|Type of medicine||Antihistamine (non-drowsy)|
|Used for||Allergies such as hayfever in adults and children over 2 years of age
Allergic skin rashes in adults and children over 6 years of age
|Also called||Piriteze® Allergy
Pollenshield® Hayfever, Pollenshield® Hayfever Relief
|Available as||Tablets and oral solution|
Exposure to substances such as pollen, animal fur, house dust or an insect bite can cause the body to produce a chemical called histamine. The release of histamine causes allergic symptoms which can include skin rashes, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and itching. Cetirizine stops the effects of histamine and helps to relieve these symptoms.
Before taking cetirizine
Before taking cetirizine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you suffer from epilepsy.
- If you have porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take cetirizine
- Before taking cetirizine, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take cetirizine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. It is not important whether you take them before or after food.
- If you are giving cetirizine to a child, make sure you follow the dosing instructions carefully. The dose you will need to give will depend upon the age of your child. Cetirizine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it when you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Cetirizine is called a non-drowsy antihistamine, however it can sometimes cause drowsiness in some people. If you are affected do not drive or operate machinery or do any other jobs which would be dangerous if you are not fully alert.
- If you drink alcohol while you are taking cetirizine, be aware of its effects on you and do not drink more than moderate amounts.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with cetirizine.
Can cetirizine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness||If you are affected, do not drive or operate machinery or do other jobs which would be dangerous if you are not fully alert. It is best to avoid alcohol as this will make you more drowsy|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Headache, sore throat, irritation of the nose||Ask your pharmacist for further advice|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store cetirizine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 60th Edition (September 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Cetirizine 10 mg Tablets, Dexcel Pharma Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 14/12/2010||Document ID: 3485 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.