Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Respiratory

Zyrtec 

(cetirizine)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Respiratory
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Treats allergy symptoms.

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Our bottom line

Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that won't make you feel too sleepy.

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Prices and coupons for 30 (24 hour) tablets of cetirizine

Upsides

  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) works as well as other antihistamines to treat sneezing and runny nose, but causes less sedation.
  • Works well to also treat hives and itchy skin.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is available over the counter without a prescription.
  • It comes as a tablet, liquid, and quick-dissolving tablet.
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • It's okay to take with most other medications because it has few drug interactions.
  • Most people don't get any side effects from Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
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Downsides

  • Although it works fast, its effectiveness wears off for some people over time.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) can be slightly more sedating than Allegra or Claritin.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines, like Benadryl, are more effective for them than Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
  • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
How it works

Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Zyrtec is a low-drowsiness version.

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Side effect rates for Zyrtec (cetirizine)

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These are side effects of Zyrtec (cetirizine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Zyrtec (cetirizine)

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  • There are many different over the counter medications with the brand name Zyrtec (Cetirizine). Each one may contain different active ingredients. Be sure to read the labels carefully to understand what kind of medicine you have and what the correct dose should be.

Common concerns from people taking Zyrtec (cetirizine)

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Pregnancy
Kidneys and liver
  • People with kidney or liver disease may need to take a lower dose of Zyrtec (Cetirizine) to prevent overdose. Talk with your doctor to be sure you are using the correct dose.
Sleep
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
  • Take it at night to help with drowsiness.
  • Take it at night. I found that it makes me slightly drowsy for 6-8 hours, so by taking it at night, I wake up without any drowsiness. The drowsiness is minimal for me, but noticeable
  • Works great. Never drowsy from it.