Zyrtec (generic name: Cetirizine) is an over the counter (OTC) drug used for the treatment of allergies including hay fever. Zyrtec is an antihistamine, which works by reducing the natural chemical histamine in the body and therefore reducing sneezing, watering eyes, runny/stuffy nose, skin rash, hives and itchy nose and eyes. Zyrtec may also be prescribed for the symptoms of the common cold and rhinitis. Another use is in patients with uncomplicated skin problems caused by chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives) in adults and children and reduces pruritus and wheals. It comes in 10mg and 20mg tablets, allowing patients with allergies to enjoy the outdoors without the symptoms flaring up. Zyrtec is a strong allergy medication, which is often prescribed if weaker medications have had no effect. Zyrtec is an immediate action medication and the effects last up to 24 hours. Some patients may be prescribed Zyrtec only during months when pollen count is high.
Zyrtec Side Effects:
As with any drug, there may be side effects from taking Zyrtec which include skin rash, itching, dizziness, drowsiness and fatigue, insomnia, nausea, change in appetite, dry mouth, restlessness, stomach pain, constipation, memory problems and ringing in the ears. More serious side effects may include changes in heartbeat, hallucinations, unusual behaviour, increase in blood pressure, infrequent urination, bruising, feeling weak, fever, confusion, and blurred vision. If you experience any side effects you must seek immediate medical attention for safety.
You should follow the instructions of the doctor who prescribed it you, and there will also be dosage and information on the pack. Zyrtec comes in tablet form. Swallow the tablet whole with water, and do not chew or break the tablet. Zyrtec should be stored at room temperature away from direct light and heat. As this is an allergy medication there is unlikely to be a dose schedule and Zyrtec should be taken as and when it is required to treat symptoms, however do not exceed the stated dose.
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients of Zyrtec you should not take it, and should inform your doctor. You must consult your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, including kidney or liver disease, diabetes, glaucoma, thyroid conditions, enlarged prostate, urinary problems, heart disease or high blood pressure. It is very important to also consult your doctor if you are taking any other medications as they may interact with Zyrtec, especially MAOIs which can lead to serious side effects. Other medications which may interact include high blood pressure medicines, IBS medications, diuretics, aspirin, bladder or urinary medications, antidepressants and beta blockers. Zyrtec is not suitable for children under 4. Giving cough and cold medicines to young children can be fatal and you should always seek a doctor’s advice before giving medicine to children. The consumption of alcohol may increase side effects of Zyrtec and should therefore be avoided.
The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
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