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Generic Name: cetirizine

This medicine is used to treat or prevent symptoms of allergies
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What is this medicine?

CETIRIZINE (se TI ra zeen) is an antihistamine. This medicine is used to treat or prevent symptoms of allergies. It is also used to help reduce itchy skin rash and hives.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cetirizine, hydroxyzine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure your medicine. Household spoons are not accurate. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. You can take this medicine with food or on an empty stomach. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take more often than directed. You may need to take this medicine for several days before your symptoms improve.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. This medicine has been used in children as young as 6 months.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • other medicines for colds or allergies
  • theophylline

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your health. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

This medicine may make you feel confused, dizzy or lightheaded. Drinking alcohol or taking medicine that causes drowsiness can make this worse. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you.

Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water will help.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • changes in vision or hearing
  • fast heartbeat
  • high blood pressure
  • infection
  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • irritability
  • loss of sleep
  • sore throat
  • stomach pain
  • swelling

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature of 59 to 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C). You may store in the refrigerator at 36 to 46 degrees F (2 to 8 degrees C). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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