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What Is Cetirizine Used For?

Why Is Cetirizine Used for Hives?

Hives (known medically as urticaria) are red, raised welts on the skin. They are usually quite itchy. Hives are commonly caused by allergies, although other factors, such as stress, can also cause them. Many people get hives chronically without finding any cause for their symptoms. Hives usually respond well to antihistamine treatment, although many of the available antihistamines cause drowsiness. Cetirizine is effective for treating the itching due to hives, often without causing drowsiness.

How Does Cetirizine Work?

As mentioned, allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances that do not bother most people. This reaction is partly caused by the release of histamine from certain cells in the body. Cetirizine is an antihistamine, which means it blocks histamine from binding to histamine receptors and causing allergy symptoms. Since histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of allergies, blocking it can be helpful. It is important to note that antihistamines (including cetirizine) do not help treat nasal congestion caused by allergies, since this symptom is not due to histamine.
Histamine is also responsible for the formation of hives (whether they are caused by allergies or not). Cetirizine works to alleviate the itching due to hives by blocking histamine.

Is Cetirizine Used in Children?

Cetirizine tablets, chewable tablets, and syrup for hives relief are approved for use in children as young as six years old. The syrup for allergy relief is approved for use in children age two and older.

Is Cetirizine Used for Off-Label Reasons?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend cetirizine for something other than allergies or hives. Currently, there are no universally accepted off-label cetirizine uses.
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