How Effective Is Zyrtec for Allergies?
A popular allergy medication Zyrtec, whose generic name is cetirizine, is an antihistamine that helps to treat the symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes. Zyrtec can also reduce itching caused by hives, but it doesn’t prevent their development.
An allergic reaction is a result of the immune system’s overreaction to a trigger, which leads to the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical responsible for many allergy symptoms. Zyrtec works by blocking the effect of this chemical.
Cetirizine is only useful for mild symptoms, but it doesn’t prevent or treat severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis. If you have a history of anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe you epinephrine, which you should always carry with you, in case of an emergency.
How Should You Use Zyrtec for Allergies?
If you are using Zyrtec as over-the-counter self-treatment, make sure to follow all the instructions provided on the product package.
If you have a prescription for cetirizine, follow the directions of your doctor. If you have any questions about the use of the medications, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Zyrtec is available in various forms, including chewable tablets, rapidly-dissolving tablets, as well as in liquid form. In case of the chewable tablets, you should chew them properly before swallowing. When taking a rapidly-dissolving tablet, let it dissolve on your tongue and swallow it. You can use water but it’s not necessary. When it comes to Zyrtec in the liquid form, each dose should be measured carefully. To get the correct dosage, use a special measuring device, instead of a household spoon.
Required doses may vary, depending of a person’s age, medical conditions, and the effectiveness of the treatment. Avoid changing your dose or taking this medication more often without getting your doctor’s approval first.
If the treatment doesn’t seem to reduce your allergy symptoms, inform your doctor about it. Especially, if your hives don’t get better after three days of the medication use, or if they persist for more than six weeks.
Contact your doctor, if your allergy gets worse.
It is also possible to overdose with cetirizine. In this case, you may experience severe drowsiness, difficulty breathing, and fainting. Children may also develop mental and mood changes such as irritability and anxiety. Seek an immediate medical help, if you notice any of these symptoms.
If you are taking Zyrtec on a regular basis and miss a dose, you can take it as soon as possible. However, you may need to skip the missed dose, if it’s already time for the next one. Avoid taking a double dose.
What Are the Side Effects of Zyrtec?
Potential side effects of Zyrtec may include tiredness, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Children are more likely to develop stomach pain. If you have these symptoms for quite a long time, or if they get worse, contact your healthcare provider.
However, these side effects are not common. Most people use Zyrtec without having any serious side effects.
If you notice serious side effects like trouble urinating or weakness, contact your doctor immediately.
Zyrtec is not likely to cause a severe allergic reaction. However, if you notice any symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek an immediate medial help. The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include: skin rash, swelling of the face, tongue and throat, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
What Precautions Should You Take?
The risk of adverse reaction to Zyrtec is higher in people with allergies to cetirizine, hydroxyzine, or levocetirizine and any other allergies. This is because the medication may contain inactive ingredients triggering allergies. Consult your healthcare provider for more details.
In addition, people who experience trouble urinating or have kidney disease or liver disease should be especially cautious when using Zyrtec. In such a case, a doctor’s consultation is needed.
When taking Zyrtec to reduce hives, some people may develop hives of an unusual color, or blistered and bruised hives, or hives that are not itching. Contact your doctor immediately, if this happens.
A little drowsiness is a common effect of this medication. If you are using Zyrtec, avoid taking it while driving, using machinery, or doing any other activity that requires attention. Specialists recommend that you avoid mixing Zyrtec with alcohol or marijuana to prevent severe drowsiness.
People with diabetes may need to avoid cetirizine in a liquid form, as it may contain sugar. Talk to your doctor, if you want to know more.
Pregnant women should only use Zyrtec when its benefits are higher than the risks. Consult your doctor before using this drug.
Cetirizine can pass in to breast milk. If you are breast-feeding, don’t take Zyrtec without your doctor’s approval.
What Are the Potential Drug Interactions?
Sometimes, if you combine certain medications, your may experience the symptoms of drug interactions. They may significantly affect the effect of medications. If you are taking any drug, supplement or any other health product, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting to use Zyrtec. Besides, always consult your healthcare provider before you change doses of your drugs or stop using the medication.
Some cough-and-cold medications and allergy drugs may contain ingredients causing drowsiness. Talk to your doctor, is you have any questions.
Zyrtec can potentially interact with other medications causing drowsiness, including: opioid pain relievers or cough drugs (e.g. hydrocodone and codeine), sleep or anxiety medications (e.g. lorazepam, alprazolam, or zolpidem), muscle-relaxing drugs (carisoprodol), other antihistamines (diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine), as well as alcohol and marijuana.
Avoid combining Zyrtec with topical antihistamines like diphenhydramine cream. Otherwise, you may experience serious side effects.
You should also avoid medications containing hydroxyzine or levocetirizine, as they are very similar to cetirizine contained in Zyrtec.
In addition, this allergy drug can affect the results of certain laboratory tests, such as allergy skin testing. Tell your doctor if you are using cetirizine, before performing any test.
How Should You Store Zyrtec?
Specialists recommend storing this medication at room temperature. Make sure to keep away from light and moisture. Remember that bathroom is not a good place to store drugs. Keep the medication out of the reach of children and pets. For more details, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
As soon as the product is expired, or you no longer need it, make sure to discard this medication properly. Don’t flush your drugs down the toilet.