Cetirizine (cetirizine hydrochloride – HCI)

What is cetirizine?

Cetirizine is an antihistamine available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that treat symptoms due to hay fever or other outdoor and indoor allergies. 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.

What is cetirizine used to treat?

  • Allergies
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Hay Fever
Common brands containing cetirizine:
  • Alatrol
  • Cetirin
  • Humex
  • Reactine
  • Zyrtec
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much cetrizine can you take?

  • Adults under 65 one 10-milligram (mg) dose per day.
  • Children older than 6 one 10-milligram (mg) dose per day.
  • Your doctor may recommend a 5-mg dose once or twice per day if your allergies are mild.
  • Do not take more than one 10 mg tablet in 24 hours.

Safety guide for cetrizine

Cetirizine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label directions.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • 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.
  • Before giving an OTC medicine containing cetirizine to a child under the age of 6.

Do not use if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to cetirizine or to an allergy medicine containing hydroxyzine.
  • You are breastfeeding.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • You have an allergic reaction. Seek medical help right away.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800-222-1222.

What are the side effects of cetrizine?

When using medicines containing cetirizine, drowsiness may occur. You should avoid alcoholic drinks and use care when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.