The People's Perspective on Medicine

Cetirizine (su-TEER-a-zeen)

Overview

Cetirizine is an antihistamine used to treat allergies such as hay fever. It alleviates symptoms of runny nose, itchy, red, watery eyes, and sneezing.

Zyrtec has also been found to be helpful against hives and itching of the skin.

Cetirizine works by blocking histamines released in the body in response to allergens. When it was introduced, it was not expected to cause sedation. At effective doses, however, cetirizine may make many people feel drowsy. A closely related drug, levocetirizine (Xyzal) is available only by prescription in the US.

Side Effects and Interactions

The most common side effects of Zyrtec include drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness. Constipation, nausea, headache, sore throat and cough are not unusual. Rare side effects may include tremor, increased appetite, weight gain, ringing in ears, muscle pain, skin rash, hair loss, and liver enzyme elevations. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly, but especially such potentially serious side effects as

  • Confusion, restlessness, hyperactivity
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Sleep problems, weakness, uncontrollable shaking
  • Vision problems
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all

Be aware that it may be difficult to discontinue cetirizine if it has been taken continuously for some time. Many people experience intolerable itching for several weeks if they stop the drug abruptly.

Drug interactions are apparently uncommon, though alcohol and nervous system depressants could add to the sedative action of cetirizine.

Special Precautions

Older people and those with kidney or liver problems may not eliminate cetirizine efficiently and will likely need a lower dose.

Because this antihistamine may cause drowsiness it could make driving dangerous. This is also true for any task that requires mental alertness.

Do not drink alcohol or take other sedating drugs, as it could add to this effect.

Taking the Medicine

Food has very little impact on cetirizine absorption and consequently this medicine can be taken once a day at a time that is convenient.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I got dermatographia, according to my doctor, years ago after coming back from a trip overseas. I had streaking of the skin and mild itching every once in a while. After about a year the streaking stopped but would get itchy every 4 days, and a Zyrtec which stopped it immediately. I have been doing this for over 10 years now, and I am shocked to realize that my itching is from the Zyrtec itself. I will reduce dose and hopefully fight through itching until it stops without taking another Zyrtec. Incredible. Can anyone tell me how long itching may persist after I stop taking Zyrtec?

I’ve also experienced zyrtec withdrawal symptoms–unbearable itching accompanied by agitation that seems to ramp up even before the itching starts. My doctor prescribed hydroxizine pamoate as an alternative; apparently it’s an antihistamine often prescribed for itching, but also sometimes prescribed for anxiety, with a chemical similarity(?) to cetirizine. I was able to use that to bridge off the cetirizine and it works well for me as my go-to on days with a lot of allergens about.

I have taken Zrytec D for years and decided to stop taking it after I moved cross country. I was glad to find these comments, as I am itching like crazy. I stopped the drug about 1 week ago and am still itching. How long will the itching last???

I take zyrtec every night as part of treatment for angioedema, for which I was diagnosed back in 2000. Recently bought some over the counter at walmart, their generic (cheaper) kind, and started itching on both arms. It comes and goes. Also hair loss. Don’t know if it’s caused by the generic zyrtec or not. I will buy some non-generic and see what happens. I have to take this along with benadryl every day of my life for the angioedema.

I have found two things that help me get past the terrible itching in hands and feet.

1. hydrocortisone (topical) – I was so desperate I stole some of my cat’s “hot spot” spray. It worked.

2. hand-held vibrating massager – numbs the nervous system.

Hope this helps someone. The itch is TERRIBLE.

I am having the exact same problem and thought I was going crazy or it was my antibiotic. Awful burning and itching in hands and feet. Burning throughout my body and tingling in feet and hands. I also was blowing blood out, which wasn’t happening before and have strange yellow liquid drip now. I also feel hot and constantly sweating. I am stopping this drug immediately and hope things go back to normal.

I started taking cetirizine about 3 days ago parts of my body is burning as if I have a rash and I’m itching and tingling in the inside of my skin is that normal??? I see everybody having side effects after they stop taking it but mines happen when I started taking it … someone please tell me I’m not crazy

I have been taking Zyrtec everyday for 6+ years. Every time I would try to stop, I would get the incredible itch that many of you have experienced. In January, I decided to start taking 1/2 pill everyday. In April, I took 1/2 pill every other day, and I stopped completely in Mid July. I did have some itch, but not as bad. In early June, my hair dresser noticed 2 bald patches on the back of my head. I have been tested for Thyroid issues and I was normal. The dermatologist diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata. I am in total denial that at age 37, I would just now being getting Alopecia. Has anyone else experienced this with withdrawal? Now that I am off Zyrtec for 30 days, I do have an appointment at the end of the month to get allergy tested; however, I am anxious to know if this could be the cause of my hair loss. I have long thick hair, so I have been able hide the spots, but they are continuing to grow. One patch has grown to the size of about 3 quarters, and the other, while it started out as a Nickel size when I first found it, has grown to slightly larger than a quarter in only 2 months time. This is VERY scary. PLEASE.. .if anyone can share a similar story, I would feel so much better.

I used Zyrtec for about only one month for my sinus inflammation which Dr. said might be due to allergy, but whenever I missed Zyrtec dose I started running nose and symptoms of seasonal allergy which I never had in my life, so I stopped using it and the seasonal allergy was gone.

It seems like withdrawal from Zyrtec can lead to some allergy issues for people with on allergy history.

I told this to my husband who was using Zyrtec for his allergy every other day for about two years and he switched to Claritin and now he occasionally (once in two weeks) needs to take a Claritin tablet.

I would recommend anyone taking Zyrtec to get off this “Crack ” It is the worst thing ive ever been through,trying to get off it.Terrible intense itching!!I have found nothing that helps the itching and refuse to take any Antihistimines…I just want to detox my body of this morbid drug.

Can you tell me how long it took before you felt normal again?

Hello I have been taking cetirizine for a couple of weeks, but recently I have been losing hair. Has any one else has this problem?

I started to take 1/2 tablet of Zyrtec for irritation in the eyes due to seasonal allergies. I could see positive effect within one hour, but I started to feel drowsy and had hard time keeping awake. Drowsiness lasted for almost two days. After two days, irritation in the eyes returned, but was not too bad. So I took another 1/2 tablet which again worked wonder but I started to feel drowsy again. That is when I realized that drowsiness is related to Zyrtec. But this time I also noticed pain in the knees, both below and above both knees. I tried to do yoga stretching, it gave some relief, but only temporarily. I also noticed that while walking even my feet hurt. The knee pain is bothering me and I am thinking of going to a knee doctor. But I strongly believe that Zyrtec is responsible for the strange knee pain which I had never experienced before.

About a year ago, I took one full tablet of Zyrtec. My head was hurting so bad, I did not take another dose. I am sharing this information only to tell what I feel after taking this medication. May be some other medication will work better without all these side effects.

Wow, I only took this Zyrtec for 3 days and started getting this kee pain so bad it kept me awake a full night … Glad I found this comment … These pills are going in the bin !

I have been on cetirizine for years all year round, decided to go off it as I had heard of the salt pipe which I bought, off them completely about 8 weeks and I am going mad with itch, in bed, out of bed, random parts of my body all times of the day, the salt pipe has cured my allergies, just wish it would help with the itch.

Hi guys , growing up in the desert environment of Dubai I had no idea I had seasonal allergies when moved to US & ater Toronto.
Allergies start in Early June and finish August. After try 10mg I finally started getting relief with 20mg.
I am heavy 100kgs & 6 ft tall and I still get little itchey eyes and I take Patenol another at anti hestiminic med for eyes.
Patenol helps , but I am going to increase my 20 mg to 30mg. 20mg at breakfast and 10mg at dinner. I remember I think I followed this mg palm last year and I was comfortable. ….
Discuss with doc before you change your dose. Doc always advise as per recommendation but I increased extra 10mg & it works for me .

I had been on Zirtek since 2000. I had taken it to counteract an allergic reaction to one other medication. I developed a severe itch, starting in the palm of my hands, unbearable, and then all over my body. I thought I had developed chronic urticaria due to the previous medication. I saw countless doctors, had many tests and got diagnosed with idiopathic urticaria. ‘Take Zirtek’, I was told, ‘you lucky, at least it works for you’. So I did, for 15 years, dutifully every evening, dreading been left without a dose. I also developed Restless leg Syndrome, ulnar nerve pain, pins and needles in my arms, and would get very agitated and restless, twitchy by the time of the next dose.

Fast forward to 10 days ago, I was asked to stop Zirtek for 3 days to take an allergy test. First day, ok. Day 2, restless, twitchy, itchy, but bearable. Dreaded day 3, I realised I could survive. So I decided to give it a break and did some reading and found out about the withdrawal symptoms of Zirtek, which seems to actually mimic what we are trying to treat. I have stopped cold turkey now for 10 days and after the first week of itch, tingling, agitation, even flue like symptoms, I seems now to be free of everything. No itch, no twitch, nothing. Clear, normal and I cannot even believe this is possible. I am still incredulous and waiting a come back with vengeance of the itchiness, otherwise I could not justify to myself how I have been conned all this years. It seems incredible and I think this should be investigated.

I am a seasonal allergy sufferer spring and late fall. I have a strange side effect from Zyrtec and Claritin and so does one of my kids. I get needle and pins sensations down my arms and that is with the first dose it happened. I am sticking to Benadryl kids doses so that I don’t fall asleep or my doctor will give me a steroid shot for the allergies if they are getting too out of control.

For those that may consider short-term use of Zyrtec – I am a 44 year old male and have have severe cat allergies since I can remember.

For 15 years, I vacation and typically stay with a friend that has a separate pool house and a long-hair cat in the main house. I have never been able to even walk through the main house, without a severe allergic reaction – wheezing, red/watery eyes, sneezing . This is an immediate reaction.

Well, I had plans to visit 2 weeks ago and he already had some long-term guests in the pool house. I could not find a hotel room (under $400 night, within my budget) in town. My only option was his guest room or a tent in the front yard (seriously). So I started Zyrtec the day before I left for my trip.

I arrived, ready for a reaction and to suffer miserably. To my surprise, I had absolutely none. I was able to even sit in the living room and watch football, on the couch where the cat usually resided.

I stayed for 5 nights, without any noticeable allergic reaction. I stopped Zyrtec, upon departure, with no withdrawal symptoms, to speak of. It was a blessing for me that I circumvented allergic reaction to cats.

This is not a recommendation to take Zyrtec, but just my experience, surprising benefit and zero withdrawal. Also, I took the CVS store brand – not Zyrtec, branded.

I am taking cetirizine for allergies. It really helped with asthma, but I stopped because I ran out. Then I took loratadine cause store was out of cetirizine, but I got a cough and glue taste in mouth. Not sure if it was because of going off the cetrazine or getting on loratadine, but scalp itched really bad. Now I am back on cetrazine. It’s cheaper than an asthma inhaler.

Hi guys, I’m overwhelmed I found this site. I got delayed pressure urticaria and angioedema 10 year ago. Intense itching in hands feet, massive welts hives. I got put on this drug in hospital then seen an allergist. I have taken 2 tablets 20mg every night for 10 year. Like yourselves I get itchy palms every 24 hours when I’m due tablets so thought i still had urticaria ect. My health has declined over the years. Have had muscle and joint pains for 10 year, diagnosed fibrmyalgia. Diagnosed with chronic fatigue last 4 year.
Started getting really bad flares the last 5 year, feelings of trapped nerves, dragging legs, pain behind eyes, waking up in middle of night with severe back pain, which I have found out it muscles going into spasm in lower back. Weakness, very poor concentration, exhaustion, numbness, pins and needles hands and feet, the list goes on. Every test I get comes back negative.
Recently seen a neurologist because gp thought it could be ms. Results…negative, I swear they all thinking I’m making it up what is happening to me. So you guys I’ve done more research and was shocked to find out that this drug is a central nervous system stimulant (brain, spinal cord) and clearly states this on NHS(UK) website as the word CNS for short. So here’s a website http://www.drugs.com/pro/cetirizine.HTML its research into longterm effects of this drug, if scroll to the bottom of page you will be shocked at the damage it can do, to nerves in your body ect. I’m ringing docs Monday to try come off these, I’ve never missed a dose in 10 yr so taking advise from comments here and try ween myself of them. Sorry I’ve waffled but I’m so angry at what this drug has done, good luck to you all.

I took generic Zyrtec – Cetirizine for about 7 weeks. I loved it at first. I didn’t have a headache everyday, no post nasal drip. Ahhh, it was great.
After being an irritable, anxious, snappy hag for a couple weeks I started to do research on cetirizine. Needless to say I stopped that day.
I have been off for 1 week now. I have periods of severe, uncontrollable itching. It feels like insects are stinging and biting my body. I try to ignore the itching and my heart starts to race. Then I get shaky. Then the anxiety kicks in. I can’t focus. Couldn’t care less about sex. I’m hating everything right now.
Xanax or Lorazepam are the only things to help my anxiety. I have taken Benadryl when the itching attacks my entire body.
As I type this my thumb, hand, forearm, knee, ear, and hairline are itching. Aaaarrrggghhhh.
I am telling everyone I can about this drug. Stay away.

Hi Beth.
I live in the UK. I’m 65 and have taken cetirizine for 20 years so was very interested to read your post. I started with a problem in my right foot 12 years ago. Strange sensation walking. Couldn’t put pressure on forefoot so started limping. Used orthotics 3 years and it cleared up but started in left foot. Deteriorated quickly so I’m on long term sick from work and use crutches. Foot twists on contact with ground. This causes whole leg to spasm. Simplest tasks very awkward. Tried many therapies. Clear mri scans. Believed to be psychological. Now have stopped taking cetirizine to see if it changes anything. Have you noticed any difference in your symptoms? I’m having acupunctureknow but that seems to be making muscle contractions stronger. Be grateful for your reply. Kind regards Dot

I have taken Zyrtec for many many years. My Dr actually prescribed for me to take 2 a day, morning and evening. Several yrs back I started buying the Costco brand that is equivalent to Zyrtec. All the time I was taking the name brand and Costco brand I noticed no ill effects BUT I had not tried to stop taking it.
Approx. 2 months back or so I tried Walmart’s Equate brand of Cetirizine Hydrochloride (equivalent to Zyrtec). Within a week I was so run down and tired it was hard to function. The joints in my body were very painful and warm as well. I have systemic Lupus so I thought I had a flare-up of my Lupus. The flare-up seemed to be lasting too long (medication taken to lessen flare-up) but again I gave the allergy med no thought.
About 1 week ago I ran out of my Equate brand Cetirizine. My allergies were not horrible so I decided to see how I do without it. Well, I feel as if I have been through (and still slightly have) full blown drug withdrawal. No itching (which is odd after reading the above comments) but the second night I had severe vomiting that lasted throughout the evening into the early morning. I had what felt like anxiety, a severe headache and my body was quivering inside and out. The vomiting and headache were gone in less than 24 hours but I was left with this intense anxious feeling and quivering insides. My heart will take off at a very rapid pace and feel ‘fluttery’. That is accompanied by shortness of breath and an overall anxious and scared feeling. There are multiple times throughout the day where this comes and goes. I notice it more so at night when I’m laying down. Oh, and the joint pain? It’s almost completely gone now. Never would I have thought that a medication sold over-the-counter could be so harmful to the human body.
I am well on my way of being rid of this in my body and will not take it again. I don’t know what allergy medication I will use to replace it when needed but rest assured I will research it thoroughly BEFORE use. We are our own best advocates and over the last 20 yrs or so it seems drugs are being released for consumer consumption with a whole list of seriously negative side effects. I feel as if we are now the lab test subjects for the pharmaceutical industry.

Sorry.. Hi Linda!!
I looked at the wrong post for your name.

Hi HH.

I have been off Zyrtec for about 6 days now. I was on it for about 6 years, 1 pill every night before bed. I have noticed the itching, no hives but I am having extreme anxiety. At night its the worst and the mornings are pretty bad. Almost like a mild panic attack feeling.
I was wondering if your symptoms have gone away and how long did they last for? :(
I’m trying not to resort to xanaz or any anxiety medicine. I’m just curious how long you felt the way you did when stopping?

Thank You so much.

I have had extremely aggravated Restless Legs Syndrome every night this week that I have taken a generic Zyrtec. Usually, this only happens when allergy meds have diphenhydramine listed.

I used ‘Zyrtec’ for about 5 weeks and developed this horrible rash. I have stopped taking the ‘Zyrtec’ and the rash is finally starting to subside. I have tried so many things to help relieve the itching. The best thing so far has been zinc oxide cream. I will never take this medicine again and will warn others.

I have been taking zertec for about a week now, and have been experiencing this horrible nonstop coughing. So I didn’t take it and the coughing hasn’t stopped and now I am pretty much choking on my coughs. I am not worried about the hives that you guts have been saying you got from just stopping the zyrtec, because I would get them on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times a day. Have any of you experienced this while taking zyrtec? If so I’d really like some help because I am also very athletic and all this coughing is making sports difficult and if often keeps me from even sleeping at all.

In case it’s useful to others, I purchased Kroger’s all day allergy cetirizine hydrochloride tablets, 10 mg antihistamine, which they promote on the packaging as comparable to Zyrtec.
Within a very few minutes I started to feel like I was in a coma. I was dizzy, mentally and physically extremely sluggish, and utterly exhausted. I was too foggy to even watch t.v. or read. For the past two days, most of the day I have laid on my bed, feeling dizzy and sleeping (first day) and sleeping second day. I forced myself up for an hour or two each day by force of will, but moved through the house with difficulty feeling like a zombie. This medication was extremely toxic to me.
If I had studied all year to take the bar exam, I would have had to miss it. Likewise if I were getting married, making a career defining presentation etc. This medication made me THAT sick.
Of note is that on the dosing directions on the bottle, it says: “a 5 mg may be appropriate for less severe symptoms.” However the outside package did not include this disclaimer and the Kroger did not stock a 5 mg product. People purchase the product based on the outside packaging dosage recommendation and this reads “our pharmacists recommend.”
There is no antidote for this product according to medical sources on the internet. LOTS of other people have apparently had the same reaction I had. Some posts on the internet suggest that though this is a “24 hour” product, it is not a time release product and CAN be safely cut in half. High recommend any first time user buy the 5 mg product (if they can find it) or cut the product in half or less (after verifying with a pharmacist that this is safe) to insure that they can safely take it. You can always take more, but can’t rid your system of it after taking it, other than just waiting for time to pass.
I’m sure I would have had an adverse reaction to the 5 mg product as well, but it probably would have been half as bad. I took the medicine almost 48 hours ago and am only now BEGINNING to return to normal after being passed out another 12 hours of drugged sleep last night (36 hours after taking the product). And still VERY hard to get up.
Thanks to the Peoples Pharmacy for giving the consumer a voice and for so much more.

The same thing happened to me, using generic zyrtec, which i have used before, but this time within 30 minutes, i began to feel sluggish, then coma like. i was unable to function or concentrate on anything. i slept for 18 hours and i am still sluggish forcing myself to get up and move around.
i am flushing this down the toilet today. i will just deal with the allergies.

5 weeks ago, I came to see doctor at my local walk-in clinic. I had some itching areas on my back shoulders and both sides of my ribs. He said it was an allergy and prescribed me PMS-CETIRIZINE 20MG. I took 1 pill each day as he instructed, for 2 days. I stopped taking it, because I felt lousy and shutdown. My itch started to flare up and spreading to other areas of my body that had no itch previously: chat, forearms, elbows, back of neck, thighs, calves, head, forehead, feet, toes, hand knuckles, around nails, behind the ears, inside of the earlobes, cheeks.
I am scratching until I bleed. The itch on the head is like having thousands of Ants biting, and it keeps me up all night. I was given topical cream like Topicort, Hydrocortisone, Ectosone, Clobetasol, but they haven’t been helpful. The itchy areas have little bumps, some of them red, some not. Most areas have bruises and bleeding scratches. I am not sure if two pills of cetirizine would do all that as “withdrawal” side effects, but I can’t think otherwise! Both my GP doctor and dermatologist insisted that I have an allergy since the last week of Feb until now. This website is a real eye opener. I will bring it up to my GP doctor at my next appointment.

I have had Cold Urticaria for 25 years. I first notice the itching on a hot summers day when suddenly the clouds came over. After this, it happened when I took the dog out a night, and would arrive home with itchy red rashes on my legs. Once indoors, it would quickly disappear. As I’ve got older, I now have to take an antihistamine everyday to avoid itching from head to foot constantly.

It was suggested to me by my doctor to try an histamine to help flushes and headaches as I work in a stuffy office. I went to the boots pharmacist and was shown the various tablets. I did check the side effects and started the taking the tablets. I knew after the third day taking the tablet something was not right and stopped immediately and consulted my doctor. I did experience some side effects like dry mouth and hair and scalp felt alive and crawling and experienced some itching when using perfumed shampoos. Will I have suffer any long lasting effects after only 3 tablets and how long does it take for the drug to completely leave your body?

After reading this I have been taking cetrizine 4mths. N allergies thought they weren’t working developed itch arm. Not knowing about this I had stopped taking them. Which I now know was withdrawal I am back on them for 3mth no itch but joint pain. I am now going to stop this drug. And will wean myself off hope its not as hard as u people say day 1 half tab for MTV take it from there.

Did your joint pain go away?
My daughter took Zyrtec over a year ago and still has chronic joint pain and no longer can attend school & is in a day hospital program at a local children’s hospital.
I spoke with someone at Zyrtec who of course said they have no knowledge of Zyrtec causing joint pain, but this is a crazy coincidence.
T. Slezak

I was on It for 3 years and had joint pain in that time frame. I assumed it was because of my age. I’m off the drug for two weeks and my joint pain is gone. Now all I need to get through is the insane itching.

Hi Robyn!
The way you described your Zyrtec withdrawal itching (starting in the hands) sounds identical to the way my body responded to Zyrtec withdrawal, so I wanted to respond in case this helps!
I’ve posted a few times on this page describing the “weaning” process that I tried (after reading about it on a page like this one) that allowed me to quit Zyrtec. If you press Ctrl+F and search for “Kimberly,” you can read all of my posts above, but I’ll also just paste the content of a previous post below:

I tried for years to get off Zyrtec but had terrible itching any time I missed a pill!
My first attempt to quit Zyrtec was to go cold turkey. I made it ten days (itching and uncomfortable) but then broke out in hives (even though I was NOT scratching). I decided that was not a reasonable option for me since my body was reacting so strongly and since I was in school at the time and had things to be doing.
The second (successful!) attempt I made was to wean myself off of Zyrtec by cutting my pills in half. I did this in a few steps:
1. I cut my pills in half for about six months or so.
2. I then tried cutting my pills into quarters, but the itching returned.
3. I resumed taking a half pill every night for a while.
4. I then tried taking a half pill every /other/ night. This resulted in NO itching for me.
5. Then, after some time (maybe six months or a year) of taking a half pill every other night, I decided I was prepared to go cold turkey.
I expected to have the 15-day detox period described on some of the blogs, but, to my pleasant surprise, I had only very mild itching (and kind of a warmness in my face) for a couple of days, and then I was fine. (That was four years ago).
I know how frustrating this incredible Zyrtec-itching is, so I’m eager to share the weaning method that worked for me. Lots of luck and health!

I am having the same symptoms, I cant get past 36 hours without taking it again. The itching and burning starts with my hands and by the time I go to bed my feet, legs, trunk all itching… The symptoms stop within about 1 1/2 hours of taking again. I really don’t want to keep taking but the itching drives me insane. Please Help.

Day 60 off of Zyrtec-d. I am still itching in any area that grows hair (scalp, armpits, etc)… gained 15 pounds in 60 days and I’m a vegetarian fitness instructor. I am seriously considering going back on the drug.
I can’t live like this and feel no one believes me. Oh, and my nasal allergies are horrible. I snore now and I’m anxious. This stinks.

My 5yo son was prescribed cetirizine syrup as he had allergic rhinitis for many weeks. I was very concerned when the dr said to take it for 12 weeks and see how it goes – there was also a steroid nasal spray. I was concerns a bout my sons blocked nose and post nasal drip which was interfering with his sleeping. After 3 weeks on the medication the symptoms were still there but a little better.
After reading some comments online I didn’t like the potential side effects of the drug so I tried to wean my son off – he immediately got clogged up nasally and began to itch. I did some research and tried a different approach. I began him on a course of probiotics – first the acidophilus type and then as I researched more I changed to the rhamnosus type which he been shown to repopulate the nasal passages with good bacteria and help fight against staph etc – I continued the cetirizine 5mg per day and one spray – the symptoms began to ease!
After 2 weeks there was no nasal discharge but I felt his nsal passages were getting too dried out by the antihistamine and his sinus were gettin sore e.g forehead – so I decided to stop the antihistamine cold turkey and keep one or two sprays a needed – my poor son got the itches really bad but I knew from this site we had to keep going – none of the sinus or nasal symptoms reappeared but he had bad itches and skin crawling for 2 weeks!!! But I just distracted him and had other children over to play to wear him out so he at least had good sleeps – btw ALL allergy symptoms were gone!
Now we just had to deal with the cetirizine withdrawal arggggh. But happy to say he is now OFF cetirizine and the steroid spray was only used for 4 days after stopping cetirizine. The probiotics seems to work and he takes one rhamnosus cap every day. I believe the courses of antibiotics he had taken the previous year had wiped out his good bacteria and his nasal passages were shot – however the fear mongering dr said his allergic rhinitis could lead to asthma and he would have to be on cetirizine for the rest of his life!!!!
So grateful for this blog and also science for showing me that getting to the cause is much much better than treating symptoms. Note – no environmental changes so must have been the probiotics as this was the only change that allowed me to cease and desist with the antihistamine drugs. My son is over the withdrawal and it wasn’t too bad – worth it to get him well and OFF this horrendous drug. Sleeping like a baby – no nasal blockage – no post nasal drip – no asthma – and NO cetirizine.

I have taken a cetirizine based product for hayfever after the British spring & summer hit all at once bringing with it all the different types of pollen in one handy hit.
In previous years I have taken claritin products which have always been sufficient, but this year didn’t even touch the more severe hayfever symptoms I have experienced.
All in all have been taking cetirizine for around 2-3 months.
I stopped taking hayfever medication about 2 weeks ago now. I don’t seem to have experienced the itching other people seem to commonly be describing in this thread (or at least if I have been itching it has been relatively mild). Instead, two days into to cold turkey I awoke from sleep in the middle of the night to the most overwhelming and quite frankly terrifying feeling of anxiety.
Following on from this, leading up to day 7 I have experienced an increased heart rate and palpitations as well as an upset stomach. Thankfully this seems to have subsided now and I generally feel much calmer and am sleeping now.
I didn’t even make any connection between stopping taking hayefever medication and the symptoms I describe above until I was talking to some workmates about it and one suggested looking up withdrawal. I’m glad I did as I was starting to think I was going mad or at the very least something was very wrong with me!!!!
Day 13 and for the past couple of days I have felt dizzy when standing up and moving. I can sometimes suffer from an inner ear condition called labrynthitis which makes you feel dizzy and spaced but this would normally continue when I lie down so its hard to tell if this is to do with my ears or yet another fun come down symptom. Has anyone else experienced dizziness? When did they start and how long did it last for?

My daughter’s pediatrician prescribed OTC childrens Zyrtec for her for mild seasonal allergies when she was two years old. Up until this point she was a very happy, pleasant child who was a joy to be around. After we started this medication her entire demeanor changed. We thought she was having the terrible two’s on steroids. She was angry all the time, she had constant meltdowns over the tiniest things, she was violent with other children at the babysitters and almost the worst part was that sometimes she would look at you and you could tell that at that moment, she hated you.
I happened to mention to my sister at one point after this started that Linnie was on zyrtec. She told me to take her off of it right away. Turns out that my sister has the same reaction to this drug. Linnie returned to her normal loving and pleasant self within a few days of stopping the medication. I can’t recall if she suffered any withdrawal symptoms as I was not aware of the possibility at the time. I’ve taken zyrtec myself off and on for the past few years, but lucky for me I’m bad at remember to take my meds.
I may have had mild withdrawal symptoms in the past, but not bad enough for me to really take notice of. I started to take it again this spring, but have noticed mood changes the few times that I have taken it. I’ll be switching to claritin or allegra.

Have been on Z 10 mg. 2 pills 2x a day since Feb. for itching snd hives due to reaction from contrast media. Also was started on Doxepin 20 mg. nightly for persistent itching and dermatographia. Experiencing bad pain in knees and thighs. Put it up to my job… on feet 10 hours daily. Saw allergist today who told me side effects of Zyrtec too numerous to increase dose… had been getting breakthrough hives. Increased the Doxepin tonight and will start weaning off Zyrtec. Hope I can get off or at least cut down.
The knee pain and thigh aches are 8-10 on a scale 1-10. I can’t take NSAIDS as they increase the itching…. or pain meds due to my work as an RN. Pain so bad it wakes me up.

I’ve never had allergies until I moved to Nevada. I decided to try Zyrtec after reading some positive reviews. I wake up feeling so groggy and wanting to sleep for more hours and hours. My mouth does get really dry and cottony… I wonder if I should just take as needed or half dose. I’m going on vacation on Thursday to Texas.. could be new allergy there… but don’t want to be a groggy zombie either.

We had to work with a homeopathic doctor in order to get my daughter completely off of Zyrtec, symptom free. We tried on our own by slowly weaning her and she exploded out in hives. The homeopath adjusted some things in her diet and put her on some safe supplements, and this worked for her. Best of luck to those trying to get off of Zyrtec. This was a long reach for us to try homeopathic ways and we are convinced that it worked. Worth a try!

Unbelievable! I have had problems for three years now, asthma, allergies, etc.. Was on everything you can imagine, steroids, antihistamines, etc… I have been taking Zyrtec and Singulair. I have gained over 40 lbs since this nightmare began. I never had weight issues before! I have also had severe joint pain! I just thought it was all the extra weight!
Over the years I have stopped Zyrtec and tried other things. And yes, I experienced the hives and itching! I thought I was just having severe allergies!
I have been off Singulair for five days and only side effects are sluggishness. I now see that it isn’t the Singulair but the Zyrtec that is the problem..!! I am so afraid to do the weening process, knowing I have experienced the withdrawal symptoms before. But I am determined to get off this horrible medication!
Wish me luck!

I tried for years to get off Zyrtec but had terrible itching any time I missed a pill!
My first attempt to quit Zyrtec was to go cold turkey. I made it ten days but then broke out in hives (even though I was NOT scratching). I decided that was not a reasonable option for me since my body was reacting so strongly and since I was in school at the time and had things to be doing.
The second (successful!) attempt I made was to wean myself off of Zyrtec by cutting my pills in half. I did this in a few steps:
1. I cut my pills in half for about six months or so.
2. I then tried cutting my pills into quarters, but the itching returned.
3. I resumed taking a half pill every night for a while.
4. I then tried taking a half pill every /other/ night. This resulted in NO itching for me.
5. Then, after some time (maybe six months or a year) of taking a half pill every other night, I decided I was prepared to go cold turkey.
I expected to have the 15-day detox period described on some of the blogs, but, to my pleasant surprise, I had only very mild itching (and kind of a warmness in my face) for a couple of days, and then I was fine. (That was three years ago).
I know how frustrating this incredible Zyrtec-itching is, so I’m eager to share the weaning method that worked for me. Lots of luck and health!

I started taking Zyrtec when I moved back I’m with my parents after college to combat my allergies to the cats my parents have. I noticed within a few months that if I missed a dose, I would begin to feel very itchy but I attributed this to the cats in the house. When I moved out in January of this year, I tried to stop taking it hoping that I wouldn’t need it anymore without cats around. I was so wrong! Within a day or two I was itchy EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t believe the hives and welts that showed up on my skin where I was scratching myself raw.
I went back on it thinking I had developed an allergy to some pollen in the air. Fast forward to last week when I found this site and many others detailing the withdrawal symptoms of Zyrtec. Yikes. I knew immediately that I needed to get this crazy drug out of my system for good.
I took my last Zyrtec around 11:45pm Sunday, Sept 2nd and I am definitely feeling the symptoms I’ve seen mentioned. I’m itchy all over including the inside of my mouth, tips and bottoms of my feet and hands, and my scalp. I’ve noticed patches of hives and welts, anxiety; I’ve had to soak in an oatmeal bath and slather Sarna cream all over myself to stay sane and it’s only day 2. I’m determined to push through this and hoping these symptoms won’t last the two weeks that I keep seeing people mention. Good luck to all of you and I’ll post my progress in a week or two when I start feeling better. :( Don’t scratch too hard!

5 1/2 weeks off Zyrtec.
The itching hasn’t stopped but it does come and go and the periods between bouts of itching get longer and longer. I still have trouble sleeping. Still having vivid dreams that keep me from feeling rested. Gold Bond does help. Over the weekend I did break down and take a sleeping pill – and it was amazing. I felt so much better the next day. But I don’t want to to do anything to inhibit my body adapting to the histamine flood and most sleeping pills are some sort of antihistamine.
This whole thing has definitely effected my mood. I had some days where I was depressed to the degree of having suicidal type thoughts. Didn’t feel like myself at all. I felt like I wasn’t really there, like a piece of my soul was missing. This was when the sleep deprivation was worst so it probably doesn’t help. I have had headaches also and dizziness. Small red bumps surface sometimes and I get rashes – especially when exposed to heat. My hands turn yellow and get splotchy still when I get the ‘attacks’.
At least it’s better than it was! 2 weeks ago I was still having trouble carrying things with my hands. The palms of my hands would get itchy and w/ stabby pain in the gym and when I carried boxes.
I’ve come a long way and I still have at least a few weeks to go, I’m guessing, until I’m at least sleeping well again but a lot of things have improved. I was having cramps and some hormone related problems that seem to be improved. Last week my anxiety level was at an all time high and that’s somewhat managed now. Having a good attitude can help quite a bit so that takes some discipline to try and keep a positive outlook. I think caffeine has made the itching way worse so I’m experimenting with avoiding coffee now.
Also experimenting with the amino acid – L-Methionine which is supposed to maybe help the body break down histamine and lower blood histamine levels. Also a multi-mineral and extra magnesium have helped with sleep and any restless leg syndrome or fidgety feelings in the evening.
Posting about it every other week or so on a forum like this is helping me get through it and helps me assess my progress and what seems to be helping.
Good luck to everybody else going through this.

I started taking Zyrtec since May 2012, I was an Allegra user for years, but when it became OTC and expensive, I thought I would try this. It seems to have worked, but this past month I have started to notice my hair falling out, way more than I am used to seeing. I thought it was attributed to the stress that I have had at work, but golly, my hair? I long, very thick hair and in my 40s and this was not normal. Then it clicked, maybe it was Zyrtec?
So I just now hopped on to do an internet search and come across these posts about hair loss. I am not going crazy after all! I am going to stop this pill asap and hope to God that my hair loss stops. any other feedback would be greatly appreciated!

All… Have been on Zyrtec for 9 months to alleviate some allergy symptoms. I was only taking it once every three days or so during that period. Within a couple of months I developed ringing in the ears, and within 6 months bones my hands, feet, knees and shoulders started to ache terribly. I thought RA for sure. Also as a side note I developed the dark circles under my eyes… not sure if it is a liver issue or just the result of being tired all the time.
Anyway I am now on day 4 of going cold turkey! Itchy everywhere! I am hoping that all aches, pains and itchiness go away soon and no long term damage has been done to my body. I will write back with status…

Hi, I took Zyrtec 10mgn at bedtime for two years for allergies. It did help with the sneezing, runny nose and congestion. I recently decided to stop it, and did it as I would most other long term drugs I tapered it back. About two days after withdrawing the dose to 5mgm once a day I started itching. One minute my scalp then my thumb, then it would move to my arm or my chest or my foot or the my face.
The itch was constantly moving and I was scratching(which I knew was making it worse), so I really tried to ignore them. Except at night apparently I was itching in my sleep and would wake with scratch marks. I looked it up to see if this was common and found all these blogs. I was really angry as I’m so uncomfortable and there was nothing about this in the medical literature. I have no hives just incredible itchiness which I don’t want to take medicine for. Local lotions and creams don’t help as it is not in the same place.
I called the Zyrtec people and was met with incredibly dumb answer center employees, who claim this is very unusual, and they really have not heard of it. I asked the last “expert” what her education was and she said a medical assistant. She was not very knowledgeable particularly about histamine at the cellular level (Zyrtec is a class of anti histamines!)
Has anyone else reported this to the FDA or to McNeil the manufacturer of Zyrtec and Tylenol? I will follow up with this as I don’t think it is fair not to warn people . FDA is supposed to contact me but… we’ll see and I will certainly follow up.

I’m having the same withdrawal symptoms, well the difference is, mine are actual hives (urticaria). It seems to go away as soon as I get back on the Zyrtec. I’m hanging in there and taking the liquid Zyrtec (generic Kroger brand). I’m now down to 3/4 tsp once a day. I’m also feeling pressure on my sinuses and I’m getting worried.
I also have been losing a lot of hair which I know is also a rare side effect of Zyrtec. While on Zyrtec I have muscle aches and joint pain, horrible nightmares and feeling depressed and very angry. I am not even the same person anymore. I just noticed some people gained a lot of weight. That’s my problem too. I’ve gained weight on the middle and I exercise and follow a very healthy diet. Zyrtec’s the only med in my body. Uggh I want to get off of this right now.
Any other options for allergies for next year? I’ve tried homeopathy and they don’t work as well. I don’t want to go back to Zyrtec next year.
I will post how I am doing. I have a Dr. appointment on Wednesday and we’ll see, I’m really avoiding getting steroids to help with the hives.

I have been using generic chlortrimeton (the kind you take every 4 hours) for allergies for years. Most days I only need one dose.
I decided to switch to generic zyrtec — heard it was the best out there. I took my first 5 mg today. A few hours after taking it, I am dizzy and nauseated. I’m pretty sure it’s the drug.
After reading all the withdrawal horror stories, I’ve decided to throw the rest away. I hope not to have withdrawal after only 1 tablet.

I take generic Zyrtec for chronic hives. I have restless leg if I don’t take it now!!
Anyone else have that?

I started taking Zyrtec 4 days ago, prescribed for seasonal allergies. I have taken Claritin in the past with no problems. My doctor said she swears by Zyrtec, says she takes the “D” version daily herself, ( I am on regular version) and said she thinks it is better than other meds out there. I did notice a marked improvement in my symptoms, and was relived not to have much daytime fatigue with it.
However, I am having horrible, disturbing dreams – I’d say nightmares.This is definitely not common for me. I could not find information about this on any official lists of side effects, though did see other commenters on the internet mention this as a side effect. In addition, I have had what seems like restless legs, and palpitations. These side effects are not worth tolerating, and the above comments about withdrawal effects make me very concerned. I will go back to Claritin, and hope that an upcoming relocation will take me away from my allergy triggers so that I won’t need meds anymore.

My husband takes the zyrtek for seasonal allergies, and it does help him a lot for that. But with it possibly causing the back ache (lower back like yours), he isn’t sure what to do. We noticed his hands were unusually wrinkly yesterday, and he said that when he takes the zyrtek he thinks it just dries out everything (he urinates more too). So we are thinking that it is the drying of fluids that is probably causing the joint aches. He’s going to see if the doctor can prescribe a different antihistamine for the allergies.

I have been taking allegra and zyertec for about 5 months now because I was getting hives so bad that I went to an allergist and that is what he put me on. It has worked great but about a month ago I began to experience lower back pain which radiates through my upper right thigh so bad that I can’t sleep. I finally went to my GP and he ordered xrays which came back fine but the pain is still there and my joints hurt also. I was thinking of getting off both but now am nervous after reading these horror stories. I am on my feet most of the day at work which doesn’t help but it is the worst at night when I can’t get comfortable to sleep.

It’s funny I had the same thing. I took zyertec for a week. I stopped taking it and next thing I know I have red itchy bumps on my skin..

Has anyone noticed a connection between Zyrtec and joint pain? My husband started seeing a correlation between back pain and some joint pain when he is taking a generic of Zyrtec. He usually takes it at night, and when he wakes up he has the pain. He does not take it year round, and that is how he saw a connection. He just started up the Zyrtec about 2 weeks ago, and noticed the back pain, and remembered how he thought there might be a connection. So 2 days ago he stopped taking the zyrtec, and this morning he did not wake up with the back pain.
Could this be a side effect of antihistamines in general?

Hey, for all you itching from zyrtec withdrawal….
homeo Rhus Tox!!! Hylands makes one!
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We don’t know if this will work for Zyrtec withdrawal. If you try it, please report back.

After not being able to tolerate fiber for over a year and a half, I’m curious as to what you mean by “digestive issues”. I have also been taking Zyrtec, pretty much, as soon as it came onto the market, to replace Seldane, seasonally for many years, and then daily for the past 5.
***GROSS ALERT***
A little over 2 years ago, I began experiencing extreme diarrhea and stomach cramps. I discovered cellulose (aka woodpulp/fiber) aggravated it, discovered it is in many foods, meds and vitamins as fillers and binders, cut ALL THOSE out and am slowly beginning to reincorporate foods back into my diet. I am now wondering if the long term Zyrtec use could be a factor or cause. My liver levels have tested fine, but then again, I don’t drink and have never thought to tell the Dr.’s that until a recent conversation.

I read about these problems with Zyrtec a years or so back. I started researching it after taking zyrtec for a good 10+ years now, I felt the drug was no longer working (was getting bad allergies). So I decided I would just switch to allegra and try it, well after about 2 weeks without zyrtec I started getting headaches EVERY day, they would go away while I slept but come back just a few hours after waking up, I went to the doctor and the eye doctor, no one knew what was wrong. I also experienced the itching, it was random felt like I had bug bites UNDER the first few layers of skin, on chest/arms/back of hands, etc.
That itching is what lead me to see a handful of people report headaches after stopping Zyrtec, I thought what the heck! and took a zyrtec not even a few hours later headache went away! First time I hadn’t had one in almost 45 days so I was almost in tears I was so happy! I starting taking the pills once a day again and never had those headaches, but after about a month of feeling “ok” I decided I would try to ween myself off of them, I figured 45-60 days of 75% of a pill 50% then 25%, then 25% every other day, etc.
Well I am to the 25% every other day and after a few weeks of that I am getting the headaches again, not as bad (yet) as I had, but still it feels like a “minor” headache, but I feel dizzy and I am sensitive to light and feel nausea even, it is like a migraine without the horrible “pain” party just the feeling miserable part! I have warned everyone I know now about this, my doctor was shocked when I explained it all to him and was writing it all down and said he would read up on it.
This drug I thought worked wonders, and it did, when it worked! Now my body apparently is horribly horribly addicted to it!!! I swear if I ever hear of a lawsuit against them I am jumping on board in a second, this is nuts. I can understand some “discomfort” for a few days when stopping it but this is nuts! If my body is permanently addicted to this drug I am beyond angry (and depressed!)
BTW weening myself off like this I have not had ANY “itching” issues, but honestly my body is still obviously addicted and feeling the lack of the drugs if I am getting those headaches again! But considering last time it was 45-50+ days without the drug and I still had headaches, I can’t just quit cold turkey my life was on hold for 2 weeks being bed ridden the headaches were so bad!

So glad I read this BEFORE trying Zyrtec. My regular presecription antihistamine-Lodrane-has been discontinued so now I am experiencing my old asthma/allergy symptoms in the spring. Will not try this one, though. Thanks everyone for the honest feedback.

I have had similar experiences tring to get off Zyrtec. This page confirms I am not losing my mind. I am done with this drug. Spread the word. It’s pretty sad that not taking the drug is worse than your original problem it was for Make the itching stop!!!

I’ve been taking Zyrtec for almost a year now because of my cat allergies. I grew up with a wide variety of animals and as an adult now work with them. My cat allergy developed as a teenager. My symptoms were a runny nose/marathon sneezing, itchy eyes (only if I rubbed them after petting a cat and a sore throat. I have both psoriasis and eczema so I couldn’t really tell you if I ever develop skin itchiness because I’ve been unceasingly itchy for as long as I can remember.
When I miss a dose of Zyrtec, my symptoms come back tenfold almost to a textbook time lapse. If I take my last dose Monday morning at 8 AM I’ll start sneezing uncontrollably by 8 PM on Tuesday. It’s miserable. The weirdest withdrawal symptom I have is vivid, bad dreams. I was wondering if anyone else has this happen? I can recollect every detail and I’m usually woken up by the nightmare aspects. I’ve tried googling this and it seems these dreams are a common side effect of taking Zyrtec but nothing about experiencing it only as a withdrawal symptom. I only have these dreams as the latter.

The zyrtec withdrawal symptoms listed on this site that some seem to suffer from are really fascinating and possibly alarming. I’ve never been much of a hives sufferer but have had very bad seasonal allergies and I am allergic to dust mites, cats, dogs, and many pollens. Nothing has ever given me as much relief as Zyrtec and its generic equivalent. And I’ve used every antihistamine out there, prescription and non. Tried homeopathic and natural treatments to no avail.
I have happily taken generic zyrtec daily for years and I now live a life where I can forget about my allergies. I no longer sleep upright in a chair with horrible asthma where I fear death by suffocation or close myself in my house during the month of June when the grass pollen is severely high in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I can camp with my family. I can visit a home with cats and not get wheezy. I can pet a dog and not get an itchy throat and congestion.
Every once in awhile I forget to take my pill for a few days or go on vacation without it. So far I have had no noticeable side effects except that I often begin sneezing and have a runny nose after about five days. That usually reminds me to get back on my daily dose. This is not to diminish the impact others have experienced when they curtail their cetirizine dose. I will certainly be more attentive to my own body’s reaction in the future.
Of course I don’t know what’s going on inside, but zyrtec (in the Costco generic version) has been personally revolutionary. For $16.00 a year I have a more active and normal life that doesn’t require me to constantly be conscious of what environment I am in or headed to. The freedom has lifted so much stress that I can now bravely face the dreadfully looming menopause!

I reported my problems with zyrtec to the FDA online and after that they called me a million times, sent me snail mail and email trying to follow up on my complaint. They wanted all of my medical history, permission to see my medical history, and if I remember correctly they even requested permission to speak with my doctor. Although I understand their need to dig into my personal medical records, I was not going to do that so I ignored their attempts to reach me.

I beg you all to please go to FDA.gov – the website for the Food and Drug Administration – and report the problems you have. I’ve done it and it is very easy. Once you get to the home page, go to the search box on the top right and type in MEDWATCH. Click on the first choice that comes up, and go to the left hand column that says REPORT SERIOUS PROBLEMS. When that page comes up, click on SUBMIT YOUR REPORT ON LINE. On that page, in the right column click on BEGIN. Fill out the form and send it online. Very easy. The FDA MUST investigate this drug and the harm it is doing.

Wow! All these comments are really hitting home. I have suffered from these same issues for the past 2 or 3 years. The itching is unbearable. I was wondering if anyone has tried taking a supplemental allergy pill while trying to eliminate the Zyrtec from your system or is it the same for all anti-histamines? Also, does anyone else seems to notice the itching and hives get worse while sweating/working out?

I started taking Zyrtec 10 years ago! I’ve taking 10mg every day since then. I was prescribed it to treat Urticaria, which is chronic hives! This is exactly what it would CAUSE when I tried to go off or forgot a dose. When I’ve run out or tried to go off (to see if I still needed it) my skin would go absolutely insane. The itching and burning and tingling of my skin would sometimes make me cry. I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere or do anything or touch anything without terrible itching.
It always starts in my palms then everywhere else randomly. The itchy palms were my indicator that I had forgotten to take my Zyrtec. Weight gain has also been a part of my life since then, although there are many other aspects to gaining weight (Lifestyle change, stress, other medications). I am now on a journey to go off all meds and Zyrtec is my last one since it caused me the most grief when going off. Birth control was easier to quit (hormones can make a woman crazy!). It was also easier to quit my anti-depressants. For something that is now OTC, this is unacceptable in my book.
Nothing that is so freely available for all ages should cause this much dependency. I am trying cold turkey, but after reading all these (Thank God I found this) I am going to try weening myself off so I don’t kill my poor husband and scrape all my skin off. I am thankful for the relief it brought me so many years ago, however, I am now certain there are better and healthier ways to deal with skin problems. I’m going natural and holistic.

Hi
I am also a sufferer of the same itching syndrome. I have taken the drug for 18 months and tried once to withdraw. The itching commenced 4 days after my last pill. It was bad. But I incremented then the dosage due to a bad allergy and after two days the itching is horrendous. So it seems that breaking the habit is horrible.
I started yesterday my own golgotha of going cold turkey. From successful stories I have read they were able to manage the itching using iboprufen, Vitamin C, Sarna anti Itch Cream, Stinging Nettle extract and doing a detox. I think part of the itching has to do with the liver hormone so I am going to try to include whey protein and see if it works. Wish me luck. So it seems the first 7 days are ugly and though the other 7 days are bad too, people say you can get over it. The body doens’t need it.

After taking the over the counter medication Zyrtec for 3 years, I decided to completely stop taking it 5 days ago. What I have been experiencing since then mad me worried that something was terribly wrong with me. I had no clue it could be from not taking Zyrtec until I looked it up online.
I felt nauseous, and light headed the first couple of days. That subsided for the most part, and then I started itching really bad mostly on my arms, scalp and upper Torso, having sneezing spells, as well as experiencing insomnia. This is miserable! I can’t believe I am having to deal with withdrawals from an over the counter medication!
I have never taken drugs in my life, so having to deal with something like this from taking Zyrtec is absurd! I am going to continue to not take Zyrtec, and I really hope to have this drug out of my system soon! I will never take this medication again!

Hi Ram
You mention in your comments that your ears rang horribly for years while taking Zyrtec. Did your ears ring BEFORE taking Zyrtec or did the Zyrtec cause your ringing to occur? Has the ringing since stopped? If so, how long did it take for the ringing to stop?

Hi! Did you ever find relief? I realize this is an old post. I just came upon this. I have been trying for years to stop my allergy meds that they put me on one year when there were some fires near by. Every time… I turn into a crazy person… itching everywhere. I always thought I had developed some new health problem and went to several doctors. It never dawned on me that the meds that take away the itching could be the cause of the itching. Now I am on day 3 and feel like all I do is scratch all day… until my skin hurts from all the welts. How long did it take for it to go away (please tell me it will go away!)
Thanks so much!
Cathy

Wow. I knew there were side effects from stopping Zyrtec because I tried to stop once a few months ago and was just miserable, so I happened upon all the others feeling the same way. My daughter had to get off of it because she was becoming seriously aggressive, so I wanted to stop it as well since my ears have rung horribly for the years I have been on it.
So I am on day 4 of taking Allegra instead, and I have a headache, light headed, and I was thinking my blood sugar must be off or something (no diabetes diagnosis) because of the trembling inside feeling I have. I’ll stick it out since I am done with my ears ringing horribly, but wow… I feel like total crap. I’m exhausted, light-headed, trembling inside and get hungry as if my blood sugar is really low, shivery cold and then hot… this is just awful for an OTC drug that kids get too and that doesn’t have warnings about it.

Hi DC
I’m just wondering – did your hair ever grow back? I too have been losing hair and assumed it was a thyroid problem but I have had my thyroid checked and re-checked and there is nothing there. But I have lost a lot of hair – and even most of my eyebrows! I’ve been on Zyrtec for at least 6 months (can’t really recall when I started) but just started putting 2 and 2 together. Very curious to see if stopping it will mean my hair grows back. Also hoping the hives (which started the whole zyrtec thing) don’t reappear….

I cannot believe this is so common yet so under reported! I’ve only taken Z for a year because of seasonal allergies after a move to a different climate. When I stopped because of the season, I’ve had EXACTLY the same symptoms. Ive even taken pictures of the welts and now bruises (from where I scratched too hard). I thought I was just nuts and the symptoms were pyschosymatic. I’m only on day 3 (of my 3rd attempt to quit). So I’ll definitely go back on then ween off.
My biggest concern now is that my youngest has been on Z for three years now! I thought it was safer, less intrusive than allergy shots. Now I’m deeply concerned. Time to find an allergist (in our new city).

Thank you so much for this blog.
I have been taking Zyrtec now for a couple of years.
I decided to have allergy testing and the Doctor told me to go off of it 5 days before. No warnings or recommendations.
The night I went off it, I started to have slight hives.
The next day was hideous. They come in waves. It is actually not really like hives, but an internal itch that is in different areas and spreads.
Once that wave is over I have a break, but am physically exhausted.
I started to be unable to sleep, very restless and then wake up with these fits of itching that nothing helps. In addition I began to be very hyper. Also I have been progressively in pain in all my joints.
I have also been unable to lose weight and have been told that I seem to be retaining water, EVERYWHERE. I felt like I was so bloated and achy, but as soon as the itching had started the aches and pains went away almost suddenly.
Also my weight is falling off me as is the swelling in just the 3 days I have been off the Zyrtec. And I am eating the same.
The itching is hideous, it is in the ears, scalp, tingling on the lips almost like the feeling of pre anaphalactic shock and down my throat in addition to all the rest of my body. Mostly the torso and up, but it is happening a lot on my feet also.
That is when I found this blog and was just blown away by it. I went cold turkey and decided I will try to weather this and just leave this hideous medication behind, but I am hyper beyond belief. I have 2 kids on Allegra and I now have to deal with them and trying to get them off!
Thanks for all your postings and wish me luck. I am only in day 3!!!

Dear SZ,
I know exactly what you are talking about! I went through a very similar reasoning process. My dermatologist and allergist told me that my allergies must just be really bad, but I thought that was strange since, as you mentioned, I didn’t have rashes or eczema (it was almost an itching under the skin), or other allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing, or runny nose. Also, the itching didn’t seem to worsen when I was exposed to my allergens.
Similarly, when I found blogs discussing the problem, I felt both glad to have my own understanding confirmed, and also overwhelmed by the possible difficulty of Zyrtec withdrawal and the accompanying itching.
I read about how different people tried alternating Zyrtec and another allergy medicine, but because I didn’t think my itching was really allergy related (and I understand, from one pharmacist, that Zyrtec is a *much* stronger antihistamine than allegra or Benadryl), I decided not to try that route.
In case it helps, here is the weaning schedule I used: I took half a pill every other night for a couple months. I then /tried/ to cut down to a quarter pill every other night, but the itching resumed, so I went back to half a pill every other night. I took half a pill every other night for a while–it could have been as long as a year. (I kind of let myself forget about it, which I think was a good thing). I switched to a quarter pill every other night a few months (but not very long) before I went “cold turkey.”
I had been quite anxious about how my body would react after I stopped taking it altogether. (I wondered, for example, if the itching would be so bad that I needed to schedule some sick days. In the past I had tried going “cold turkey,” being very determined, and got to seven days before my skin actually did start becoming splotchy with hives). I decided to go “cold turkey” in October (2009) when it was just starting to get cold in my city, hoping the cool weather would make any itching more bearable, and I made a kit of lotion and green tea and other things recommended by people on this and other Zyrtec comment boards. THEN I was very pleasantly surprised to find that, because of the weaning process, my body reacted very little when I eliminated Zyrtec completely. I felt a little more “flushed” than normal for a few days, a little bit of tingling/very light itching, but NOTHING like I experienced before. Within a week I knew that my body was no longer chemically dependent on the anti-histamine. I was so glad that, because of the weaning process, there was none of the suffering or discomfort I’d experienced before when trying to go “cold turkey.”
I hope you find a method that works for you. I felt really discouraged when I first started reading about this (in 2007), but I felt really accomplished and happy when, thanks to the posts of other people, I was able to wean my body off of it. Best of luck and health to you!

I’ve been taking the generic versions of zyrtec for a few years now, for indoor and outdoor allergies. Last year after my outdoor allergy season ended I decided to go off zyrtec. By the third day off it I had such unbearable itching all over. Not breaking out in hives or anything like that, just excruciating itching. A couple days later I went back on it and within a few hours the itching completely stopped. So at the time I figured maybe I was still having allergies and still needed it. But I noticed when I went off it I didn’t have any worsening hay fever symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing or postnasal drip. Just the itching.
I was a little confused by this because I figured if I’m having such severe itching from allergies, then my other symptoms should be flaring up as well, which they weren’t. So I googled “zyrtec withdrawal” just for the heck of it to see if anything came up, and to my surprise I got tens of millions of hits, including a few blogs, as well as this site.
On one hand I’m so relieved to know that this is a real syndrome and that this isn’t maybe just all in my head, nor is it a worsening of my allergies. On the other hand, I’m so upset that so many people are going through this, as well as the fact that neither the makers of zyrtec nor the FDA, or any official for that matter, has given any warning whatsoever that withdrawal itching may occur. Either the makers of zyrtec and the FDA have absolutely no clue how to make sure their drugs are safe and/or know what the major side effects are, and are totally ignorant and incompetent, or the zyrtec makers know full well what they’re doing, which is, for all intents and purposes, causing people to become physically dependent on their drug to make sure we keep buying it.
I’ve never imagined that I would ever have to go through drug withdrawal in my life, especially since I’ve never done any illicit or addictive ones, and I’m sure none of you thought so either. I feel your pain.
I’ve been in the process of weaning off it for a couple months now. For one month I took half a pill per day(5 mg), the next month I took a quarter pill per day (2.5 mg), and this month I’ve been trying to take a quarter pill every other day. The first 2 months I had no problem, this month is a different story. So what I’ve decided to do is take a quarter pill of zyrtec every other day, and take a quarter pill of allegra on the off days. After this month I will then step down to just taking a quarter pill of allegra every other day for about 10 days or so. I’m hoping a quarter pill of allegra every other day should be just enough to keep the most severe withdrawal itching at bay, while not being a high enough dose to cause a dependency on that.
Does this sound like a good feasible plan to you guys? Or should I be going cold turkey sooner, or am I rushing the step down process? Is there anything that can be done or anything that you have done that can ease the withdrawal process? I would appreciate any feedback you might have. Thanks.

have been using zyrtec everyday for about 6 years, every time I run out the same thing happens, nausea, upset tummy, light headed, heavy eyes, headache, internal shaking all over, tired, generally feel like crap, have to have time off work, within hour of taking it again I start to feel better, I thought it was sinus/hay fever so starting taking them again, how bad is it to know it is withdrawals, then the doctor has told me it is totally safe to use long term, I think the Australian government needs to look into this.

I have been taking Zyrtec for my allergies since 2000. I take 20 mgs/day, 365 days a year. Any time I ran out of the drug or had to go off for allergy testing, within 24 hours I experienced a stinging burning rash from head to toe. My lips would swell, I had shortness of breath and really unusual for me – insomnia!
On the positive side, I also experienced much more energy, a lift in mood and motivation and focus. Clearly the drug not only sedates me but also causes low grade chronic depression. In 2009, I began experiencing significant unexplained spontaneous bruising that would not heal. When I went to my PCP she ran the labs and showed my kidneys were not functioning properly.
I reduced the dose of Zyrtec and went to see a nephrologist and when he ran the labs, everything was back to normal. Due to severe itching, I returned to the 20/mg dose and about 6 months later had elevated liver enzymes. I was supposed to get retested but never followed up on it.
I have been experiencing marked fatigue, somnolence (literally could not keep my eyes open if I sat down even after a full night’s sleep) and digestive issues and can no longer tolerate vitamins I used to take. In July my PCP showed my liver enzymes were elevated still. I lowered my dose of Zyrtec and the next test was better but still abnormal.
I have to go off Zyrtec as it appears it’s damaging my liver, but the withdrawal is insane! Even at 10 mgs I’m itching like crazy! I am reporting all of this to the FDA and all of us should! This stuff is scary!

I’ve been taking the generic form of cetirizine 2 tsp liquid (children’s formula) for several months now. I ran out two days ago, and had such a severe headache, pain behind my eyes, nausea yesterday. I was dizzy and lightheaded – almost passed out. After a restless night, I still have a severe headache and pressure/pain behind my eyes, lightheaded. I’m not going to continue with this med after reading all these comments! Yes, it could be something unrelated, but it’s too coincidental and these symptoms are uncommon for me.

I have been taking citirizine for four months due to chronic hives, having read these comments I fear the time when I have to ditch these meds. Have since gained weight around the middle and hips, thought it was middle age spread, very unlike me as I have been slim all my life and it only started when I started the meds. Have at least two months to go before seeing allergist, your comments have been very helpful, going to try and wean myself off these meds. ASAP!

MY 15 year old daughter was told by her doctor to go off Zyrtec for 5 days before she see’s her new allergist. On day 4 of no Zyrtec, she is starting to get itchy. My sister had the same thing happen when she went off. She had severe hives, and had to have several steroid shots. She never took it again. I called Zyrtec to inquire about the itching issues, and they said they’ve never heard of that. I told them its all over the internet. They don’t have anything on file about itching after stopping zyrtec.
If you have itching after stopping Zyrtec, please call them, and tell them about your symptoms. They will forward it to their safety department, and maybe something will be done about this!

Two nights ago, I could not fall asleep. It took several hours before I finally dozed off–very unusual for me and very frustrating. Last night I also had a hard time falling asleep, and once I did, I was very restless. A couple hours later (3 a.m.-ish), I started getting very itchy. As the minutes went by, it got worse and worse until I could not go 2 seconds without itching somewhere! I was scratching welts into my skin and I was going nuts! I had no idea what was causing it, but thought to myself that I might have to take a benedryl or something, because I was obviously having some kind of allergy attack.
Then that reminded me–I had stopped taking my once-a-day 10 mg cetirizine pill 3 or 4 days earlier (I had been on it for about 5 or 6 months). It was the ONLY thing that had changed in my life.
At 5:30 a.m. this morning, I came home from my boyfriend’s, found my cetirizine pills and immediately took one. Within 30 minutes the itching had decreased by about 50%. I fell back asleep (exhausted after 2 nights of little sleep) and woke up with very little itching. I had no idea itching would be a withdrawal symptom of an allergy medication!
BTW, I had also felt slightly nauseous and headachy last night. I think it is related.
I want to thank the people who reported that they were able to wean themselves off of cetirizine. I will try the same thing.

I started taking Zyrtec daily in March 2011 for seasonal allergies. Before this season, I was taking Allegra but it got too expensive. Zyrtec really worked well for me and I never noticed any withdrawal symptoms, but I noticed my hair was thinning a few weeks ago. I attributed it to stress or perhaps the fact that I wear my hair back tight in a ponytail almost everyday, but last week I really noticed that I’m several strands of hair away from a bald spot right above my forehead!
I have had thick hair all my life (I’m in my mid-30’s) so this is not normal for me. I’m a nursing student and in my pharmacology class I just came across antihistamines (Zyrtec included) and a possible side effect is alopecia! Has anyone else experienced this? I’ve been taking Zyrtec almost daily for 7 months… and I’m praying that now that I stopped taking it my hair will grow back. I can’t find any other info about this…

I have been using Zyrtec D on and off for years but I had been taking it with more frequency this past year. I stopped taking it cold turkey six days ago and on day two my blood sugar plummeted and I nearly passed out. By day 4 I was bedridden with an extreme headache and nausea. I just visited my Dr today who told me my blood pressure was through the roof and I will have to keep eating small meals throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels in check.
If I’m not better in two weeks I will have to see an endocrinologist. Scary scary drug. But no itching.

I have also found side effects from discontinuing cetirizine 10mg tabs, the itch in my hands and soles of my feet is unbearable when it starts, night time is the worst and scratch like mad. What has been helpful is applying aqueous cream to my skin and also using it as a cleanser when bathing. I have only stopped cetirizine for 5 day and hoping to tough it out until my bodies own histamines balance out. Thanks to all the previous comments as it has been good to know that others have experienced these withdrawal effect.

I have used generic Zyrtec for about four or five months due to allergies. And while still on it, didn’t miss a dose or anything, I started having terrible itching every night. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes, just terrible itch. Then my husband looked up the side effects of taking Zyrtec and there were all these other things that he found like gaining weight around the middle- this has happened to me – I thought I was just getting fat in my “old age” (I’m 40). I bought Claritin yesterday and took my first dose last night. So far, no itching. I hope I can get off the Zyrtec. Now I am going to research Claritin!

I stopped taking zyrtec over a month ago. When I stopped, I started taking another brand as a back up, which I stopped about a week ago. I have not had any major withdrawal symptoms other than sneezing spells and I attribute this to having started chiropractic care 2 months ago. Thankfully, this treatment has had an awesome effect on my health, particularly my allergies.

Update. I could not take the itch with quitting cold turkey. I began to use half a tab at night for a week, half a tab every other night for another week and so on. I still get itchiness here and there but will NEVER take this drug again and will def report this issue. Haven’t been the same since.

My 16 yr old son has been on Zyrtec and Nasonex for the past 5 years. He recently (3months ago) stopped taking the Zyrtec as he felt he no longer needed it. He had switched to the generic form in the past year. Within about a week, he had developed a hive like rash under his arms and in his groin area. Some itching, but not unbearable.
First trip to the dermatologist diagnosed a type of Rosacea and prescribed sunlight and hydrocortisone cream. Rash got worse. Second opinion said it was some type of fungal infection- he is an athlete, in locker rooms etc-and put him on antibiotics, special soap and and antibacterial cream. After almost three months of no relief, third opinion immediately gave him a shot of steroids, put him on prednisone pills and prescribed another cream (can’t recall name and son is out of town with the tube).
He has had some itching, but not totally unbearable. All three Dr.’s are dermatologists. After reading these posts- it really sounds like Zyrtec might be the culprit. He has taken a pill off on and on in the past 3 months for allergies- so how does he clear his system of it totally? Am going to email him and tell him to stop taking any Zyrtec and to just use benadryl as needed. I am thinking also that the generic form is maybe the culprit- that or the withdrawal? He is out of the country for a month- what can I tell him to do?

After months of trying to figure out why I started to itch ( first my hands and feet, then got worse all over, even my scalp) I found this information on the internet. I am grateful, I know why I am itching – yep same thing, after not taking Zyrtec for a day or two, it starts up, however, like everyone else, I am trying to figure out a way to stop the madness. I wonder what else this nasty drug is doing to my body.
So thanks to all who find ways to get off this and for posting your success. I can’t even imagine trying to do this cold turkey.

To anyone suffering from Zyrtec withdrawal symptoms (the incredible itching): I had the exact same reaction and tried for years to get off Zyrtec. (The first time I made it ten days but then broke out in hives and went back to taking it). It was so frustrating that I couldn’t go a single night without taking Zyrtec without experiencing this unbearable itching.
I was lucky enough to come across a few blogs on the topic (for example the blog titled “Quit Zyrtec, Get Itchy!”). A few people on these message boards suggested cutting the tablets in half and weaning yourself off of the pills. I did this and it worked! I probably cut my pills in half for about six months or so. I tried cutting my pills into quarters, but the itching returned.
Then I tried taking half a pill every other night, and had no itching. Then after some time, I went cold turkey. I expected to have the 15-day detoxification period described on some of the blogs, but, to my pleasant surprise, I had only mild itching (and kind of a warmness in my face) for a couple of days, and then I was fine. (That was two years ago). I’m happy to answer questions about how the weaning process worked, or you can check out any of the other websites.

I stopped taking an off brand Zyrtec from Kaiser (Cetirizine Hydrochloride 10mg) after over a year of use. I have extreme allergies and found this medicine the best one but ran out and ended up getting another one that was a bit cheaper.
I began to itchy REALLY bad on hands and feet, then the itching started in random places. I am in the middle of trying to figure out a few other health issues that have me very scared, then this issue started happening. I’ve been online trying to do my own research and I came across a few websites (after 2 days of trying to figure out what’s wrong), I even went to a doctor and have no medical coverage.
Then this happened… and from an over the counter allergy medicine? I could not take the itch and I wanted to know if this was the actual issue, sure enough after a half tab the itch calmed down. As of this morning, hardly any itch. I cannot believe this. Can’t this company be held responsible for this? VERY MAD
….. one other symptom….. hot flashes.

I went off Zyrtec 4 or 5 days ago. I get regular massage & had my massage 2 days ago. Within 24 hours, I developed intense pain in my knees, low back, neck, & elbows, with generalized muscle aches all over. I had severe chills for about an hour, with no fever. A night’s sleep and 18 hours later, I am still very achy and weak with mild nausea, though the joint pain has subsided a bit. I am left to believe that my symptoms are from going off this drug.
During my 1st week of taking it, I also remember feeling joint pain and general malaise.

I’ve been taking Zyrtec for a number of years. I typically stop taking the medicine annually when allergens cease in the winter time. Each time I experience consistent withdrawal symptoms. After 2 days, my skin itches like crazy, mostly on my hands, torso, upper thighs. After 2+ weeks, the itching subsides.
I recently decided to see an immunologist to get a skin test for allergens. They stated prior to the test, I needed to go off any allergy meds for 7 days; day of test I am to refrain from using my inhaler for 6 hours. This is the first time I’ve gone off Zyrtec “during” allergy season & I am so miserable with the itching. The Zyrtec withdrawal causes this problem and I never experienced an itching problem before Zyrtec, only when I stop using it. Meanwhile, I am waiting for an appointment in a few days for an allergy skin test.

I have gotten over the withdrawal symptoms of Zyrtec – it took about 6 weeks for the intense itching to subside. It is almost 12 weeks after I stopped Zyrtec, and now I have the original hive symptoms, which are nowhere as intense as the withdrawal symptoms. I usually ignore them when they appear, and they go after an hour or so. Sometimes when the hives flare up (eg after working in the garden) , I take 2.5mg (quarter of a 10mg tablet) of claratyne (loratadine), and this keeps me itch free for 2-3 days. Meanwhile, I am waiting for an appointment in 6 weeks for an allergy test.

I’ve been taking Zyrtec (usually the Target generic form) for several years and, every time I run out, within about 48 hours, I’m itching like crazy, primarily on my torso. I thought it was just proof that I still need it to keep histamines in check, but now I suspect that I, too, am having withdrawal issues. Lovely.
In desperation, I slathered myself with hydro-cortisone cream and that’s helped a lot, at least temporarily. I have the same questions as JOR- does anyone know if this is side effects/withdrawal that will eventually run their course, or is this a permanent change to body chemistry? Until I found these posts, I was starting to think I was allergic to myself or something, the way the itching always started within just a couple days.
I think tomorrow I’ll pick up some Claritin or another (non-Zyrtec) allergy medicine in hopes that it will help get past the worst. And, probably another bottle of Zyrtec in case I need to maintain sanity until I can talk to my doctor. While I’ve definitely found that Zyrtec does the best job for my allergies, I can’t believe that it’s still on the market with these kinds of effects.

I am new to researching my issues online. I have been to several doctors about my muscle and joint pain. None of them seem to know what is causing this. I was driving alone today and all of a sudden thought it may be Zyrtec or generic causing my pain. The doctor’s say that it’s not but I am doubting that. Remember doctors admit that they too do not know everything! I have been on it for a year now. I am stopping immediately to see if my pain subsides. Thanks for sharing your experience!

I have autoimmune chronic urticaria with other complications. I’ve been on antihistamines on a daily basis for about 15 years. When in a flare I am on numerous different potent meds and many are different histamine blockers. When in “remission” I will still take one non-drowsy antihistamine a day, consistently.
I’ve taken Claritin, Xyzal, and Zyrtec – also sometimes generics of Claritin and Zyrtec over the years. Recently, I decided to try to stop taking Zyrtec (that’s what I’ve been taking for the last year and a half) to see if I really needed it or not – to see if I’m truly in remission. By the end of the first day without Zyrtec I became nauseated. That night I developed red swellings on my hands and fingers that were extremely itchy, hot and burning. The next day the welts were even worse so I took some Zyrtec and by the next morning the welts were gone and the nausea was gone.
I’ve tried to stop taking Zyrtec a few more times and had the same exact results. At first I thought it was my autoimmune disease flaring and I needed the Zyrtec but then I started to think that maybe there are withdrawal effects from getting off Zyrtec. Now I can see that I have had the same side effects as all these other folks on this website. We all have taken Zyrtec for different reasons but all have the same withdrawal side effects!
Another possibility is that these are not “side effects” but maybe the long use of Zyrtec has caused a change in the natural way your body produces certain needed things to function properly. Just a thought – I’m not a doctor but I know that some drugs can alter your normal way of functioning permanently.
Questions:
1) Does anybody know if these are withdrawal side effects or if we have been permanently changed?
2) Has anyone successfully withdrawn from Zyrtec? and if so, how long did it take before these side effects finally stopped?
3) How did you successfully get off Zyrtec? Was there any other drug or herb, etc that helped?

I had a bout of hives around June-July 2010, and my doctor told me to try Zyrtec. I got a generic version of it, and it stopped the hives right away. After taking 10mg tablets every day for a month, I thought that the hives might have gone away by now, and stopped the drug. Roughly 48 hours later, I broke out in terrible itchy rashes, and my face swelled up horribly. I took a Zyrtec and the itching stopped, and the swelling went down as well.
It was quite frightening and I booked an appointment with my doctor as I was going overseas in a couple of days – he advised me to take sufficient supplies of Zyrtec. I found out that a 10mg tablet would last for about 48 hours, so I cut down the Zyrtec and took it only when the itchy spots started, which is roughly 48 hours after the last dose.
On my return from overseas, I continued taking Zyrtec every 48 hours. The I noticed my feet were swollen, and I seemed to be losing hair as well. A quick google showed these as “rare” side effects on some websites. I decided to stop Zyrtec again, but after 48 hours, the intense itching started, and I had to take Zyrtec again. It seemed like my body was dependent on the drug, and I went on the internet and found these sites describing the withdrawal symptoms.
Determined to get off the drug, I cut down the dose to 5mg by cutting the tablet in half. I did this just once, and stopped taking it after that. The horrible itching and rashes reappeared, and it was hell for 2 days. I persevered, and it is more bearable now and although it is now 12 days after my last 5mg of zyrtec, I still have the rashes and itches, though not as severe. My feet are still swollen. I get the worst rashes in the morning and evening, and swollen and tingling lips around midday. I read somewhere that it takes 14-28 days to get the drug out of the system. I am halfway there – I will report again after 2 weeks.

I have severe allergies. I was tested for allergies and was allergic to about everything on the test. I have rhinitis. I’ve been on several antihistamines for the last 3 years. I’ve taken zyrtec for about 3 months. I realized it wasn’t helping me that much and decided to just quit it cold turkey. I’ve now been off the zyrtec for a little over three weeks.
I’ve been having terrible withdrawal reactions. I get itching on top of my feet and in between my toes. I have been having a lot of pain in my legs and have been coughing severely. I don’t know how long these withdrawal symptoms will last, but I have no intentions of going back on zyrtec or any other antihistamine. Seems like things have got worse for me with my allergies since I was put on antihistamines.
I wish I had never started any antihistamine and would advise others not to go on them. Good luck to others who are going through these withdrawal symptoms.

I went off Zyrtec for severe sinusitis and within 24hours I, too had unbearable itching on my hands and feet and other unmentionable places as well! I had never had hives before and had used other antihistamines on and off over the years with only the hayfever symptoms returning. I can’t believe so many people have the same reaction to withdrawal from this drug. My allergist said it must be my allergy response to something in the environment. Don’t think so. That itch made me into a crazy person-if only I’d known…Zyrtec gets the flick from me.

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