allergy medication, over the counter

What is Cetirizine?

It is a histamine blocker,  commonly referred to as an antihistamine.  People use it to reduce the symptoms of seasonal and year round allergies.  You may also see it called cetirizine hcl or cetirizine hydrochloride.

In the United States it is sold under the following brands:  All Day Allergy, Zyrtec® and Zyrtec® Hives relief.

In Canada it is sold as the following: Apo-Cetirizine®, PMS-Cetirizine and Reactine ™.

Cetirizine Side Effects

The most common include: tiredness, dry mouth and headache.

Other possible side effects are abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.  Contact your healthcare provider if you feel you are experiencing side effects.


For Adults down to children 6 years old, the dose is 5 to 10mg once a day.  Two to Five year old children generally take 2.5mg once or twice a day. And, 12 months to 2 years usually take 2.5mg a day.  Consult your child’s Doctor before starting children under six on cetirizine.

Doses may have to be reduced if your kidney or liver is not functioning properly.

Avoid using alcohol while taking this medication, as drowsiness may be increased.

With Pseudoephedrine

Cetirizine is combined with the decongestant pseudoephedrine and sold as the brand name Zyrtec-D®.  It is a available in a generic formulation as well.  Most states require you present a photo ID when purchasing the combination product – and other states require doctors orders.

Allergies management

Antihistamines definitely improve allergy symptoms for most people.  But, you can do more.  Sinus rinse kits can help too.  The sinus irrigation removes pollen and other irritants from the sinus cavities and that often reduces symptoms.  I use mine almost everyday during allergy season and rarely need to take antihistamines anymore.

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The pharmaceutical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
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