Antihistamine for itchy skin

Itching Relief

Topic Overview

Home remedies may relieve itching.

To relieve itching

  • Avoid further contact with whatever you suspect is causing the itching.
  • Keep the itchy area cool and wet. Apply a washcloth that has been soaked in ice water, or get in a cool tub or shower. But remember that repeated wetting and drying will actually dry your skin.
  • Avoid taking a hot shower or bath. Keep the water as cool as you can tolerate.
  • Add a handful of oatmeal (ground to a powder) to your bath. Or you can try an oatmeal bath product, such as Aveeno.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda mixed with water.

If any of these home remedies make the itching worse, stop using them.

To keep itching from getting worse

You may be able to prevent itching from getting worse.

  • Stay out of the sun and in a cool place. Heat increases itching.
  • Use as little soap as possible. If you use soap, use a gentle one, such as Dove, Oil of Olay, or Basis. Avoid using strong soaps and deodorant soaps around blisters or a rash.
  • Try a cool, saltwater compress. To make the solution for the compress, use 2 tsp of salt in 1 qt (1 L) of cool water. Wet a washcloth with the solution and apply the cloth to your skin.
  • Avoid dry skin, which will worsen itching. Apply a moisturizer or calamine lotion to the skin while it is damp. For more information, see the topic Dry Skin and Itching.
  • Try washing your clothes with a mild detergent such as Cheer Free and Gentle or Ecover. Rinse twice to remove all traces of the cleaning product. Avoid strong detergents when you have a rash.
  • Take several breaks during the day to do a relaxation exercise, particularly before going to bed, if stress appears to cause your itching or make it worse.
    • Sit or lie down, and try to clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Concentrate on relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with your toes and going up to your head.
    • For more information, see the topic Stress Management.

Don’t scratch. Scratching leads to more itching and may cause a skin infection to develop. Cut nails short or wear cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching. Put mittens or cotton socks on the hands of babies and young children to prevent scratching.

Over-the-counter medicines for itching

If home treatment doesn’t relieve the itching, you may want to try taking an over-the-counter medicine.

  • Try a nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream for small itchy areas.
    • Use only a tiny amount of cream on the face or genitals.
    • If itching is severe, your doctor may prescribe a stronger cream.
    • Note: Don’t use the cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. Don’t use it in the rectal or vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Calamine lotion may help dry out itchy, oozing blisters.
  • Oral antihistamines may relieve the itching. Nondrowsy oral antihistamines include fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin). Antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) are less expensive but can make you feel sleepy. Don’t give antihistamines to your child unless you’ve checked with the doctor first.
    • Read and follow any warnings on the label.
    • Avoid applying antihistamine, such as Benadryl cream, spray, or gel, or Caladryl lotion, to the skin. These products may further irritate your skin. Also, it is more difficult to control the dosage of medicine that is absorbed through the skin.

If the itching is severe and it interferes with sleep or other activities for more than 2 days, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms.

Antihistamines Take the Itch Out of Eczema

Unbearably itchy skin is a very common eczema symptom, but scratching only makes the skin condition worse and invites infection. When itching is very troublesome, eczema treatment often includes antihistamines – drugs to stop the itch-scratch cycle of eczema that can even keep you up at night.

Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common type of eczema and is considered similar to an allergic condition.

In the case of allergies, the body mistakes harmless substances, such as pollen or dust mites, as a threat and releases histamine, an immune system protein that helps protect cells from infection, to fight them off. Allergic symptoms, like itchy eyes and skin, can flare up as a result.

Antihistamines are drugs that are often used to treat allergic conditions. They work by blocking the effects of histamine to provide relief.

Antihistamines “are the only oral medications we have to treat itching,” says Suephy Chen, MD, MS, an associate professor in the department of dermatology at Emory University in Atlanta. But she explains that they work differently when used as an eczema treatment.

Antihistamines As a Treatment for Eczema

“Eczema is not really a histamine problem, but antihistamines do seem to have some effect. The sedating effect is helpful because scratching always makes eczema worse. So, if the medications keep people from scratching, indirectly they can help the eczema,” Dr. Chen says, but adds that antihistamines are not as effective as we would like in treating the itch of eczema.

There are generally two types of oral antihistamines on the market today: first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines. First-generation drugs, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), affect the brain and can cause side effects like drowsiness. These are the antihistamines that are most beneficial as a treatment for eczema, especially if the eczema symptom of itchy skin is keeping you from sleeping. Researchers believe getting a good night’s sleep promotes skin healing. When taken as directed, they are safe, even for children.

Since second-generation antihistamines don’t have an effect on the brain, they aren’t sedating. So, Chen says, as a treatment for eczema, second-generation drugs are “even less likely to work because of the non-sedating properties.” Second-generation antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

Side Effects of Antihistamines As Treatment for Eczema

Since first-generation drugs are sedating, here are some side effects you need to watch out for, especially if you’re not just taking them before bed:

  • Your ability to drive or operate machinery may be impaired.
  • You might not be able to think clearly, so work or school may be difficult.
  • Mixing antihistamines with other sedatives, muscle relaxers, or sleeping pills can increase the sedation.

Common side effects also include dry mouth and eyes, headaches, and abdominal pain. First-generation antihistamines may not be right for you. Talk to you doctor if you have any of these medical conditions:

  • Glaucoma
  • Trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland
  • Breathing problems, including asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart disease or high blood pressure

Many first-generation antihistamines are available without a prescription at your local drugstore. Prices vary, but at one nationwide drugstore chain, a box of 24 Benadryl Allergy Liqui-Gels cost less than $6. Store brands with the same active ingredients are generally less expensive. Ask your doctor about the antihistamine that would be best for you.

Taking Care of Your Eczema

Stopping itchy eczema symptoms before they start is essential to managing the condition. Sticking to your medications and steering clear of irritants or allergens is very important. And of course, don’t forget to keep your skin hydrated by using plenty of moisturizer.

Home Remedies: The painful irritation of eczema

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It’s common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.

No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.

To help reduce itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care measures:

  • Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication. Options include nonprescription allergy medicines (antihistamines) — such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). Also, diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may be helpful if itching is severe. But it can make you drowsy, so it’s better for bedtime.
  • Take a bleach bath. A diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related infections. Add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water — measures are for a U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes.Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for about 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize. Take a bleach bath no more than two or three times a week.
  • Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area. A nonprescription hydrocortisone cream, containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone, can temporarily relieve the itch. Apply it to the affected area before you moisturize. Once your reaction has improved, you may use this type of cream less often to prevent flare-ups.
  • Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. Use a moisturizer all over while your skin is still damp from a bath or shower. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and the sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, consider using oil or lubricating cream.
  • Avoid scratching. Cover the itchy area if you can’t keep from scratching it. Trim nails and wear gloves at night.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses. Covering the affected area with bandages and dressings helps protect the skin and prevent scratching.
  • Take a warm bath. Sprinkle the bath water with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal — a finely ground oatmeal that is made for the bathtub (Aveeno, others). Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then pat dry and apply medicated lotions, moisturizers or both (use the medicated form first).
  • Choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes. Be sure to rinse the soap completely off your body.
  • Use a humidifier. Hot, dry indoor air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace adds moisture to the air inside your home. Keep your humidifier clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Wear cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing. Reduce irritation by avoiding clothing that’s rough, tight, scratchy or made from wool. Also, wear appropriate clothing in hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating.
  • Treat stress and anxiety. Stress and other emotional disorders can worsen atopic dermatitis. Acknowledging those and trying to improve your emotional health can help.

See your doctor if your atopic dermatitis symptoms distract you from your daily routines or prevent you from sleeping. Related news: Mayo Clinic Minute: Protecting babies from eczema risk.

When you have flare-ups caused by eczema, all you want to do is get rid of them. In fact, one of the most common go-to medication of people with eczema is antihistamine like Benadryl. But does Benadryl for eczema really work?

Before we even talk about how effective Benadryl for eczema is, let us first talk about what eczema is all about.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis is a condition that makes the skin red and itchy. This skin condition commonly appears on children, but could also occur in any stage of life, at any age. Although not life-threatening, some cases of eczema could last a lifetime. Although when a person has it during infancy, most often than not, he or she will outgrow it.

Speaking of children, in a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 10 percent of kids in the United States have eczema. While another study says that over 30 million people in the US have this skin condition.

Eczema is indeed a very common medical condition, but here’s the thing, it does not have a cure. As mentioned earlier you could either outgrow it or deal with it for the rest of your life. No wonder why a lot of people are doing their best to find a cure or at least find ways to help ease out or manage its symptoms.

Eczema is sometimes mistaken for rashes because of the redness and itchiness. In fact, some people have mistaken it for other skin conditions like heat rash, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. However, eczema actually has unique characteristics. Rashes caused by eczema looks like patches of red, rough, and itchy skin on cheeks, forehead, legs, and arms of babies, and it also shows up inside the elbows, ankles, and knees in older children.

Causes of Eczema Flare-ups

Later on, we will talk more about Benadryl for eczema. But first, what trigger an eczema flare?

Here are some of the everyday things that could result in eczema flare-up or even make it worse:

– Dry Skin

When your skin is too dry, it could get brittle, rough, scaly, or tight. When that happens, expect that there is a huge tendency of an eczema flare-up. You do not want that to happen, right? That is why it is important for people with eczema to keep their skin hydrated and moisturized.

– Weather and Perspiration

On one hand, one of the main culprits of eczema flare-ups is the weather – especially when it’s hot. Hot temperature causes perspiration or sweating among people. In the case of those with eczema condition though, it means, they are more likely to experience a “prickly heat” sensation when they perspire. Apart from the direct heat of the sun, the heat and sweat caused by exercising or wearing layers of clothes can also lead to flare-ups.

On the other hand, cold winter months can also trigger eczema flare-ups. During this season, there’s a tendency for our skin to get too dry – which may lead to irritation and eczema flare-up. You are also likely to experience inconvenience brought by this skin condition when the air is too dry or too humid. Also avoid taking long, hot showers or baths as they may also trigger flare-ups.

So, yeah, basically, no matter what the weather is, you have to take extra precautions when you are diagnosed with eczema. Otherwise, you might just have to deal with the flare-ups.

– Irritants

There are a lot of irritants out there. They could be in the form of everyday products or natural substances. When these irritants reach your ski, most likely, it will cause burning sensation and itchiness on the skin, or could lead to dry and red skin.

To give you an idea, man-made irritants include:

– hand and dishwashing soap

– laundry detergent

– bubble bath

– shampoo

– body wash

– surface cleaners and disinfectants

– metals particularly nickel

– fragrances

– fabrics like wool and polyester

– cigarette smoke

– antibacterial ointment

– formaldehyde, which is commonly found in some vaccines, household disinfectants, glues and adhesives

– Isothiazolinones, which is an antibacterial that is present in personal care products such as baby wipes

– Paraphenylenediamine, which is commonly used in leather dyes and temporary tattoos

– Cocamidopropyl betaine that is used to thicken products like lotions and shampoos

Meanwhile, some natural irritants include natural liquids like juices from fresh fruits, meats or vegetables.

– Stress

Yes, stress can cause eczema flare-ups, especially among adults. There is actually no definite reason why stress triggers eczema, but some people noticed that eczema symptoms get worse when they feel stressed – particularly emotional stress. We thought maybe it has something to do with the chemical imbalance in the body caused by stress. Well, we could only assume. We better find out if there really is a basis for this theory.

– Hormones

Yes, body hormones have something to do with eczema flare-ups, too! Hormones, as you may know, are substances produced by our bodies that may cause a wide variety of symptoms. Based on studies, they found out that when the levels of some specific hormone in your body increases or decreases, there’s a tendency that people with eczema, particularly women, may have flare-ups.

– Infection

When you have eczema flare-ups, you should be wary of having it infected by viruses or bacteria that are present in the environment. Some common triggers for infection are molluscum virus, herpes virus, and some specific kinds of fungus.

It is vital to be informed of these different infections, as well as to what causes them. That way, you get to know how to handle if you have such a case so as not to worsen your eczema.

– Allergens

Unfortunately, there are natural materials that cause you allergic reaction and could help trigger an eczema flare-up. Among the most common allergens present in the everyday environment are dust mites, seasonal pollen, mold, and dandruff, as well as pet dander from cats and dogs. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, are also considered as allergens.

Unfortunately, there are some allergens that cause eczema symptoms to stay longer or triggers to come back that are harder to figure out. That is why it is highly recommended that you know what allergens to avoid. That way, you can help keep your eczema symptoms in control.

We suggest you get yourself checked for allergies. By doing so, you get to have full knowledge of what and what not to avoid.

Having said all of these, we think it all boils down to one thing – you have to know your body, and you have to learn to adjust to your environment if you want to stay away from experiencing eczema symptoms or flare-ups.

How to help reduce the effect of eczema flare-ups?

Eczema outbreaks can really become irritating, and at times, painful when not attended right away.

Imagine, your skin is inflamed and itchy. The worst feeling you could feel, right? Well, that exactly what people with eczema have to deal with when they are having flare-ups. Precisely why a lot of people diagnosed with eczema try whatever medication or precautions available for them just to keep them away from experiencing outbreaks.

With that said, we have gathered a few ways that help reduce the itchy feels and helps soothe inflamed skin. Here are some of the self-care measures that people with eczema may try on:

  1. Make it a habit, take a bleach bath regularly.

When we say bleach, we do not mean like putting bleach directly into your body. What we mean is a diluted-bleach bath. A diluted-bleach bath helps decrease the number of bacteria on the skin. To do this, you have to add a ½ cup of household bleach (please, not concentrated bleach) to a 40-gallon bathtub filled with warm water. Please note that we based the measurement on a US standard-sized tub.

Once done, soak your body from the neck down, or you may opt to just soak the affected areas of the skin only. Do this for about 10 minutes only. Please note to NOT submerge your head into the tub. Rinse, pat dry, and moisturize your skin after. Do the diluted-bleach bath for two to three times a week only.

  1. Always moisturize your skin – at least twice daily.

One of the culprits of eczema flare-ups is having dry skin. When you have dry skin, you are prone to outbreaks. That is why people diagnosed with eczema are highly advised to moisturize daily – in fact, at least twice a day.

The best time to put on your moisturizer is right after taking a bath, while your body is still damp. Make sure to pay attention to your arms, legs, sides, and back of your body. If you notice your skin is too dry, you may consider using oil or lubricating cream instead of moisturizer.

  1. Take a warm bath daily.

It may be very basic, but it does help a lot. Take a “special” warm bath by putting on some baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal, which is a finely ground oatmeal that is specially made for bathtub use. Then, soak your body for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry after, and then, put on some medicated lotions, moisturizers, or a combination of both – just make sure you put on the medicated one first.

It may sound like there’s too much that needs to be done – well, you just have to be patient and deal with it. After all, your skin is special. Thus, it needs special treatment, too.

  1. Put on an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the eczema-affected area of the skin.

For your information, this formulation is nonprescription hydrocortisone cream. It contains at least 1 percent of hydrocortisone, which helps to temporarily relieve the itch. Put it on to the affected area before applying moisturizer.

Make sure to check your progress. If you think your skin’s reaction has improved, then take it as your cue to use it less often.

  1. Use mild soaps only.

Your skin is very sensitive, and harsh soaps may have substances that can trigger eczema flare-ups. Thus, it is highly suggested that people with eczema use mild soaps only. Avoid using soaps with dyes and/or perfumes. When taking a bath, ensure that you have fully rinsed off the soap from your body.

  1. Wear clothing that uses cool, smooth-textured cotton fabric.

Your clothes can also trigger or worsen your eczema flare-ups. We do not want that. So, as much as possible wear clothing that is cotton-based. Avoid clothing that is rough-textured, tight, scratchy or clothing that is made using wool.

Also, make sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing only. When exercising, make sure to use exercising clothes that help prevent you from excessive sweating.

  1. Even if it’s tempting, do NOT scratch.

Avoid scratching the affected area. Instead, cover it to keep you from scratching it. At night, we suggest wearing gloves just in case. If you find it uncomfortable using gloves, at least make sure your nails are properly trimmed. After all, you do not want your eczema to worsen, right?

  1. Apply cool or wet compress.

In relation to the previous one, you may also apply a cool or wet compress to help protect your skin and prevent you from scratching it.

  1. If possible, use a humidifier.

There is a lot of humidifiers out there. You just have to find your right match. Remember, hot, dry indoor air can also trigger or worsen skin flare-ups. A handy home humidifier will make a big difference. Humidifiers help add moisture to the air inside your home. Please remember though to always keep your humidifiers clean to prevent it from the growth of fungi and/or bacteria.

  1. As much as possible, be stress and anxiety-free.

Remember that emotional stress is one of the causes of eczema flare-ups to worsen. So, as much as possible, do yourself a favor by staying away from stressors and things that may cause you anxiety. If you are having a hard time, you may consult experts to help you improve your emotional health.

  1. Consider taking an oral allergy or anti-itch medication.

Before getting into this do, you may ask your doctor’s recommendation first.

There are a few options to choose from. There’s nonprescription allergy medicines or antihistamines like cetirizine or fexofenadine. But one of the most commonly used is diphenhydramine, particularly Benadryl for eczema flare-ups. These medications help in managing the itchy feels.

However, these medicines have a drowsy effect, so it’s highly advisable to take it during bed or nap time.

Speaking of antihistamine, we will now dig deeper on how effective Benadryl for eczema is. This is to help us check if it’s really worth it. With that said, let’s proceed to the real deal.

Benadryl for Eczema

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl’s generic name is diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine that is commonly used to help relieve symptoms of allergy, hay fever, and the common cold. Symptoms include rash, itching, itchy eyes/nose/throat, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.

No wonder why some people use Benadryl for eczema since one of the commonly known causes of eczema is an allergy.

Apart from that, Benadryl or diphenhydramine is also used to help prevent or treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness due to motion sickness. In some cases, diphenhydramine is also used to help relax and fall asleep.

What this medication does in one hand is – it blocks a certain natural substance called histamine that your body is allergic to. On the other hand, it also has drying effects for treating runny nose and watery eyes.

Benadryl Formulation

Obviously, Benadryl’s active ingredient is diphenhydramine.

Meanwhile, its inactive ingredients include candelilla wax, colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, providone, pregelatinized starch, starch, stearic acid, titanium dioxide, and talc.

Is Benadryl for eczema really Effective?

While some people taking Benadryl for eczema flare-ups say that it is effective, well, to reduce or treat itchiness, definitely it is. Itchiness is one of the common reactions of the skin when having eczema flare-ups.

However, if we are talking about eczema per se, it’s not. Because to be honest, there really is no treatment for this medical condition – at least not yet.

As far as medical experts are a concern, taking Benadryl for eczema flare-ups is not bad at all – especially since it helps ease out the symptom of eczema. All the more if these people with eczema are also diagnosed to have allergic rhinitis, which ultimately is the main purpose of antihistamines.


To sum it all up, eczema is definitely not an easy skin condition to deal with especially because it does not have a cure, and all you can do is manage its symptoms.

But people with eczema need not feel frustrated or feel bad about having the condition because there are ways to at least help them manage the symptoms. But of course, before even getting into that, they have to first, be knowledgeable of what causes eczema flare-ups and avoid them.

But when things are not going your way, there are always some remedies like taking an antihistamine, Benadryl for eczema. While it does not really address or treat eczema, it does help you manage the itchiness caused by possible allergens.

About cetirizine

Type of medicine An antihistamine (non-drowsy)
Used for Allergies, such as hay fever and some allergic skin reactions
Also called (UK) Allacan®; Piriteze® Allergy; Pollenshield® Hayfever; Benadryl® Allergy; Zirtek®; Zirtek® Allergy
Also called (USA) All Day Allergy®; Alleroff®; Wal-Zyr®; Zyrtec®; Zyrtec® Allergy
Available as Capsules, tablets and oral liquid medicine

Cetirizine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines – it is an anti-allergy medicine. It stops the effects of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and this helps to relieve the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever and urticaria.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or insect bites can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms. Cells in the lining of your nose and eyes release histamine when they come into contact with these substances. This leads to inflammation in your nose and eyes, which produces symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops. The rash can be triggered by an allergy to a substance such as a soap or a detergent.

Cetirizine can be prescribed for you by a doctor or dentist, or you can buy it without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Tablet and capsule formulations are generally suitable for adults and older children, whereas oral liquid medicine is available for younger children. Cetirizine is not suitable for children under 2 years of age.

Before taking cetirizine

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you (or your child), before you (or they) start taking cetirizine it is important that you discuss the treatment with a doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.
  • You/they have any kidney problems. If so, the recommended dose will be reduced.
  • You/they have epilepsy.
  • You/they have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • You/they are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines being taken which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You/they have ever had an allergic reaction to another antihistamine, or to any other medicine.

How to take cetirizine

  • Before starting the treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about cetirizine, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which could be experienced from taking it.
  • Recommended doses of cetirizine are:
    • For adults and for children aged over 12 years: 10 mg taken once a day.
    • For children aged 6-11 years: 5 mg taken twice daily.
    • For children aged 2-5 years: 2.5 mg taken twice daily.
  • If you are giving cetirizine liquid medicine to a child, make sure you follow the dosing instructions on the bottle carefully so that you measure out the correct dose for the age of your child.
  • You can take cetirizine either with or without food. Some people find it helps to swallow the tablets or capsules with a drink of water.
  • If you forget to take a dose, don’t worry, just take the next dose when it is needed and then continue as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Most people only need to take an antihistamine for a short while when they have symptoms. You should stop taking cetirizine once your symptoms have eased.
  • Although cetirizine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine, it can still cause drowsiness in a few people. If you are affected by drowsiness, do not drive, do not use a bicycle, and do not use tools or machines.
  • If you drink alcohol while you are on cetirizine, be aware of its effects on you and do not drink more than moderate amounts. Alcohol can increase the risk of side-effects from antihistamines.
  • If you are having an operation, or any treatment or tests (particularly if it is to test for an allergy), make sure you say that you are taking an antihistamine.
  • If you buy any medicines ‘over the counter’, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with an antihistamine. This is because a number of other medicines can increase the risk of side-effects.

Can cetirizine cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with cetirizine. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer’s information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Cetirizine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people) What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling tired, sleepy, or dizzy Do not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected. Do not drink alcohol
Dry mouth Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
Headache Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, speak with your doctor
Feeling sick (nausea), tummy (abdominal) pain Stick to simple meals – avoid fatty or spicy foods
Diarrhoea (in children) Drink plenty of water
Sore throat, nose irritation (in children) Speak with a doctor if troublesome

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to cetirizine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store cetirizine

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Cetirizine oral syrup

  • Allergic Rhinitis in Children
  • Upper Respiratory Disorders
  • Urticaria (Hives)
  • Acetaminophen; Pseudoephedrine Oral Capsules or Tablets
  • Acrivastine; Pseudoephedrine capsules
  • Azelastine eye solution
  • Azelastine nasal spray
  • Beclomethasone nasal spray
  • Beclomethasone respiratory inhalation aerosol
  • Betamethasone foam
  • Betamethasone injection
  • Betamethasone oral solution
  • Betamethasone skin cream, gel, lotion, or ointment
  • Betamethasone topical spray
  • Brompheniramine chewable tablets
  • Brompheniramine extended-release tablets or capsules
  • Brompheniramine oral liquid
  • Brompheniramine oral suspension
  • Brompheniramine; Pseudoephedrine capsules or tablets
  • Brompheniramine; Pseudoephedrine extended-release capsules or tablets
  • Brompheniramine; Pseudoephedrine Oral Drops
  • Brompheniramine; Pseudoephedrine oral solution
  • Brompheniramine; Pseudoephedrine oral suspension
  • Budesonide gastro-resistant capsules and extended-release tablets
  • Budesonide inhalation powder
  • Budesonide inhalation solution
  • Budesonide nasal spray
  • Budesonide rectal foam
  • Carbinoxamine capsules or tablets
  • Carbinoxamine oral solution
  • Carbinoxamine oral suspension
  • Cetirizine capsules
  • Cetirizine chewable tablets
  • Cetirizine orally disintegrating tablet
  • Cetirizine tablets
  • Chlorpheniramine extended-release tablets or capsules
  • Chlorpheniramine; Guaifenesin; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine elixir
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone oral solution or suspension
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine oral ER capsule
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine oral solution or syrup
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine Oral suspension
  • Chlorpheniramine oral solution or syrup
  • Chlorpheniramine oral suspension
  • Chlorpheniramine tablets
  • Clemastine oral syrup
  • Clemastine tablets
  • Corticotropin, ACTH Gel for Injection
  • Cortisone tablets
  • Cromolyn Sodium eye solution
  • Cromolyn Sodium inhalation aerosol
  • Cromolyn Sodium inhalation solution
  • Cromolyn Sodium nasal spray
  • Cromolyn Sodium oral solution
  • Cyproheptadine oral liquid
  • Cyproheptadine tablets
  • Desloratadine disintegrating tablets
  • Desloratadine syrup
  • Desloratadine tablets
  • Dexamethasone eye drops
  • Dexamethasone eye ointment
  • Dexamethasone injection
  • Dexamethasone intravitreal implant
  • Dexamethasone oral solution
  • Dexamethasone tablets
  • Diphenhydramine capsules or tablets
  • Diphenhydramine capsules or tablets
  • Diphenhydramine chewable tablet
  • Diphenhydramine disintegrating tablet
  • Diphenhydramine disintegrating tablet (Insomnia)
  • Diphenhydramine injection
  • Diphenhydramine Oral Suspension
  • Diphenhydramine oral syrup or elixir
  • Diphenhydramine Topical
  • Doxylamine chewable tablets
  • Doxylamine oral solution
  • Doxylamine oral suspension
  • Doxylamine Succinate Oral tablet
  • Doxylamine tablets
  • Fexofenadine capsules or tablets
  • Fexofenadine oral suspension
  • Fexofenadine orally disintegrating tablets
  • Fexofenadine; Pseudoephedrine tablets
  • Flunisolide inhalation aerosol
  • Flunisolide nasal spray
  • Fluticasone cream or ointment
  • Fluticasone Furoate Nasal spray
  • Fluticasone inhalation aerosol
  • Fluticasone inhalation powder
  • Fluticasone nasal spray
  • Fluticasone topical lotion
  • Hydrocortisone injection
  • Hydrocortisone rectal aerosol foam
  • Hydrocortisone rectal cream
  • Hydrocortisone rectal enema
  • Hydrocortisone skin cream, ointment, lotion, or solution
  • Hydrocortisone suppositories
  • Hydrocortisone tablets
  • Hydrocortisone topical spray
  • Hydroxyzine capsules or tablets
  • Hydroxyzine injection
  • Hydroxyzine oral solution
  • Hydroxyzine oral suspension
  • Hyoscyamine biphasic tablets or sustained-release capsules or tablets
  • Hyoscyamine elixir or solution
  • Hyoscyamine infant drops
  • Hyoscyamine injection
  • Hyoscyamine oral disintegrating tablets
  • Hyoscyamine sublingual tablet
  • Hyoscyamine tablets
  • Ipratropium aerosol inhaler
  • Ipratropium nasal spray
  • Ipratropium solution for inhalation
  • Loratadine capsules or tablets
  • Loratadine oral disintegrating tablets
  • Loratadine oral solution or syrup
  • Loratadine; Pseudoephedrine tablets
  • Methylprednisolone Solution for Injection
  • Methylprednisolone Suspension for Injection
  • Methylprednisolone tablets
  • Mometasone inhalation powder
  • Mometasone nasal spray
  • Mometasone respiratory inhalation suspension spray
  • Mometasone sinus implant
  • Mometasone skin cream, lotion, or ointment
  • Montelukast chewable tablets
  • Montelukast oral granules
  • Montelukast oral tablets
  • Phenylephrine; Promethazine oral syrup
  • Prednisolone eye solution or suspension
  • Prednisolone oral disintegrating tablet
  • Prednisolone oral solution or syrup
  • Prednisolone oral suspension
  • Prednisolone tablets
  • Prednisone delayed-release tablets
  • Prednisone oral solution
  • Prednisone tablets
  • Promethazine injection
  • Promethazine oral solution or syrup
  • Promethazine suppositories
  • Promethazine tablets
  • Triamcinolone dental paste
  • Triamcinolone injection
  • Triamcinolone nasal spray
  • Triamcinolone oral inhaler
  • Triamcinolone skin cream, ointment, lotion, or aerosol
  • Triamcinolone tablets

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