Cetirizine is a type of antihistamine medicine that treats a range of different allergies, including hay fever, conjunctivitis, eczema, hives, insect bites and stings and some food allergies. Cetirizine is an effective treatment that works for both seasonal allergies, and allergies that occur all year round. Cetirizine is a non-drowsy antihistamine, so it shouldn’t affect your ability to work or drive. However, one listed side effect is fatigue, so always make sure you know how the medication affects you before driving.

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Product Description

How does Cetirizine work?

Cetirizine is an antihistamine. Histamine is produced by your body as a response to an allergen or perceived threat, causing many symptoms that are associated with allergies, like a runny nose, puffy eyes, itching and sneezing, to name just a few. Whilst your body is trying to protect you by making these histamines, it can cause some unpleasant symptoms which are quite uncomfortable to live with.

Cetirizine helps to relieve these symptoms by blocking the effect that histamines have on your body, meaning you should experience fewer or less severe reactions to the allergens.


How do you take Cetirizine?

Cetirizine most commonly comes as 10mg tablets. Cetirizine is most commonly taken as a once-a-day tablet and can be taken with or without food. Depending on the severity of your allergy and what kind of allergy it is, there are 2 ways of taking this medication:

  • Daily: If your allergy is seasonal (like hay fever for example), you might want to take Cetirizine daily during times that pollen counts are high. This will protect you throughout the time that you are at risk.
  • On-demand: If your allergy isn’t specific to a season (like animal hair for example), you can choose to take Cetirizine only when you know you will be around an allergen.

Tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and can be taken with or without food and drink.


Can I still use my epi-pen if I use Cetirizine?

Yes, you can still use your epi-pen if you have hay fever, but also find that you need to use your epi-pen for another allergy, you should take it without hesitation. There are no known serious interactions with other medicines, and cetirizine must not be used as a substitute for adrenaline. Cetirizine won’t save you from anaphylactic shock. Always use your epi-pen if you start to feel like you are experiencing anaphylaxis.


Can I drive while using Cetirizine?

Cetirizine is generally a non-drowsy antihistamine, meaning you should be safe to drive while taking the medication. However, one listed side effect is fatigue, so always make sure you know how the medication affects you before driving. If you feel tired, drowsy, dizzy, confused, or just generally unwell, you should avoid driving until you feel better.

What if Cetirizine doesn’t help me?

There are other options available for those struggling with allergies if cetirizine tablets do not help with your symptoms. Some examples are:

  • Loratadine
  • Nasal corticosteroid sprays
  • Decongestant medication

Depending on your allergy, you may also want to avoid triggers wherever possible, this will help you avoid experiencing troublesome symptoms. However, this isn’t always possible in some cases like hay fever.

If you find that Cetirizine does not improve your symptoms, please visit your local pharmacy to discuss any other options that are available to you.

If you don’t know the cause of your allergy, it is important to make an appointment with your GP and request to be referred to the allergies clinic to find the cause of your symptoms. This should help you avoid any triggers that might set off your allergies.


Are there any side effects of Cetirizine?

Although many side effects are mild, some people do experience symptoms associated with taking cetirizine. However, most people who suffer from the side effects find that they would rather live with the side effects than live with the condition that the cetirizine treats. We are going to list some of the common side effects that are associated with the medication, though you should always read the patient information leaflet to familiarise yourself with all of the possible symptoms. The most commonly reported side-affects are:

  • Dizziness
  • Pharyngitis
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Rhinitis
  • Pruritis
  • Abdominal pain
  • Agitation
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling generally unwell

Fatigue is listed as a side-effect, although Cetirizine is generally a non-drowsy medication unlike many other antihistamines used to relieve symptoms of hay fever and other allergies.


Can I take cetirizine?

Luckily, this is a medication that is generally well-tolerated, meaning that only people with severe disorders or certain allergies to items that may be contained in the medication should avoid it. Some examples of conditions that might mean the medicine is unsafe to use are:

  • Severe kidney disease
  • Allergy to cetirizine
  • Allergy to hydroxyzine
  • Allergy to drugs in the piperazine family
  • Epilepsy
  • At risk of a urinary traction

If any of the above conditions apply to you, you should get in contact with your GP or speak to a MedsRUs pharmacist and ask for advice before starting your treatment with cetirizine. There may also be other medications available to you that are more suited to your condition, or you might be advised to take extreme cautions when taking the medicine. Never take any medications if you have any concerns that it may affect you.

Whilst no severe interactions with other medications are reported, you should always report back to your GP or pharmacy and let them know that you are taking other medications. You should always read the patient information leaflet that comes with the medication to make sure you know what you can and cannot take with it.