Cetirizine (Zyrtec) is an over-the-counter antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose. Cetirizine is used to treat cold or allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, or runny nose. Cetirizine is also used to treat itching and swelling caused by chronic urticaria (hives).
Many people (especially those who have been using Cetirizine for over 2-3 months) and when trying to get off Cetirizine (Zyrtec), find themselves experiencing an “abrupt Zyrtec withdrawal” side-effect of extreme itching. It’s amazing to note that this particular withdrawal side-effect of Cetirizine is not included in the medical literature. Thus many people continue taking Certirizine | Zyrtec because they believe it is supposed to help alleviate itchiness not cause it.
According to The People’s Pharmacy, they first notified the FDA about people reporting this withdrawal side-effect almost four years ago after receiving many complaints from users trying to get off of Zyrtec. However “there is still nothing in the medical literature or prescribing information about withdrawal symptoms.” And the “medical and scientific community seems equally indifferent.”
Unfortunately most doctors don’t know about this withdrawal side-effect from Zyrtec and other drugs that contain the ingredient Cetirizine. Taking your itching concern to your healthcare practitioner may get you comments like:”that’s the reason you need to keep on taking it” or “you cannot become addicted to an antihistamine.”
Know the Side Effects of Antihistamine Drugs
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Restlessness or moodiness (in some children)
- Trouble urinating or not being able to urinate
- Blurred vision
- Fast, pounding or uneven heartbeat
- Sleep problems
- Weakness or tremors
Drug Interactions When Using Antihistamines
Tell your doctor about all the medications you may use (both prescription and nonprescription), especially: sleeping pills, sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, medication for depression, seizure medications, narcotic pain relievers, other medications for colds/hay fever/allergies. Antihistamine use may also affect allergy testing. Do not start or stop any medicine without first checking with your healthcare practitioner.
Certainly these types of allergy drugs can be useful on a short-term basis, but they can become very problematic in the long-term.
The good news is that you can get off of cetirizine containing drugs, but it will take tapering off slowly as well as persistence and discipline.
Natural Remedies that may help one cope with the Zyrtec withdrawal side effects, primarily the itching (some are natural antihistamines)
- Vitamin C
- Aloe Vera (use topically and orally)
- Natural Vitamin E (use topically and orally)
- Hot showers (use a shower head that purifies the water)
- Applying unrefined coconut oil to the skin
- Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil (use orally)
- Butterbur (herb)
- Drinking good amounts of purified water
- Essential Oils (always use with a carrier oil) like Chamomile, Tea Tree, Geranium, Lavender, Eucalyptus
You can also find consumer complaints about cetirizine at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/rx/zyrtec.html
If you or a loved one have experienced this side effect from trying to get off of a product containing cetirizine, I would love to hear your experience.