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cetirizine hydrochloride

All-Day Allergy, Aller-Relief, Allergy Relief, Benadryl Allergy Oral Solution (UK), Benadryl One a Day (UK), Piriteze (UK), Pollenshield Hayfever (UK), Reactine, Zirtec (UK), Zyrtec

Pharmacologic class: Histamine1-receptor antagonist (peripherally selective)

Therapeutic class: Allergy, cold, and cough agent; antihistamine

Pregnancy risk category B


Antagonizes histamine's effects at histamine1-receptor sites, preventing allergic response. Also has mild bronchodilatory effects and blocks histamine-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma.


Syrup: 5 mg/5 ml

Tablets: 5 mg, 10 mg

Indications and dosages

Allergic symptoms caused by histamine release
Adults and children older than age 6: 5 to 10 mg P.O. daily
Children ages 2 to 5: 2.5 to 5 mg P.O. daily

Dosage adjustment

• Renal impairment

• Hepatic impairment


• Hypersensitivity to drug or hydroxyzine

• Acute asthma attacks

• Angle-closure glaucoma

• Pyloroduodenal obstruction

• Breastfeeding


Use cautiously in:

• renal impairment, significant hepatic dysfunction

• elderly patients

• pregnant patients

• children younger than age 2 (safety not established).


• Give with or without food.

• Administer at same time each day.

Adverse reactions

CNS: dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue

CV: palpitations, edema

EENT: pharyngitis

GI: nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, dry mouth

Musculoskeletal: myalgia, joint pain

Respiratory: bronchospasm

Skin: photosensitivity, rash, angioedema

Other: fever


Drug-drug. CNS depressants: additive CNS effects

Theophylline: decreased cetirizine clearance

Drug-diagnostic tests. Allergy skin tests: false-negative results

Drug-behaviors. Alcohol use: additive CNS effects

Sun exposure: photosensitivity

Patient monitoring

• Monitor creatinine levels in patients with renal dysfunction.

• Assess hepatic enzyme levels in patients with hepatic disease.

Patient teaching

• Tell patient to take with full glass of water.

• Inform patient that drug may impair alertness and that alcohol may exaggerate this effect.

• Caution patient to avoid driving and other hazardous activities until he knows how drug affects concentration and alertness.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, and behaviors mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(se-ti-ra-zeen) ,

Aller Relief

(trade name),


(trade name),


(trade name)


Therapeutic: allergy cold cough remedies
Pharmacologic: piperazines
Pregnancy Category: B


Relief of allergic symptoms caused by histamine release including:
  • Seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis,
  • Chronic urticaria.


Antagonizes the effects of histamine at H1-receptor sites; does not bind to or inactivate histamine.
Anticholinergic effects are minimal and sedation is dose related.

Therapeutic effects

Decreased symptoms of histamine excess (sneezing, rhinorrhea, ocular tearing and redness, pruritus).


Absorption: Well absorbed following oral administration.
Distribution: Unknown.
Protein Binding: 93%.
Metabolism and Excretion: Excreted primarily unchanged by the kidneys.
Half-life: 7.4–9 hr (↓ in children to 6.2 hr, ↑ in renal impairment up to 19–21 hr).

Time/action profile (antihistaminic effects)

PO30 min 4–8 hr24 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to cetirizine, hydroxyzine or any component; Lactation: Excreted in breast milk; not recommended for use.
Use Cautiously in: Patients with hepatic or renal impairment (dose ↓ recommended if CCr ≤31 mL/min or hepatic function is impaired); Obstetric / Pediatric: Safety not established for pregnant women or children <6 mo; Geriatric: Initiate at lower doses.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness (significant with doses >10 mg/day)
  • fatigue

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • pharyngitis


  • dry mouth


Drug-Drug interaction

Additive CNS depression may occur with alcohol, opioid analgesics, or sedative/hypnotics.Theophylline may ↓ clearance and ↑ toxicity.


Oral (Adults and children ≥6 yr) 5–10 mg given once or divided twice daily.
Oral (Children 2–5 yr) 2.5 mg once daily initially, may be ↑ to 5 mg once daily or 2.5 mg every 12 hr.
Oral (Children 1–2 yr) 2.5 mg once daily; may be ↑ to 2.5 mg every 12 hr.
Oral (Children 6–12 mo) 2.5 once daily.

Hepatic/Renal Impairment

Oral (Adults and Children ≥12 yr) CCr ≤31 mL/min, hepatic impairment or hemodialysis—5 mg once daily.

Hepatic/Renal Impairment

Oral (Children 6–11 yr) start therapy at <2.5 mg/day.

Hepatic/Renal Impairment

Oral (Children <6 yr) use not recommended.

Availability (generic available)

Tablets: 5 mgOTC, 10 mgOTC
Capsules: 5 mgOTC, 10 mgOTC
Chewable tablets (grape): 5 mgOTC, 10 mgOTC
Orally disintegrating tablets: 10 mg
Syrupbanana-grape and bubblegum flavors: 1 mg/mLOTC
In combination with: pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D 12 hr) (See combination drugs).

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess allergy symptoms (rhinitis, conjunctivitis, hives) before and periodically during therapy.
  • Assess lung sounds and character of bronchial secretions. Maintain fluid intake of 1500–2000 mL/day to decrease viscosity of secretions.
  • Lab Test Considerations: May cause false-negative result in allergy skin testing.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Ineffective airway clearance (Indications)
Risk for injury (Adverse Reactions)


  • Do not confuse cetirizine with sertraline. Do not confuse Zyrtec (cetirizine) with Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zantac (ranitidine), Zocor (simvastatin), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Zyrtec-D (cetirizine/pseudoephedrine), Zyrtec Itchy Eye Drops (ketotifen fumarate).
  • Oral: Administer once daily without regard to food.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take medication as directed.
  • May cause dizziness and drowsiness. Caution patient to avoid driving or other activities requiring alertness until response to medication is known.
  • Advise patient to avoid taking alcohol or other CNS depressants concurrently with this drug.
  • Advise patient that good oral hygiene, frequent rinsing of mouth with water, and sugarless gum or candy may minimize dry mouth. Patient should notify dentist if dry mouth persists >2 wk.
  • Instruct patient to contact health care professional if dizziness occurs or if symptoms persist.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decrease in allergic symptoms.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


A trademark for the drug cetirizine hydrochloride.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Cetirizine, see there.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
WASHINGTON, May 2 -- The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday urged consumers to stop using liquid Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Zyrtec medicines for children and infants after a broad recall announced by the manufacturer, although it said the chance of serious problems was remote.
There is more daylight; the smell of fresh air and blossoming foliage is literally intoxicating to the senses (thank God for Zyrtec).
Comments: Generic losses continued to dent Pfizer's sales: Zyrtec, Camptosar and Norvasc revenues dropped $515 million from 4Q07 (and $2.6 billion for FY08).
Total prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 0.4 percent in October, negatively impacted by 0.6 percent due to the switch of Zyrtec from prescription to over-the-counter status.
UCB SA, the Belgian maker of the allergy medicine Zyrtec, and Sepracor Inc.
Johnson will also acquire the US rights to Pfizer's allergy treatment Zyrtec once the current patent has expired.
In 2007, seven popular products--Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), Ambien (zoldipem tartrate), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Lotrel (amlodipine/benazepril), Coreg (carvedilol), Lamisil (terbinafine), and Tequin (gatifloxicin), are due to lose patent protection, noted PCMA, which could lead to $700 million in savings that year.
Tokyo, Japan, Aug 2, 2005 - (JCNN) - UCB Japan (UCBJ) and Daiichi Pharmaceutical have agreed to form a long-term alliance in sales of Zyrtec Tablet 5 and Zyrtec Tablet 10, UCBJ's proprietary antiallergic agent.
UCB Pharma's key products are Keppra (antiepileptic), Xyzal and Zyrtec (antiallergics), Nootropil (cerebral function regulator) and Tussionex (antitussive).
"Head-to-head studies in adults and younger children show Zyrtec [ceterizine] is better for symptom control and relief [than desloratadine], and is also more effective for chronic itch," said Dr.
MIAMI BEACH -- Zyrtec may be able to treat more than just allergies in some postmenopausal women, according to the results of a small study presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.