What is Cetirizine used for?
Cetirizine is an over-the-counter drug that belong to a drug group called “anti-histamines” or H1-receptor blockers. They are typically used for treating various allergy symptoms. “Zyrtec” is one brand name of this drug which is considered a new-generation anti-histamine drug. This is because the new batches of cetirizine today cause less sedative effects than older releases. Less sedation simply means that the people taking this drug will feel less drowsy or sleepy.
As the name ‘anti-histamine’ implies, cetirizine works by blocking the action of histamine in the body. Histamine is the substance responsible for the various allergic reactions of the body which may include itching on the nose and or throat, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. When histamine is blocked by drugs like cetirizine, then these allergy symptoms will be relieved. Some also use cetirizine to relieve itching from hives.
Cetirizine is available in oral tablet form and at 5mg and 10mg variants. Although this drug is a non-prescription drug, it is still advisable to coordinate with doctors regarding proper dosage and frequency of taking this drug. Cetirizine may also be taken during meal time. Although the new generation cetirizine drugs of today cause less sedation, it doesn’t mean that this drug won’t make some people drowsy. Based on studies, 14% of people under cetirizine medication still experience sleepiness. When under medication, each person must make sure to avoid doing an activity that requires oneself to be fully awake and alert. Activities such as driving and operating a big machine should be avoided to avoid accidents. Patients are also advised not to take any form of alcohol while on cetirizine medication as it may increase the sedative effects of the drug.
Other side effects of cetirizine include dry mouth, headache, body weakness, nausea, soar throat, and jittery feeling. When any of these side effects occur, one must consult with his/her doctor immediately.