Cetirizine is an antihistamine available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that treat symptoms due to hay fever or other outdoor and indoor allergies. It may be written as cetirizine or cetirizine hydrochloride (HCl), but it is the same active ingredient. Cetirizine can be the only active ingredient in an allergy medicine, or it can be found in medicines that relieve other symptoms, such as nasal congestion.

Cetirizine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to label directions. But keep in mind that not all medicines are right for all people. For example, cetirizine can pass into breast milk, so it is not recommended for women who are nursing.

  • You have liver or kidney disease. A healthcare provider may determine that you require a different dose.
  • You are taking tranquilizers or sedatives.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You are age 65 or older.
  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to cetirizine or to an allergy medicine containing hydroxyzine.
  • You are breastfeeding.
  • You have an allergic reaction. Get medical help right away.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider before giving an OTC medicine containing cetirizine to a child under the age of 6.
  • Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.