Zyrtec is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.
Zyrtec is used to prevent or treat symptoms of hay fever and to treat cold or allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, or runny nose.
Zyrtec is also used to treat itching and swelling caused by chronic urticaria (hives).
Zyrtec may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Zyrtec can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of Zyrtec. Tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as other cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by Zyrtec. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, if they get worse, or if you also have a fever.
You should not use Zyrtec if you are allergic to cetirizine.
Before taking Zyrtec, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions.
FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Cetirizine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Zyrtec without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Older adults may need to take a lower than normal dose. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Take Zyrtec exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may take Zyrtec with or without food.
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, if they get worse, or if you also have a fever. Store Zyrtec at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.
Overdose symptoms may include feeling restless or nervous, and then feeling drowsy.
Tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as other cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by Zyrtec. This medication can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of Zyrtec.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Zyrtec and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat;
weakness, tremors (uncontrolled shaking), or sleep problems (insomnia);
severe restless feeling, hyperactivity;
problems with vision; or
urinating less than usual or not at all.
Less serious Zyrtec side effects may include:
sore throat, cough;
nausea, constipation; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
There may be other drugs that can interact with Zyrtec. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Zyrtec.
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