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Cetirizine is commonly used to treat sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and other allergy symptoms. The drug can also be used to treat itching due to hives (which may or not be caused by allergies). Cetirizine comes in the form of tablets, chewable tablets, liquid-filled capsules, and syrup, and is usually taken once a day. Possible side effects include fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

What Is Cetirizine?

Cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec®) is an antihistamine approved to treat the following allergy symptoms:
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose or throat.
It is also approved to treat itching due to hives, which may or may not be caused by allergies. Cetirizine is also available in combination with a decongestant (see Cetirizine and Pseudoephedrine for more information). Although cetirizine (as well as cetirizine and pseudoephedrine) was originally a prescription product, it is now available without a prescription (see Zyrtec OTC).
(Click What Is Cetirizine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects of Cetirizine

As with any medicine, side effects are possible. 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 can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of cetirizine include, but are not limited to:
(Click Cetirizine Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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