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What does it do?

Cetirizine is used to treat and prevent allergic conditions such as hayfever and skin rashes.

How should you take it?

Take cetirizine as directed.
Take the tablets with a glass of water.
Measure the liquid carefully with an oral syringe or measuring spoon.

What if you forget a dose?

Should an occasional dose be missed it need not be taken later.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with cetirizine including:

  • other antihistamines (may be in anti-allergy, anti-nausea and cough/cold medicines)
  • other medicines that may cause drowsiness (e.g. pain-killers, anti-nausea and cough/cold medicines – ask your pharmacist)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Drowsiness, headache, weakness, dizziness

Dry mouth, cough

Trouble sleeping

Stomach upset

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Cetirizine may make you dizzy or sleepy and make it dangerous to drive, operate machinery or do other activities that require you to be alert. Limit alcohol intake because it can increase these effects.
  • Children are more likely to experience side effects with cetirizine than adults - discuss with your pharmacist or doctor.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. March 2013

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed