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Bulas and Medicines 2023

Cetirizine: what it is for, how to take it and possible side effects

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Cetirizine: what it is for, how to take it and possible side effects
Cetirizine: what it is for, how to take it and possible side effects

Cetirizine is an antiallergic that works by reducing the production of histamine in the body, a substance responsible for allergy symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes or skin, and can be used to treat allergy or to relieve cold symptoms, for example.

This drug is available in pharmacies and drugstores under the trade name Zyrtec or in generic form under the name cetirizine dihydrochloride or under the similar names Reactine or Certitec, for example.

Cetirizine can be purchased in the form of tablets or oral solution, indicated for adults or children from 2 years of age, and should only be used with medical indication and prescription.

What is it for

Cetirizine can be used for the relief of allergy or allergic rhinitis symptoms such as itchy nose, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, increased tear production, redness or itchy skin. In addition, it can also be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms.

How to take it

Cetirizine should be taken orally with a glass of water, before or after food, at the dose and period of time established by the doctor.

However, if you forget to take a dose on time, take it as soon as you remember, but if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and wait for the next time to take it. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.

The way to take cetirizine varies depending on the presentation, and includes:

1. 10 mg tablets

Cetirizine in tablet form is available in a pack of 12 tablets, and must be taken whole, without breaking or chewing, as the tablet has a coating to prevent stomach irritation.

These tablets can be used by adults or children over 12 years old, with the recommended dose being 1 tablet of 10 mg once a day, orally. If the child has a kidney problem, the doctor should adjust the dose according to the child's weight and kidney function.

2. Oral solution/syrup

Cetirizine oral solution is sold in 120mL bottles, it must be taken using the doser that comes in the package and the dose depends on the age of the person:

  • Adults and children over 12 years: 5 to 10 mL of oral solution once a day. Do not take more than 10 mL in 24 hours;

  • Children from 6 to 11 years: 5 mL of oral solution, which is equivalent to a dose of 5 mg of cetirizine, twice a day, that is, a dose of 5 mL every 12 hours. Do not give a dose greater than 10 mL within 24 hours;

  • Children from 2 to 5 years: 2.5 mL of oral solution, which is equivalent to a dose of 2.5 mg of cetirizine, twice a day, i.e., a dose of 2.5 mL every 12 hours. Do not give a dose greater than 5 mL within 24 hours.

It is important to follow your doctor's recommendations on how long to take cetirizine, as it is usually used for a short period until symptoms disappear.

3. Drops

Cetirizine drops can be found in 10, 15 or 20 ml bottles, and must be used with the dropper that comes in the package, following the dose recommended by the doctor:

  • Adults and children over 12 years: 20 drops (10 mg) every 24 hours;
  • Children between 6 and 12 years: 10 drops (5 mg) every 12 hours;
  • Children 2 to 6 years: 5 drops (2.5 mg) every 12 hours.

It must not be forgotten that 20 drops, ie 1 ml, are equivalent to 10 mg of cetirizine. In addition, for correct administration, the drops must be applied in a spoon or diluted in an adequate volume of water, according to the doctor's recommendation.

Possible side effects

Some of the most common side effects that may occur during treatment with cetirizine are drowsiness, headache, tiredness, dizziness, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, dry mouth, restlessness, sore throat or mucosal irritation of the nose. While using cetirizine, caution should be exercised or activities such as driving, using heavy machinery, or performing hazardous activities should be avoided. In addition, alcohol use can increase the effects of drowsiness and dizziness if consumed at the same time as you are being treated with cetirizine, so it is important to avoid alcohol consumption.

Cetirizine can cause allergy with symptoms such as a tight throat, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, mouth or tongue, or hives.In this case, discontinue the use of cetirizine and seek immediate medical help or the nearest emergency department.

Immediate medical attention should also be sought if cetirizine is taken in larger than recommended doses and overdose symptoms such as rapid or irregular heartbeats, weakness, tremors, insomnia, agitation, mental confusion, problems with vision, or urinating less than normal, or not urinating at all.

Who should not use

Cetirizine should not be used by children under 2 years of age, pregnant or breast-feeding women, and people who have impaired kidney function.

This medication should also not be used by people who are allergic to cetirizine.

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