Drug Class:

Table of Contents


Zyrtec (Cetirizine Hydrochloride) is an antihistamine used to relieve hay fever and seasonal allergy symptoms, including runny nose; sneezing; and red, itchy, tearing eyes. It also may be used to treat itching and hives that result from certain skin conditions.

It works by blocking histamine that your body makes during an allergic reaction.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. It usually is taken once a day.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • dry mouth, nose and throat
  • insomnia
  • drowsiness
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • dizziness

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • difficulty urinating
  • nervousness
  • anxiety
  • difficulty breathing
  • shaking or tremors
  • difficulty swallowing
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • irregular or unusually fast heartbeat

Warnings & Precautions

  • Talk to your doctor if you are allergic to Hydroxyzine or Levocetirizine; or if you have any other allergies.
  • DO NOT use this medication if you are allergic to Cetirizine.
  • Get medical help right away if you experience seizures.
  • This medicine may impair your reactions and thinking. Use caution if you are performing any activities that require you to be alert.
  • Alcoholic beverages can increase the effects of this medicine and should be avoided.
  • Get for medical help immediately if you experience breathing difficulties, rash, swelling or itching on the tongue, face, or throat), or severe dizziness.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if symptoms do not improve or if they get worse. If you have a fever, call your doctor right away.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

Before taking any new medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. This includes supplements and herbal products.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Zyrtec should be taken once daily. It comes in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets, 1 mg/ml syrup, and 5 mg and 10 mg chewable tablets, which may be taken with water.

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medication. Cetirizine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Zyrtec while breast feeding without first consulting with your doctor.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a698026.html for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.