Is Cetirizine the best treatment for allergy and hay fever?

You can purchase cetirizine over-the-counter (OTC) at a pharmacy as an antihistamine. That means, a prescription is not required.

Cetirizine is available as tablets and capsules. It usually only needs to be taken once a day, and it starts working right away.

Additionally, it is reasonably priced, typically costing less than £1 per day for name-brand products like Zyrtec, Aller-Tec, and Alleroff, and much less for generic alternatives.

In general, cetirizine is a safe and effective medication, but before using it, you should be informed of several warnings and safety measures. Learn the effects of this medication, its applications, and safe dosage techniques.

Why is it used?

Your doctor could advise cetirizine if you experience seasonal allergies or year-round allergies like hay fever. Cetirizine doesn’t work to prevent allergies, although it may aid with symptom relief.

Your body releases the chemical histamine when you come into contact with things that you could be allergic to (allergens). The majority of allergic response symptoms are caused by histamine.

An antihistamine is cetirizine. Histamine’s effects are blocked by it.

The following mild to moderate allergy symptoms are helped by cetirizine:

  • sneezing
  • clogged nose
  • wet or itching eyes
  • a stuffy nose or throat

You may experience these reactions after touching or inhaling allergens such pet dander, mold, or plant pollen. Your nose, sinuses, throat, and other parts of your upper respiratory system are typically affected by allergies.

Additionally, cetirizine relieves hives. Raised, itchy rashes on the skin are known as hives. They frequently accompany drug or food sensitivities.

Methods of intake

Cetirizine capsules and tablets can be taken by adults and kids aged 6 and older.

One 10-milligram (mg) dose per day is the typical dosage for individuals under 65 and kids aged 6 and older.

In a 24-hour period, you shouldn’t consume more than 10 mg. If your allergies are minimal, your doctor might advise taking a 5-mg dose once or twice day.

Consult your doctor about the recommended dosage if you:

older than 65 years old, 2 to 6 years old, or suffering from liver or kidney disease

Side effects of cetirizine

A second-generation antihistamine that is more recent is cetrizine. Cetirizine is less likely to result in side effects like risky drowsiness, dry mouth, impaired vision, and overheating than first-generation antihistamines.

Having said that, Cetirizine may have side effects like:

  • some somnolence
  • extreme fatigue
  • mouth arid stomach ache
  • diarrhea\svomiting

Any unexpected adverse effects you experience while taking cetirizine should be reported to your doctor. Discuss any persistent or troublesome adverse effects as well. Usually, these adverse effects are not life-threatening.

Warnings and precautions

Here are some things to think about before taking cetirizine.

Utilizing machinery safely

Despite the fact that cetirizine typically doesn’t make people drowsy, some people react differently to it, particularly after the first few doses.

Take care. Driving a car or operating machinery is not advised unless you are certain of how cetirizine will affect your body.

Look over the ingredients

If you have ever experienced an adverse reaction to cetirizine or any of its constituents, avoid using it. Additionally, if you are allergic to any hydroxyzine-containing antihistamine, avoid taking cetirizine.

If you are pregnant or nursing, exercise caution.

If you are breastfeeding a baby or intend to become pregnant, consult your doctor or healthcare provider before using cetirizine. In general, taking cetirizine while pregnant is safe.

If you have certain conditions, speak to your doctor.

Ask your doctor about using cetirizine if you suffer from liver or kidney illness. Your doctor can advise taking less than the recommended dosage if they believe it is safe for you to take it.

Cetirizine interactions

There are interactions between cetirizine and other drugs.

For instance, refrain from drinking alcohol when taking cetirizine. This could be harmful. Cetirizine and alcohol can make you feel sleepy or less alert.

Before using cetirizine, be sure to let your doctor know if you take any sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleep aids.

Cetirizine can make you sleepier when used with medications that depress your central nervous system. Your nerve system and mind may possibly be further affected.

Cetirizine and theophylline may interact with one another in the body. Some persons with asthma and other lung conditions take theophylline (Theo-24).

Cetirizine’s elimination from the body sometimes took longer when the two medications were taken. The interaction, though, might be dose-related. Only daily theophylline dosages of 400 mg or higher have been documented.

If you take theophylline and are thinking about taking cetirizine, consult your doctor.

Consult your physician.

An over-the-counter medication called cetirizine helps ease mild to moderate allergy symptoms. Like with any medication, especially one that is over-the-counter, you should be aware of all the implications before using it.

Ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your symptoms and any additional medical conditions you may be experiencing. Your doctor might advise another antihistamine or a prescription-only combo medication containing cetirizine and another medicine.

You could ask your doctor the following queries regarding cetirizine:
  • Is cetirizine the right drug for me? What are my alternatives and options?
  • How much and how frequently should I take cetirizine?
  • What side effects might I expect from using cetirizine?
  • Can I take cetirizine while also taking other meds for my health issues?
  • Are there any other risks or hazards related to this medication?
  • What emergency symptoms are there, and what should I do if one arises?

Sources

WebMD  [reviewed 04/08/2022]

Medlineplus [reviewed 04/08/2022]

NHS UK  [reviewed 04/08/2022

 

Yousef is a community pharmacist with an extensive experience in minor ailment treatments. He is a graduate of University College London.

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