opens in a new browser tab)
  4. Dermatitis: Types & Treatment with Cetirizine Allergy Medicine(Opens in a new browser tab)
  5. Asthma and Allergy(Opens in a new browser tab)

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