Precautions and Warnings With Cetirizine
Before starting a new medication, it is important to become familiar with the drug's precautions and warnings. With cetirizine, for example, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery before knowing how the drug affects you. People with liver or kidney disease may need a lower dosage of cetirizine. Talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions and warnings with cetirizine that apply to you.
Cetirizine: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec®) if you have:
- Liver disease, including liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With CetirizineWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking cetirizine include the following:
- Even though cetirizine is classified as a "non-sedating" antihistamine, it can still cause significant drowsiness in some people. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how the drug affects you.
- It is a good idea to avoid alcohol while taking cetirizine, since using them together could cause problems, such as severe drowsiness.
- Cetirizine can potentially interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Cetirizine).
- If you have liver or kidney disease, your body may not handle the drug as well as it should. Check with your healthcare provider before taking cetirizine, as you may need a lower dosage.
- The label of cetirizine recommends that people age 65 and older check with their healthcare providers before taking the drug in order to determine the best dose. It is common for liver and kidney function to decline with age, and a lower cetirizine dosage may be recommended.
- Cetirizine is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Zyrtec and Pregnancy). Always check with your healthcare provider before taking cetirizine during pregnancy.
- It is not known if cetirizine passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Zyrtec and Breastfeeding).