Zyrtec (cetirizine)

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Brand Name

Zyrtec {McNeil}

Generic Name

cetirizine, pronounced se TIR a zeen


What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec is an antihistamine that helps to reduce the effects of natural chemical histamines in
your body. When you produce histamine, either from allergies or a cold, you may get symptoms such
as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and a runny nose. Zyrtec may also be used to treat itching and
swelling which is caused by chronic urticarial, or hives.

Zyrtec may also be used for conditions that are not described in this medication guide.


Key Facts About Zyrtec

Zyrtec is prescribed to temporarily relieve symptoms due to hay fever, upper respiratory
allergies or a cold. These symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and
itching of the nose or throat.

Adults and children ages 6 and older can safely take Zyrtec.

If your child is under age 6 you should consult your doctor before giving him or her

Zyrtec is in FDA pregnancy category B. Zyrtec is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby.
You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you plan to become pregnant before
starting treatment with Zyrtec. You should not use Zyrtec without telling your doctor if you are
breastfeeding a baby, as Zyrtec passes into breast milk.


Before You Take Zyrtec

You should not use Zyrtec if you are allergic to cetirizine.

You should refrain from drinking alcohol while taking Zyrtec, as it can increase the side
effects of this medication.

Zyrtec can impair your thinking or reaction time. Take care to be careful if you drive or do
anything that requires you to be alert


Zyrtec Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • Advair Diskus (fluticasone/salmeterol)
  • albuterol
  • aspirin
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • Flonase (fluticasone nasal)
  • ibuprofen
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  • lisinopril
  • metformin
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • omeprazole
  • Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Singulair (montelukast)
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine)
  • tramadol
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)

Other drugs you take that are not listed may interact with Zyrtec. You should tell your doctor
about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and
herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication
without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Zyrtec

You should take Zyrtec exactly as your doctor has prescribed you to. Do not use Zyrtec in
larger or smaller amounts, or for shorter or longer than recommended. Follow the directions on
your prescription label exactly.

You can take Zyrtec with or without food.

If you are taking the chewable tablet of Zyrtec you must chew it completely before swallowing

Do not swallow the Zyrtec dissolving tablet whole. You should allow it to dissolve in your
mouth without chewing it, and swallow several times to be sure that the tablet dissolves

If you are taking liquid Zyrtec be sure to use a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, and not
a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device your pharmacist can give one to

You should store Zyrtec at room temperature, and away from heat and moisture. Do not freeze
the liquid Zyrtec.

If your symptoms get worse while taking Zyrtec and you have a fever contact your doctor right

If you miss a dose of Zyrtec you should attempt to take the missed dose as soon as you
remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose do not take the missed dose
in addition to your regular dose.



Zyrtec Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Zyrtec and seek
medical help immediately:

  • allergic reaction that includes breathing difficulties, hives and swelling of your face, lips,
    throat or tongue
  • confusion
  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • hyperactivity or restlessness
  • insomnia
  • tremors
  • weakness
  • urinating less than usual or not at all
  • visual disturbances

Less serious Zyrtec side effects may include:

  • constipation
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • exhaustion
  • headache
  • nausea
  • sore throat

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Zyrtec. You
should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Zyrtec Description and Dosing

Zyrtec is available as white, rectangular tablets in 10 mg strength. Zyrtec Oral Solution is
available in a 5 mg/5 mL strength. A Children’s Zyrtec Hives Relief Syrup and Zyrtec Syrup are
also offered. There are chewable tablets, 5 mg each of Zyrtec as well.

Zyrtec dosages vary for each individual based on their age, condition and situation. Your
doctor will tell you the right dose of Zyrtec for you to take. Do not change or alter your Zyrtec
dose without talking to your doctor first.

If you suspect that you have overdosed with the Zyrtec you should seek emergency help

Ingredients in Zyrtec: The main ingredient in Zyrtec is cetirizine. Additional
ingredients include colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, hypromellose, lactose
monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol and titanium

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The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

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