Levocetirizine relieves allergic symptoms.
It is called a non-drowsy antihistamine; however, it can still cause drowsiness in a few people. Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert. If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation, and be aware of its effects on you.
|Type of medicine||Antihistamine (non-drowsy)|
|Used for||Allergies such as hayfever and some allergic skin reactions|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid|
Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or insect bites can cause some people to produce an excess of a chemical called histamine. This causes allergic symptoms which can include rashes, sneezing, watery eyes and a runny or blocked nose.
Levocetirizine blocks the effects of histamine, which helps to relieve these symptoms.
Before taking levocetirizine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking levocetirizine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.
How to take levocetirizine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about levocetirizine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- The usual dose for adults and older children is one tablet daily. If it is for a younger child (aged 2-6 years), they are likely to be prescribed liquid medicine, so check the label on the bottle carefully to make sure you give the correct dose.
- You may take levocetirizine at whatever time of day you find easiest to remember, but try to take your doses at the same time of day. You can take it before or after your meals. The tablets are best swallowed with a drink of water.
- If you have been supplied liquid medicine, a dose syringe will have been included in the pack. To measure out your dose, dip the syringe into the solution and draw the plunger up to the mark which corresponds to the dose prescribed. Remove the syringe from the bottle and empty its contents into a spoon or a glass of water (it can be taken undiluted or diluted with water). Rinse the syringe with water after use.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your doctor will tell you how long you should take this antihistamine for. Most people only need to take it for a short while when they have symptoms. Some people, however, may need to take it for several weeks or even months. Your doctor will tell you which is right for you.
- Although levocetirizine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine, it can still cause drowsiness in a few people. If this happens to you, do not drive or use tools or machines.
- If you drink alcohol while you are on levocetirizine, be aware of its effects on you and do not drink more than moderate amounts.
Can levocetirizine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most 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 levocetirizine side-effects - these
affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
|What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling tired or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store levocetirizine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- The liquid medicine only keeps for three months once opened. Do not store it or use it after this time.
Important information about all medicines
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Xyzal® 5 mg tablets; UCB Pharma Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Xyzal® 0.5 mg/ml Oral Solution; UCB Pharma Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2012.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 31/10/2012||Document ID: 124 Version: 24||© 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.