Drugs Home > Cetirizine Side Effects

While most people have no problems with cetirizine, side effects are possible. In clinical trials, the most common side effects seen in adults included drowsiness, fatigue, and dry mouth. In children, common side effects included headache, sore throat, and cough. If you experience potentially serious side effects of cetirizine, such as breathing problems or difficulty urinating, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

An Introduction to Cetirizine Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec®). However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with cetirizine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of cetirizine side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects of Cetirizine

As with most recently approved non-prescription products, cetirizine is usually safe to use and rarely causes serious side effects. However, potentially serious side effects with cetirizine are possible and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Wheezing or other breathing problems
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia) or a feeling of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (known as heart palpitations)
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • An increase in liver enzymes
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the lips, mouth, or throat.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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