Home Services Prescriptions Antihistamines
cetirizine prescription

Cetirizine Fact Card

Cetirizine is a type of anti-histamine which is often used for hayfever, allergies and allergy related skin reactions.

Brand Names Zirtek, Benadryl, Piriteze, Pollenase also widely available as Cetirizine.
Used For Hayfever, allergies and allergy related skin reactions.
Doseage 5-10mg daily
Side Effects tiredness, headache, dizziness , dry mouth, sore throat
Warnings Avoid taking alcohol while on cetirizine. Do not use along with other antihistamines.
Pregnancy Avoid unless you have discussed with your doctor or midwife

Cetirizine is a type of  anti-histamine which is often used for hayfever, allergies and allergy related skin reactions. It is available to purchase over the counter from most pharmacies and is also available on prescription.

What is Cetirizine used to treat?

Cetirizine is used to treat the symptoms of hayfever and skin reactions associated to allergy (hives). It is particularly helpful to reduce the sensation of itching in the skin or eyes and also helps to reduce sneezing and runny nose associated with hayfever. 

How does Cetirizine work?

Antihistamines mainly work against chemicals in the body called histamines.  These are produced in response to injury or inflammation of the cells in the body. In allergic conditions such as hayfever, these histamines are unnecessarily produced and give rise to symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes. 

Antihistamines start to work in 30 minutes reaching maximum effect after 1-2 hours. 

cetirizine alcohol

How do I take Cetirizine?

Your doctor will advise on the correct dose for you. The dose advised on the packaging of the cetirizine you can buy will usually be 10mg once a day for adults. Your doctor may prescribe a higher dose. Tablet and liquid forms are available.

Side effects of Cetirizine

The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • tiredness
  • headache
  • dizziness 
  • dry mouth
  • sore throat

Most people will not experience any side effects but if you are concerned about any of the above then speak to your doctor about suitable alternatives.

cetirizine side effects

Things to avoid

As some people are more sensitive to the side effects it may be best to avoid operating heavy machinery or driving. 

Avoid drinking alcohol when taking cetirizine.

Cetirizine and alcohol

Avoid taking cetirizine with alcohol as this can increase the likelihood of experiencing the side effects of tiredness and fatigue.

cetirizine when pregnant

Can I take Cetirizine when pregnant?

There is no evidence of harm from taking cetirizine during pregnancy, however the evidence is very limited so speak to a doctor before taking this, especially early in pregnancy.  

Cetirizine and breastfeeding

Antihistamines are present in breast milk but they are not known to be harmful.

They are generally best avoided if breastfeeding but your doctor can discuss with you whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

cetirizine when breastfeeding

Please note. This site is for information only. If you are taking any medications please follow the instructions given by your doctor. Should you have an adverse reaction to any medication please seek medical advice.

DocTap is featured in

Doctors Appointments from £49