Cetirizine Tablet Uses, Side effects, And Precautions

Cetirizine is an antihistamine medication, commonly available in tablet form. It works by blocking histamine, a chemical produced by the body in response to allergens. Histamine is responsible for causing allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. Cetirizine tablet uses effectively combats these symptoms, making it a go-to choice for many allergy sufferers.

Second-generation antihistamines, such as cetirizine, are less likely to make you drowsy than first-generation antihistamines. It is chosen by people who seek relief from allergy symptoms but don’t want to become overly sleepy because it is mildly or non-sedating.

The drug is frequently used to treat allergic rhinitis, including hay fever and perennial allergies (allergies that last all year).It also works well for treating hives, a skin condition characterised by red, itchy welts.

Cetirizine is easily accessible to people with mild to moderate allergy symptoms because it is sold over-the-counter in many nations. To ensure optimal use and dose based on individual needs and medical history, it is always advised to speak with a healthcare expert before beginning any new medicine.

Cetirizine may have adverse effects, though they are often minor and transient. This is important to keep in mind. Drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, vertigo, and gastrointestinal problems including nausea or diarrhea can be among these adverse effects. 

How does cetirizine work?

cetirizine tablet uses

Histamine, a chemical produced by the body in response to an allergic reaction, is blocked by cetirizine, which is how it functions. Specialized cells called mast cells release histamine when an allergen (such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander) enters the body.

Histamine causes a variety of allergy symptoms, including sneezing, itching, runny nose, watery eyes, and skin responses, by binding to particular receptors on cells all over the body. These signs and symptoms are a result of the body’s immune system defending itself from the perceived danger.

A second-generation antihistamine called cetirizine specifically disables the H1 receptors that histamine binds to. Cetirizine blocks the effects of histamine on the target cells by interacting with these receptors. This action aids in easing or removing allergy symptoms brought on by histamine release.

Cetirizine is less able to enter the central nervous system than previous antihistamines, which can do so and induce sleepiness as a result of its sedative effects. It is thought to be non-sedating or only mildly sedating, making it a popular option for many people who need allergy relief but don’t want to get too sleepy.

Because of its primary focus on histamine-mediated allergic reactions, cetirizine is useful in reducing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis, and hives (urticaria).

Cetirizine tablet Uses

  • Cetirizine is quite successful at easing the signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis, generally referred to as hay fever. It assists in reducing allergic reactions brought on by pollen, dust mites, or pet dander, such as sneezing, itching, runny noses, and nasal congestion.
  • Seasonal Allergies: Cetirizine tablet uses can relieve seasonal allergies during particular seasons when allergens are more common, such as spring or autumn. It reduces seasonal allergic reaction symptoms including sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion.
  • Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores cause perpetual allergies, which are year-round symptoms. Cetirizine tablet uses is helpful in treating these allergies. It helps manage symptoms like itching, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: An allergic reaction can result in allergic conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white area of the eye). Itching, redness, and eye-watering brought on by this condition can be relieved with cetirizine.
  • Cetirizine works well in the treatment of urticaria, also referred to as hives. A skin allergy can cause hives, which are raised, itchy welts. Itching and swelling brought on by hives are lessened with cetirizine.
  • Generalized skin itchiness is referred to as pruritus, and it can be brought on by a number of things, including allergies. Itching brought on by allergic skin problems may be relieved with cetirizine.

Dosage and administration of Cetirizine

Cetirizine dosage and administration guidelines can change depending on a number of variables, including age, health status, and the medication’s precise formulation. It is very important to adhere to the recommendations made by your healthcare provider or those listed on the product label. As a general guide, the following dose recommendations are provided:

1. Cetirizine tablets are typically started at a dosage of 10 mg (one tablet) once daily for adults and children older than 6 years old.

The dosage may be increased to 20mg (two pills) once daily if necessary, under medical supervision.

2. Children aged 2 to 6:

In this age group, 5mg (half a tablet) of cetirizine tablets once daily is advised.

3. Cetirizine pills are generally not advised for use in children under the age of two. For suitable substitutes or dose forms, such as oral solutions or pediatric formulations, consult a pediatrician.

Important points to remember

  • To gain Cetirizine tablets uses should be taken with a full glass of water.
  • For constant blood levels of the drug, it is best to take cetirizine at the same time every day.
  • Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it if you miss it. If the time for the subsequent dose is approaching, omit the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.
  • Never take more than the suggested amount without first talking to a doctor.
  • Cetirizine can be taken with or without food because food has no effect on how well it absorbs.
  • Your doctor may modify the dosage if you have liver or renal illness based on your unique circumstances.

Cetirizine Tablet Side Effects

cetirizine tablet uses
  • Cetirizine is thought to be non-sedating or slightly sedating, but it nevertheless has the potential to make some people feel sleepy or fatigued. It is advised to exercise caution when performing tasks that call for attentiveness until you are familiar with how the medicine affects you.
  • Dry Mouth: Cetirizine tablet side effects may result in a feeling of dry mouth. This negative effect can be lessened by staying hydrated and sucking on sugar-free candies or chewing gum.
  • Mild headaches in some people are possible while using cetirizine. It is advised to speak with a healthcare provider if the headache persists or gets worse.
  • Cetirizine can occasionally result in gastrointestinal problems like nausea, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort. Typically, these symptoms are transient and minor.
  • Dizziness: A tiny percentage of people who take cetirizine may get lightheaded. If you have this side effect, it is best to stay away from sports and other activities that call for balance and coordination.

Precautions and warnings for Cetirizine

  • Allergic Reactions: It’s crucial to avoid using cetirizine if you have a known allergy to it or any other antihistamine. Serious allergic reactions to cetirizine can cause symptoms like breathing problems, hives, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or neck. If you encounter any symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention.
  • Medical Conditions: Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any existing medical problems, especially if you have liver or kidney illnesses. A change in cetirizine dosage may be required for people whose kidney or liver function is compromised.
  • Breastfeeding and pregnancy: Before using cetirizine, talk to your doctor if you’re expecting or nursing a baby. Despite the fact that cetirizine is typically regarded as safe during pregnancy and nursing, it is still crucial to examine the potential risks and advantages and adhere to your doctor’s instructions.
  • Sedation: Despite cetirizine’s classification as a non-sedating or slightly sedating antihistamine, it nonetheless has the potential to make some people feel sleepy or fatigued. If you feel really sleepy, stay away from tasks that call for mental clarity, such as operating heavy machinery or driving.
  • Alcohol and other CNS depressants, such as tranquilizers or sedatives: Cetirizine tablet uses can intensify the sedative effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants, such as tranquilizers or sedatives. It is advised to steer clear of alcohol or speak with a doctor before taking cetirizine with other drugs that can make you sleepy.

Overdose of Cetirizine

  • Excessive sleepiness: Taking more cetirizine than is advised can exacerbate its sedative effects, causing excessive tiredness or even loss of consciousness.
  • Agitation or restlessness: An excess of cetirizine tablet side effects occasionally has paradoxical effects that result in agitation, irritability, or restlessness.
  • Rapid heartbeat: An overdose may cause palpitations or an increased heart rate.
  • Dry mouth and throat: Too much cetirizine might leave you with a very dry mouth and throat.
  • Dilation of the pupils: On occasion, an overdose may result in dilation of the pupils.

Drug interactions with Cetirizine

cetirizine tablet side effects
  • Depressants of the central nervous system: Cetirizine can increase the sedative effects of other CNS depressants such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or alcohol. Combining these medications can make people feel sleepier and less coordinated. Cetirizine should not be taken with other drugs that have sedative effects, or taken with caution while doing so.
  • Drugs that Affect Liver Enzymes: Some drugs may interfere with the activity of liver enzymes, which may change how cetirizine is metabolized. Ketoconazole, erythromycin, and cimetidine are a few examples of such drugs. These medications may raise the body’s level of cetirizine, which could increase the risk of adverse consequences. If necessary, your healthcare provider can advise you on proper dosage or make recommendations for substitute medications.
  • Drugs that Prolong QT Interval: Cetirizine has a small risk of contributing to the irregular cardiac rhythm known as QT interval prolongation. Cetirizine tablet side effects can raise the risk of this anomaly when taken with other drugs that also lengthen the QT interval, such as certain antibiotics (such as erythromycin, and clarithromycin) or antiarrhythmic medications (such as amiodarone, quinidine). You must tell your healthcare provider about any medicine you take so they can look for possible interactions.
  • Other Antihistamines: Cetirizine tablet side effects can raise the risk of drowsiness and other negative effects when taken with other antihistamines. It is typically advised to refrain from using any antihistamines at once unless specifically instructed to do so by a healthcare provider.

Storage and disposal of Cetirizine


  • If the manufacturer has supplied any special storage recommendations, read the product packaging or the drug information sheet. Cetirizine may require slightly varying storage conditions depending on its formulation.
  • Cetirizine should be kept at room temperature, which is normally between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Avoid being exposed to high temperatures, dampness, or bright sunshine.
  • To keep cetirizine safe from light and moisture, keep it in its original container or package.
  • To avoid accidental ingestion, store cetirizine out of the reach of children and animals.
  • Cetirizine shouldn’t be kept in the bathroom or other high-humidity environments since moisture can compromise its stability.


  • Unless specifically instructed to do so by the product box or prescription information leaflet, flush cetirizine tablets or any other medication down the toilet.
  • For information on how to properly dispose of medications in your area, consult local laws and regulations. For the safe disposal of medications, many towns have established programs or designated drop-off points.

*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations regarding the use of cetirizine tablet side effects and cetirizine tablet uses or any other medication.

Author Contribution: Reviewed by Rajeshwar Rao, Pharm D, Dr. Ram Reddy, MD – General Physician.

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