Drug and Supplements Data Verified

Cetirizine - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions

Published on Feb 23, 2022 and last reviewed on May 10, 2022   -  5 min read


Cetirizine is an antihistamine drug used to treat itching and swelling caused by hives. This article will guide you through the information about its uses, dosage, side effects, drug warnings, and precautions.



Cetirizine is an antihistamine drug used to treat the symptoms of allergies and colds. It is known as a non-drowsy antihistamine as it is less likely to make you feel drowsy than any other antihistamines. Cetirizine is available in both oral and injection forms. Cetirizine oral is used in adults and children to treat cold, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, or allergy symptoms. It comes as tablets, capsules, and liquid. Cetirizine injection is used to treat urticaria (hives) in adults and children above six years. It is an over-the-counter drug approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Drug Group:

Cetirizine belongs to the group of antihistamines. There are different types of antihistamines. They are

These drugs can be used when your sleep gets disturbed because of itching, leading to significant drowsiness. They include:

  1. Alimemazine.

  2. Chlorphenamine.

  3. Clemastine.

  4. Promethazine.

  5. Ketotifen.

  6. Hydroxyzine.

These drugs can cause less drowsiness when compared to first-generation antihistamines. The second-generation antihistamines include:

  1. Cetirizine.

  2. Levocetirizine.

  3. Acrivastine.

  4. Desloratadine.

  5. Loratadine.

  6. Fexofenadine.

What Is Cetirizine Used For?

Cetirizine is used to treat the following:

How Does Cetirizine Work?

Cetirizine is an antihistamine that works particularly on peripheral histamine receptors. These histamine receptors are located outside the brain and spinal cord. Histamine is a chemical released by the mast cells in response to an allergen. Allergen is responsible for the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as swelling of the mucous membranes, sneezing, and itching. Cetirizine binds to the histamine receptors, prevents histamine from affecting those receptors, and relieves allergy symptoms. As Cetirizine acts on the peripheral histamine receptors, it is less likely to cause drowsiness compared to other antihistamines.

How to Take Cetirizine?

Cetirizine comes as capsules and tablets. Adults and children of 6 years and above can take Cetirizine. You need to take the drug as prescribed by your doctor if you are not sure. It is usually taken once a day. Please do not take it more often than directed by your doctor or as directed on the package.

Do not take Cetirizine to treat hives that are already bruised or blistered, and stop taking Cetirizine and contact your doctor if your symptoms of hives do not improve during the first phase of the treatment.

What Is the Dosage of Cetirizine?

The recommended dosage is 5 to 10 mg daily, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

What Is the Dosage of Cetirizine

What Happens If I Miss a Dose?

The missed dose can be taken immediately when you remember about it. If it is almost the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dose schedule. Do not double the dose to compensate for the missed dose.

What If I Take Overdose?

You need to seek medical consultation if you have taken an overdose. Taking an overdose of Cetirizine can make you feel restless, drowsy, and nervous.

What Are the Drug Warnings and Precautions?

1)Avoid taking this drug if you are allergic to Cetirizine or any other antihistamines.

2) Consult your doctor before taking this drug if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant or if you are breastfeeding. Usually, Cetirizine is safe during pregnancy, but it is always better to consult a doctor before taking the medication.

3) Inform your healthcare provider if you have any previous illnesses like liver disease or kidney disease. Your doctor weighs the risks and may recommend taking the full dose or taking less than the typical dose.

4) Be cautious when driving a vehicle or using any machinery after taking Cetirizine. Even though Cetirizine is less likely to cause drowsiness when compared to the other antihistamines, some people respond differently when taking it.

What Are the Side Effects of Cetirizine?

Cetirizine is less likely to cause some severe side effects. However, it can cause adverse effects like:

Consult your healthcare provider if you experience any unexpected side effects. However, these side effects are usually not an emergency.

What Are the Drug Interactions of Cetirizine?

Can Cetirizine Be Taken During Pregnancy?

Cetirizine is usually safe when taken during pregnancy. There is no evidence of teratogenicity or any other harmful effects on pregnancy. But it is always better to take your doctor's consultation before taking this medication.

Can Cetirizine Be Taken While Breastfeeding?

Small doses of Cetirizine are probably acceptable while breastfeeding. Larger doses or prolonged usage of Cetirizine can cause drowsiness and other effects on the infant or decrease the milk supply.

What Are the Common Brand Names of Cetirizine?

The following are a few common brand names of Cetirizine:


Last reviewed at:
10 May 2022  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

There are inflamed nasal swellings and ear plugs. Kindly advise.

Query: Hello doctor, I apologize for the long message, but I am a concerned mom. I have two sons (ages 3 and 5) and both of them and I have been experiencing chronic sinus or ear issues for the past several months. Their pediatrician has referred us to ENT since she does not know what it is. Both boys (an...  Read Full »

Can Cetirizine be taken every day for an allergic cough?

Query: Hi doctor, I have a cough, and the mucus is white. Every night I suffer from this kind of situation. I have background medical records, and the doctor said that I am allergic to dust and cold beverages. But I do not think that I am allergic to dust because I do not have any symptoms. Every night I ...  Read Full »

Can Zyrtec be given to help cure running nose and nasal congestion in a kid?

Query: Hello doctor, My 3-year-old son weighing 19 kg seems to develop running nose along with nasal congestion today afternoon. He also seems to have some amount of breathing difficulty today while sleeping, although he does not have any background in asthma. I have some questions: I have given him Z...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Cetirizine or ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.