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Itching from Cetirizine Withdrawal

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Q. I have had terrible trouble trying to stop taking Zyrtec (the generic is cetirizine). After using this antihistamine for about three years while having allergy shots, I first attempted to stop taking it in preparation for allergy testing. Within three days, my entire body itched. It was so horrible that I was crying and preparing to go to the hospital for relief.

Confused by the relentless itching, I forgot and took a Zyrtec by accident. Lo and behold, before I could get dressed and get in the car, my symptoms were GONE. Now, seven years later, I have tried unsuccessfully at least 10 times to quit this drug, and the reaction is more severe each time.

Today while I was researching this problem online, I found a community of thousands of people who have had the same problems I have. There should be better warnings about this withdrawal problem.

A. Cetirizine is often used to treat itching due to allergies, but the withdrawal phenomenon you and other patients have experienced is not included in the medical literature.

Please discuss this problem with a dermatologist. She might have a solution to weaning off this antihistamine, perhaps with a short course of corticosteroids.

People have tried a number of ways to overcome the chronic and nearly intolerable itching that may begin shortly after discontinuing cetirizine. Some people report that a gradual reduction in dose helps a bit and that after about two weeks, the itching slowly recedes and eventually disappears.


Since this Q&A was first published, we have come back to the topic of cetirizine withdrawal several times. You may want to review this Q&A and this one. The official prescribing information still contains no indication of a problem occurring with sudden withdrawal of the drug.

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There's really no need to continue on the rollercoaster of these drugs with their inherent side effects. There are plenty of natural antihistamines / decongestants -- like oolong tea, stinging nettles (in tea or capsules) and quercetin-bromelain (which you could also make yourself from apples / onions / pineapple). Or just make sure your diet is high in foods like that. Oil of oregano is also a terrific supplement for these conditions -- Solaray makes a softgel that also includes olive oil so digestive upsets are minimized.

And you could also try bee pollen, which works for some. In that case it helps if the bees are from your general area to take care of the allergies from those plants. I'm not saying you should never take OTC drugs, but just be aware that they tend to suppress symptoms and often have avoidable side effects. Limit your consumption of cow's milk and grains (especially wheat) and this will also help any sinus condition. And finally, try one of those neti pots (with a little salt water) but just don't use it too often or it may be counter-productive.

Could someone please tell me if the itching was accompanied by hives? Thanks.

The first time I dropped a drug and went into itching withdrawal, I saw a dermatologist who gave me a steroid cream. It took a while, but it worked. Next time, after a course of antibiotics, I tried lidocaine 5% ointment, it worked too, with none of the consequences of a steroid. Remember tho the steroid is topical, it does get absorbed, in part, thru the skin. They have their place, like on my knee, but not all over my body, and not internally, for an itch. After the itch is gone, I would suggest a good body cream to prevent return, by preventing dry skin.

I do believe in the use of steroids for acute cases or chronic conditions that are also acute. Not because the steroid is healthy in itself, but because it is the only thing that does help.

And there are a lot of natural fixes for sinus and allergy problems, though this is the first time I have heard you can overuse a neti pot.

I too have had a miserable three weeks of uncontrollable after stopping Zyrtec. I took it only for a few weeks to help with a tree pollen allergy. I had taken Claritin in past years and had no such withdrawal issues.

My physician was unaware of the withdrawal symptoms.

I noticed in the blog that someone asked about hives. I have had them regularly since I stopped taking the drug. They are random and accompany the itching.

Also, I have some symptoms of BPH and the withdrawal from the drug has aggravated that problem also.

I will not touch Zyrtec again and I think that these issues need to be related to the makers of Zyrtec, as it should be included with the drug.

I have been on cetirizine for approximately 7 years if not more. I saw my GP last week to change as the cetirizine was no longer working on my allergies. Since then I have slept only for about 12 hours (in six days), a nauseous feeling in my stomach with dizziness, stomach cramps, a permanent knot in my stomach, shivers, tremors and sweats, I am worried about itching starting now.

The good news is that I am less fuzzy in my head even though I am tired, my bladder control is back and I seem to be losing some of the 3/4 stones I have gained since taking the drug. Today I took half a tablet just to function. Having read that one reader has tried to get off it for 7 years I feel like slitting my throat as I am 60 years old already and probably don't have 7 years to waste!

This was very helpful. I had to go off of Zyrtec for 7 days to have some allergy testing. I have been itching all over my body. I have also had sweats and an upset stomach. I am 50 years old and first thought it was related to menopause. I hope that after the testing they can find something other than Zyrtec to help my allergy symptoms.

I stopped taking cetrazine about 3 days ago after using it daily for nearly 10 years. Unexplained itching mostly in my upper body including my scalp and eyes started. I stopped because I think my immune system got used to it and didn't seem to help anymore.

Nothing changed environmentally for me to explain it. The only difference was coming off of cetrizine. So I "Googled" "withdrawal symptoms of cetrazine".

Thanks a bunch. Now I know I'm not alone.

I'm a 67 year old male in good health. Today is day four and the itching is subsiding.

Useful? I give it 5

I have been taking cetirizine for hayfever for years, loratidine didn't seem to work for my symptoms. I had excellent relief from my symptoms but had immense drowsiness. Now I am trying to wean myself off cetirizine by taking half the dose on alternate days but like others am having intense itch.

Really wish I had never started this drug in the first place. Should have on the label to avoid long term use.

Zyrtec is the bane of my existence. I started taking it due to some food sensitivities and it kept me coming back for more for 3 years as I kept blaming it on food. It was very hard to quit.

I recently took it again in very small doses for a 2 week period and bam, 3 days off it I itch just as bad as I remember.

This time I'm off it for good.

Does anyone know if the active ingredient for Zyrtec is used in food at all?


Sites like these are helpful to me so I will add my story. My four year old daughter was put on Zyrtec three years ago for her allergies and eczema. She took it sporadically for the first two years. I now believe that some of her worst flare ups over this these first two years were zyrtec withdrawal.

For the past year she has taken it every day until three weeks ago. I began researching Zyrtec withdrawal symptoms a couple of months ago and then finally got the courage to get her off the medicine. I reduced her dose for two weeks. She has been off it cold turkey for the last 5 days. She has had some of the same kinds of little bumps I saw at other times but they have been manageable. I am so relieved to have her off the drug. Her nasal symptoms are actually better and I hope the little bumps will soon be gone for good.

I believe her allergies are in part due to to her liver not being able to function properly. Zyrtec is processed by the liver. I am not a doctor but it seems to me that Taking this drug would overwork the liver even more. I am excited to see how her allergies/eczema play out in the Zyrtec free days ahead.

Update that I have been free off cetirizine for just over 3 weeks, still getting occasional but manageable itches. I will never take a cetirizne again. Good luck to you all.

I'd been using the dirt-cheap generic Zyrtec for about two years. When I ran out a week ago I only worried the worst that could happen was getting my stuffy nose back. So when I broke out into an itchy rash on my arms and chest a day or two later, I thought it was some bizarre new food allergy. What else could it be! On day 3 I was up at 4am in the morning with itchy skin and could not get back to sleep.

It was only on day 4 without Zyrtec, when my hands… even my palms, were maddeningly itchy, did I wonder if I was experiencing a withdrawal from Zyrtec. Maybe there is a histamine rebound.

So I looked up Zyrtec withdrawal. I did not expect to find so many others having the same experiences. I always thought Zyrtec was harmless… a better alternative to Claritin which at the recommended dosage is barely better than a placebo.

Now that I know I'm not alone it's a rather scandalous indictment of the FDA's methods of approving drugs. Does the FDA ever require new drugs be tested for more than a few months to study the long term effects… or of sudden withdrawal? Why aren't there warnings on this drug? There are warnings should one get an allergic skin reaction while ON the drug… not if one's body has essentially become addicted to it, and there are skin rashes from it withdrawal.

This is now day 6 or 7 and I'm still itchy as hell. Part of me is tempted to get some more cetirizine and do a tapered withdrawal, but I'll be damned if I risk going back on this medication.

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel so much better just knowing I'm not nuts! I've been taking Zyrtec for allergies daily for about two years. I ran out of it last Thursday and haven't had time to get more. The itching, nausea, insomnia and anxiety I've been experiencing scared the heck out of me. Now that I know there's an end in sight, I'll tough it out and never take the stuff again. I never thought twice about it because it's over the counter -- I wish I had known what it was doing to my body.

Yes, hives are involved. That's my biggest symptom. I'm on day 12 and I hear that day 15 is the magic day when it gets better.

I had been taking Zyrtec for over ten years and decided it was no longer effective. when I stopped cold turkey, the itching all over my body was unbearable. So I "googled" and found several people experiencing the same problem. I decided on a step down process over the course of three months. It is now day 12 since last zyrtec dosage of any kind and the itching is much less. Itching was at its peak on days 5 and 6. Hopefully the end of the itching is near and I will NEVER take another zyrtec!! Good Luck to all.

Zyrtec isn't the only one. I've was on Allegra for 12 years and did what everyone else did, discontinued temporarily for an allergy screening. Within 24 hours my head started itching, then my eyes, followed by my face, neck, ears and by the end of the third day, my whole body was so miserable I couldn't sleep without sleeping medication and the days were so awful I was almost near tears and extremely irritable. After the screening I discovered I didn't have any allergies, wondered why I was still on the Allegra and asked if I could just quit taking it.

The Doc said sure, nothing would happen, he didn't know why I was so itchy. Five days into the itching I went over any and all changes in in the last five days and the only thing that had changed was the discontinuation of the Allegra. So I took one. All symptoms were gone within two hours! It has taken me two years to slowly dial down my intake to no Allegra but I cannot get off another low dose pill I take for the withdrawal symptoms of itching. I take these every two or three days.

Hi I've been taking zyrtec for 2 years for my asthma. Itake it about twice a week, it does help my pollen issues etc. and does give me a calming feeling, however, in so happy to find this info as at 45 I have been having itchy skin too and a hot feeling. I thought it was the menopause but the itching only seems to happen when I go 5 days or more without the drug. I do think that this is the reason for my itchiness, I am going to come off this drug slowly. I will take half, then a quarter and so on. I can't believe this as I've had this problem for 8 months, I hope its not additable;

This site is very helpful, do you put any over counter cream to manage the itch?

I tried several OTC creams for itching with no relief at all.

Thank goodness for this site... I am a healthy 38 yr old. I had been taking Benadryl, only at night, for 6 years. Sure enough, when I weaned myself off if, the torturous itching started. Scalp, legs, arms, back, stomach, feet... the whole body!

I would even scream, it's so bad. Even when I would put on clothes or shoes, those areas would begin to itch. And of course, I had given in and taken more benadryl to relieve the itching. Yes, red bumps and lines would form where I would scratch. Went to the allergist and even brought up the possibility of benadryl withdrawal, he said no and said it was dermagraphism, due to stress!!

He put me on Zyrtec and told me to take it for 2 months then wean off... now I am worse off, I take it every other day and like clockwork, 48 hours later, the itching starts. Like needles...So I'm trying to wean off with taking half a tablet, every other day now of Allegra and going back to see him to explain my findings online and see what I can take to wean and I will never take another antihistamine again!! Pure hell

This is so helpful, I stopped Zyrtec about 5 days ago now, and started itching all over after day 3. I wish I'd known about the withdrawals when I'd started taking it 4 years ago!! Can anyone tell me, how long does the itching last?



Wow, I am on day 10 trying to get off of using generic zyrtec after at least a decade of use and I have been itching like crazy! I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why I'm so itchy and was about to schedule a drs apt tomorrow.... decided to go on line this evening (also can't sleep well) thanks for the info! I'll try to stick it out and see if it goes away soon.

like many people here I arrived through Google after several attempts to stop taking zyrtec.... now I know I have to stick it out... and I WILL get off it!
Itchy red chest, neck, scalp, hands... insomnia, irritability, dizziness... it's all here!
I thought it was allergy symptoms coming back or psychosomatic... thank you so much.

Hey guys I have been on OTC antihistamines taking them every other day for almost 10 years in order to combat an extreme itching that occurs all over the body, I have tried the Drs. dermatologist and they say that some people just have them and they have to settle for taking antihistamines forever. I have tried a naturopathic approach with quercetin and it was ineffective but due to the info I see here it sounds like the itching is due to the withdrawal symptoms of the antihistamine.

I will attempt to try this weaning method as some of you have but I was curious at to whether any of you have completely stopped taking antihistamines to this day since you stopped? Has it worked so to speak? thanx

I also have experienced the horrible withdrawal symptom of uncontrollable itching. My hands, my face, my head, my arms... all seemed to be upper body issues. The itching commenced on or about the 3rd day after I stopped taking the generic form of Zyrtec, known as Cetirizine. I simply cannot believe that this was no noted on any study that was completed.

Lo and behold, I took the pill last evening (I always took my pill at bedtime) and when I woke up... no itching anywhere. How can I "safely" stop taking a pill when the withdrawal is horrendous and doesn't seem to stop.

The longest I have tried to stay off the pill was 8 days and believe me when I say those 8 days were extremely difficult to say the least. I am sitting at my desk at work and I cannot stop the constant scratching... people at work must think I have some sort of skin lice. Does anyone have a solution that does not include seeing another doctor or taking yet another pill???

What a mess this has been! I am so thankful for this information! Like many of you, I have taken zyrtec for 10 plus years and decided to stop. I have never experienced extreme itching over my entire body except for when I had chicken pox as a child. I am trying the step down approach by halving and now quartering the pill for 3 weeks. I am praying that this method will rid me of this drug for good.

I am on day 9 off of zyrtec after the step down approach. I have found that Eucerin and Aveeno creames for eczema to take away the immediate "pins and needles" feeling that I get with itching has helped. My overall itching is better, but not gone. Can't wait to this to be over for good.

update: could not go "cold turkey" but I have now been taking half a zirtec for 10 days and there are no adverse effects, apart from a bit of insomnia... hopefully by scaling down I can avoid the dreaded itch!

I am doing the step down method , I took a half a tablet (5mg) for a week and now I am on a quarter tablet and have been doing that for about 2 weeks, right now I am itching but I have like a rash on different areas of my body, kind of like a welt of some sort. I wish I knew for sure this is a withdrawal symptom because mine almost looks like mosquito bites. I decided to go off of it trying to rid myself of as many meds as I can and do natural remedies. Oh yes, feels like tiny prickly needles are going on with my legs and arms sometimes worse than others. anyone else ?

I had to stop taking cetrizine hydrochloride (generic Zirtec) when I was pregnant last year. From what I remember I stopped itching after 2-3 weeks. I have had to stop taking it again a couple of days ago so thought I would Google antihistamine withdrawal and am so glad this itching I am experiencing is normal when you stop taking the tablets. This is something doctors should be become aware of so they can advise their patients properly.

If anyone is interested, my allergies are so bad that I went back on ceterizine... the next day my itching almost completely disappeared. I agree that this is a side effect that needs to be brought in the open... thanks to those who have suggested and tried the taper method of getting off the pill... when my time comes this is what I would try and now recommend... Good luck everyone.

OMG! I am so glad I found this! I have been taking Zyrtec at night for 4 years. I just recently ran out and I am itching like crazy! I automatically assumed that it was my allergies flaring back up, but now that I see these posts I realize I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I REALLY hope that the 15 day rule is true! I am getting married in 3 weeks and I don't want to spend my honeymoon scratching away! Has anyone found any creams or natural remedies that help with the itching?!

I am so glad to have found this site. I was taking benadryl ( diphenhydramine) so I could sleep. I hadn't taken it long before I decided to stop taking it. I am not sure how long it was before I began breaking out in hives/rash from chest to legs. The itching was so intense. The only thing that would relieve my itch was to take really hot showers. I'd actually burn myself to get relief. I would be itch free for a few hours, then it would return.

I thought that it was a food allergy. I started taking benadryl again, and got better. I would have to take 2 tabs every 4 hours. Once I started to improve, I took only one at night. Not long after reducing the dosage, I'd break out in hives/rash again. I had been racking my brain to why this was happening. I'd start taking more and improve. When I finished the bottle and my rash was gone I decided I didn't need to take it anymore. About 3 days later... boom another rash. I have also experienced insomnia through this whole ordeal. My skin also feels like it's being stuck with needles. I also get chills even when it's not cold.

One more thing, I didn't realize that Advil PM and other sleep aids contain diphenhydramine. This makes it hard to get away from the antihistamines. grrr.. I wonder if the drug companies know that these withdrawal symptoms will happen; good way to keep us buying their products.

Have any of you that have posted recovered from this? I am going through it now and wonder if you've gotten better. If so, how long did it take from the time you stopped the pill to complete itch/rash free?

I've just come off cetirizine after 3 years. Ive not had itching yet but this is only my 2nd day, however I'm experiencing headaches and am having bad sweats and dizziness, anybody with the same?

Hi KLM, I read your comment regarding Zyrtec withdrawal and the second half of your message sound like what I'm going through now.

3 months ago I had a hive like rash, my doc said take it for a few months and slowly take less as you need it.... !! did taking 1/2 tablet work have you been able to withdraw from it?


Any of you folks who tried it early this year, did it work? I would really like to hear your feedback as it would help thousands including myself.

Shame on those companies who will do anything to make us keep buying their products.

I have taken Zyrtec for over a decade, mostly to control eczema itching. Found a cure to my eczema, went off Zyrtec 2 days ago and I am itching all over (no eczema) and have insomnia.

I am going to try the cold turkey method of quitting first, but I am asking.....

If I tried BENEDRYL, a different type of antihistamine, for the Zyrtec itch would this delayed with withdrawal process since I am replacing one antihistamine with another?

Did anyone try BENEDRYL?

I always had bad allergies and sinus infections. I've taken allegra-d and zyrtec-d but never long term til this past year. I thought I was going crazy trying to figure out what the hell is causing all this itching, anxiety, heart palpitations, insomnia, agitation, depression, headaches, nightmares, vivid dreams. All this out if no where. I had about 6 sinus infections since Dec. 2010. Just had a cat-scan yesterday and still have infection in my sinuses.

Almost went out to buy mire generic Zyrtec -D. Thank god I didn't. I was fed up so I researched and can't believe all this I'm reading about Zyrtec Withdrawal! I was taking Zyrtec -D 2x a day for my sinus infections/allergies more on than off for over a year. I hadn't taking the Zyrtec for a week or 2 but did take a few Allegra D this week and benadryl.

The itching isn't as bad now but the anxiety is torture along with the insomnia, bad dreams, etc. I have enough stress right now and need to take a decongestant for my chronic sinus infections. My ENT is going to be letting me know if I need sinus surgery tomm. when he gets my cat-scan films.

When I itched it was crazy unbearable, painful. Mostly my feet and hands. The itching was very internal too. I have scabs from itching so much! We need to get this info out to the mass public/local media ASAP! I've read that many people have reported Zyrtec and it's w/ds to the FDA and the pharmaceutical company and they gave done anything about it and its been years!!! I'm Soo frustrated! It's 230am and I'm itchy, awake and anxiety. Help! Does anyone know anything new? Or have my symptoms???? Desperate!:(

RRRRRrrrr I'm day 3 off Cetirizine and my body all of it is itching like crazy I also have hives and welts which are really sore and also swelling of feet and hands which comes and goes. I have been on this drug for about 2 years and only took 1 10mg tablet each night to control various allergies, I wish I had known about the withdraw symptoms I may have thought twice about taking it.

Well I'm glad the reaction I'm having seems very normal (which is scary) and by the sounds of things I just have twelve more day's to go here's counting!...
I'm clucking for Cetirizine can you believe it the temptation to take it to stop the itching is so strong but at some point I have to give this stuff up.
Do I have the will power?.....
BR Jane

I took 5 mg. (half a tablet) of Zyrtec every day for about three years. I used it to combat the itchiness that accompanied an immune system issue I have. I started to feel that it may have been causing sinus problems, so I stopped about a week ago. At the moment, my hands and feet itch terribly. It is mild during the day, but in the later afternoon it heats up.

I also have had a few hives pop up here and there. I will stay off the medication and wait it out. I am concerned that the itchiness on the hands and feet are neuro related rather than skin related. If I had known about this issue, I never would have used Zyrtec.

I took 10 mg of Zytec everyday for the last 15 years. Quit cold turkey about 12 days ago. Itching was bad for the first week of so and has almost completely subsided. As Zyrtec is a big histamine suppressor, I think that is where the itch comes from--not nuero. Many people have had the itch go away completely after about 3 weeks, so if it was nuero, that wouldn't happen, so don't worry.

After taking Zyrtec in the generic form for 3+ yrs, took my last one last Wednesday due to allergy testing. By Saturday, I had intense itching on mostly the palms of my hands and my scalp. Occasionally elsewhere. I've been going nuts wondering why until I found this site. I will never take this again and hope this subsides soon. Seeing an allergy Doc today and wondering what he'll say about this.

I am sure he/she will give you some other form of allergy med... I too had the issues with my hands, scalp and face... the itching felt like something crawling on me... I am still on the generic as nothing works on my allergies as well as ceterizine... will stop someday... but not without something to take care of the withdrawal symptoms... good luck.

I have to take Cetirizin for about 8 month (extreme pollinosis) yearly since 2003 and noticed itching, when I stopped it for first autumn. Since then, same procedure every year! Itching like crazy, hands, feet, head, being excited, stressed, sleepless. It always starts about 48-72 hours after and lasts up to 21 days. But then torture really stops regularly. Its very hard to endure, thats the problem. No Doc did believe it - cause they don't find those stuff in literature. And me, I won't ever believe, how people tend to "forget" to notice all of that in their medication-descriptions...

I tried once to get off Allegra and the itching started. I ran out of it a few days ago and started itching again. As soon as I started taking it the itching got better but hasn't completely disappeared after 36 hours. I thought about weaning myself off but it sounds like a long process.I think I'll check with the dermatologist first.

How did it go? Are you off of cetrizine? I am planning on stopping. Been taking it for 9 months and am ready to come off.

Ive been off of zyrtec for a little over a month and I've been fine for about 2 weeks. Thank God b/c that was Hell!

I am so thankful for finally looking up this information. I have suspected for awhile that my itchiness was related to not taking my Zyrtec and now I know. I am going to try to do a step down and get off it. It helps to know that I am not going nuts. I have went through extensive testing to try to find out what is causing the unusual aches and sleeplessness I am experiencing, I am now wondering if it isn't related to the medication as well. I miss a day and start itch intensely and feel really anxious. Since I have a very calm personality this was very alarming. I now have a goal of getting off the zyrtec, I will find some alternative for the allergy season. I have been taking it for about 10 years.

It's been 3 weeks today since I had my last dose of citrazine. Itching hasn't gone away but I'm hoping it will in the next few days, maybe another week. Will keep you guys updated.. scratch scratch :(

I have been Zyrtec free for 1 week now. The itching comes and goes. It is pretty unbearable when I do itch. I will keep you updated. I pray this ends soon.

I've been going through the same thing. The itching has been so bad that I asked a friend of mine who is a ER doctor if there was anything that could help w/ the itching besides Benadryl which has been making me sleepy or actually getting a prescription for steroids. He suggest I take Zantac which seemed odd to me since it's for acid reflux, but see the info I found below. And it does seem to be taking the edge off for me. Hope this helps someone.

Oh and BTW, I had the same withdrawal going off of Claritin as well. My friend said that it's because the antihistamine has been blocking my receptors for so long and now they're wide open and overly sensitive so it will take a while for my body to adjust. So it is very likely that if you have this reaction from Zyrtec that you will also have the same reaction after long term use of any other antihistamine.

Ranitidine, the generic name for Zantac, is a H2 histamine blocker used for the prevention and treatment of GastroEsophageal Reflux disease (GERD) or Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD). It is commonly used as first line treatment for this complaint and may be used with other anti-GERD medications, including proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole, and rabeprazole.

H2 blockers are sometimes also used in the adjuvant treatment of severe allergic reactions, in addition to diphenhydramine, epinephrine, and corticosteroids.

Ranitidine belongs to a class of medications, the H2 blockers. Other medications in this class include famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), and cimetidine (Tagamet).

I think I did something stupid. Well I've been off zyrtec d for over a month. I have always had severe allergy and sinus problems. Just got off 3 weeks of antibiotics for chronic sinus infection. I have been have Severe Nasal/ sinus allergies -
and had to get something to take the day before thanksgiving. So I've been taking zyrtec d since. Took last one last night. And now, tonight I'm have some mild itching all over. Hope u didn't start this all over again! Has anyone done this? This sucks!:(

Where possible, use ice packs on the areas with the intense itching. My worst itching is on my feet and this is really helping me this time. Previously I have actually drawn blood scratching at the intense itch.

I've taken Zyrtec for more than 20 years due to severe allergies. Each time I've had a sinus infection, my doctor has said "stop the antihistamine or the infection will not clear." My response was "I can't tolerate the itching."

When a sinus infection in September, that did not clear but subsided enough that I thought it was gone, resulted in severe bronchitis and asthma in late November, I realized I HAD to get off the antihistamine.

I'm on a second round of antibiotics. I stopped the Zyrtec on Dec. 1st and took 25mg of Benadryl about every 12 hours until the afternoon of Dec. 3rd. I haven't had any antihistamine since then and the itching is close to unbearable. I read on another site that Vitamin C would help the itching. I'm determined to stay off the antihistamine because the sinus infection will not clear as long as I'm continuing to take it. I don't understand why the makers of Zyrtec don't have anything about this itching in their literature.

To Trish R.
I am curious to know about why the antihistamine is causing the sinus infection not go away. I am on my 3 round of antibiotics since Sept. For the same sinus infection. Ive been having chronic ones since last December. Been seeing an ENT since Sept. Was just on Ceftin for 3 weeks and allergies and sinus infection came back bad 2 weeks later. Now I'm on levaquin for 2 weeks. I guess I shouldn't take zyrtec or any antihistamine since you doc said it won't make it go away. Id like to know why. I also just found out I gave a deviated septum and messed up turbinates. Thanks!

To Michelle Z.
My doctor, who is a Board certified allergist and internal medicine doctor, explained it like this: when I have an infection in my sinuses, the mucous is thick and colored (usually yellow). The antihistamine, a mucous DRYING medicine, causes the mucous to dry. In order to clear out the infection in the sinuses, the mucous must be thinned (by something like Mucinex) and lots of water. Then, the antibiotic can work on clearing out the infection.

Before I found my current allergist, I went to several different ENT doctors. None of them told me to stop the antihistamine while on antibiotics. Hence, I had chronic sinus infections for years. As I stated in my previous posting, I suffered intense itching every time I went more than 48 hours without antihistamine. I didn't know (until I found this website) that withdrawal from Zyrtec causes intense itching.

I discussed the itching with my allergist on Monday and, like most doctors when talking about specific medicines, he would not directly say anything negative about Zyrtec. However, he recommended I come in for a shot of Kenalog to help decrease the stuffiness in my sinuses.

As for the ENT doctor saying you have a deviated septum, etc., I recommend you get another opinion. My experience has been that ENT doctors sometimes do unnecessary sinus surgery.

Didn't realize they wew side effects until I went off it for allergy testing. Lethargy, weight gain, bloating, aches all over, reduced libido. I am in day 4 of withdrawal and it is so severe I cannot even begin to express. As someone with lifetime itching...hives..eczema I have never had anything like this. Everywhere... not hives or eczema but this horrible internal itch. Scalp, face, lips, down throat, ears, down yonder, hands and feet terribly and then spreading everywhere else.

When I finally went online there are thousands and thousands of blogs by people saying the same thing. They say they can't get off it and many resume due to the extreme discomfort. Some say it takes weeks or months to withdraw. But only 4 days in and going absolutely nuts I can say that the bloating has stopped.. the aches are gone!!! I have been like a 90 year old progressively over the last 2 years and the weight is dropping off although my diet is the same. The itching though is so severe and lack of sleep am hoping I can make it through withdrawal but I have to!!!!

I took Zyrtec for 4 months this summer. In September I stopped taking it and experienced severe itching for about 4-5 weeks. Went to the allegist but he didn't think Zyrtec was the cause of itching. Now I get rashes/hives when I exercise or feel cold. Have an appointment with the DR. tomorrow but don't expect any help. Has anyone else experience hives/rashes??

I was taking generic version of Zyrtec for 10 years. I'm on day 4 of being off of antihistamine. Yesterday I thought I was going to scratch the skin off off my feet and hands, today it is my scalp and midriff. I took some ibuprofen last night and it did help me sleep. I have also had some mild nausea. I'm not sure I can stand waiting three weeks for these symptoms to stop. I don't think I can do the step down method. I'd rather get it over with.

Have been taking zyrtec ever since seldane was taken off the market for severe body itch. I had the itch FIRST! was given seldane (worked but stomuch issues although not to severe) then zyrtec-and then switched to generic citirizine. I feel comfortable with taking citirizine as I remember how bad it was before I started taking the antihistamines.

I am coming up on 60 years old and am noticing that the "itch" is starting to come back AFTER being put on minocycline for Rosacea on forehead and under my right eye. I have no idea as to whether or not the minocycline caused a interaction with the citerizine and I stopped the minocycline but the itching is still with me and I still take the citirizine!! I wish I had never taken the minocycline. Hoping soon the mino clears out so the citirizine can be effective (about 95% effective against body itch before I took the mino). ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE WHO HAS TAKEN THIS COMBO AND HAD SIMILAR PROBLEM? IF SO HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT BEFORE I GET BACK TO 95% EFFECTIVENESS FROM CITIRIZINE.

Thanks every one for these helpful comments .

I have been taking cetrazine for 6 months now. 3 weeks ago I was taking 10 mg daily and I stopped it for 4 days for the allergy skin test, and the test revealed that I am allergic to dust mites (common in feather pillows which I was using at the time). I was itching like crazy....

Since then I'm taking 5 mg and I changed all the bellow and bed covers ... now I'm 48 hours off Cetirizine and guess what? The itching is much much better....

The issues that it its not clear wither the itching is related to the Cetirizine withdrawal or to the primary diagnosis (Eczema or chronic urticaria ...ETC) ...

What I suggest to you guys to change bed cover, avoid the environmental allergens if known.. change the detergent the you use for clothes washing... try to change what ever touch your body on daily bases....

When weaning gradually wean by 5 mg every week till reach 2.5 mg daily then make it 2.5 mg every other day then quit and make like PRN like twice a week for a month then stop it completely ...(this is similar to the weaning plan of steroid)

I will keep you updated about my symptoms to tell you if this strategy will be helpful or not ..


I am experiencing itching due to getting off Benadryl. I am on day 6 and it seems to be getting better but, still itching all over.

Like many of you I started taking Zyrtec two years ago for itching. I was taking 10 mg everyday. In the last year I have been down to 10 mg every other day. I am now weaning myself off of it. Per my doctor's advice, I am now taking 5 mg of Claritin every other day for the next two weeks. After that I will prolong the amount of days in between and switch to 2.5 mg for another two weeks until I go off of it. I tried to go cold turkey, but by day 4 the itching was unbearable. I know I will itch even with this step down method, but hopefully it will not be as bad. Has anyone been successful getting off Zytrec by switching to Claritin and then stepping down? Was the itching less severe?

I've been taking cetirizine for 6 years and Ive had to stop taking it for an allergy test. I'm at day 3 of no use, and today my entire body is itchy and hot. Last night I woke up drenched in sweat. This site has helped me regain a little of my sanity, thanks!

I can relate to so many stories on this site. I have tried to quit Zyrtec several times and I experience intense itchiness unlike anything I've ever felt before. I can feel the histamine just going bonkers underneath my skin, and of course the scratching brings it all to the surface and I experience uncomfortable welts. I would love to go without this drug for a few days in order to have allergy testing done, but I honestly don't know if I can do it. I wonder if taking Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, or some other drug for awhile would help in the meantime.

I created a group on Facebook entitled "Kicking the Big Z" for anyone who would like to talk about a plan for getting off of this drug. I would love to talk to other people who are going through the same thing and come up with an action plan for living life without dependency.

I too have been suffering the effect of going off zyrtec and benadryl. The most awful itching one can imagine. I have been living in a fog from these 2 meds for 7 years. I am addicted due to the withdrawal affects. Itching out of control. I see on here everybody complaining about this but no one is responding to how they made it thru or if they ever did at all.

I been doing a lot of research about cures for the itching hives and can only find one reasonable choice to try. That is organic apple cider vinegar. Taking 2 tsp and a bit of water and drinking this 3 times a day. This is going to be my next venture along with baby oil, witch hazel and gold bond lotion to help ease the itch. I will update you in 2 weeks or less.

Like so many people on this site, I suffered from chronic itch every time I stopped taking Zyrtec. I would just go back on the medication because I thought my hives were acting up again. The itching was so bad I would be in tears!

I was determined to go off the med so I did the following step down method and it worked. Initially, I was on 10mg zyrtec every other day for a little over two years. From there, I took 5mg Claritin every other night for one month. Then I started taking 5 mg Claritin every 3 days for a month and then every 4 days, etc., until I no longer take any antihistimine medication.

I took me about 2 and a half months to go off of it. I still get a little itching every now and again, but nothing too bad. Hope this helps you guys.

I am on hour 84 Zyrtec Free! Mine was the 5mg off brand type. I am having itching but mine is of the joints. Hands, knees, fingers, toes. I did have a bout with hives this a.m. while exercising. I only got them on my stomach. The worst of the itching seems to come when I exert the above joints. And it is like a wave. If I relax, try (Pray) ignore the itch it passes. It seems if I could stay relaxed it wouldn't be an issue but obviously that is impossible. One very odd itch that I think is the most frustrating is the armpits. WOO WEE! That is hard to ignore but I divert my attention and trudge on thru. I do not know if this is going to get worse with each passing day but I will keep you notified.

Never had my liver enzymes tested but could it be that the Zrytec does cause elevated liver enzymes WHICH DOES CAUSE itching while the antihistamine suppresses the itching thus creating itchiness when you take the antihistamine away. The withdrawal is actually your liver getting back to normal levels????????????????????????? Just a thought. :)

Thank you so much for your comments and advice, im so glad this site is available for people like me to read! my daughter has just found out she is 5 weeks pregnant and she must stop taking ceterizine. she is now on day 3 and going crazy with her itching. This cant be good for stress levels and the baby. I'm appalled that this isnt highlighted on the literature that we receive in with the medication.

has anyone been in touch with the manufactures of this drug???? i do think i will !! i will of course let you good people know of what they have to say, unless someone can tell me they have tried.

my daughter is in tears with the withdrawl of this drug all the time we thought when she didnt take it it was her allergy kicking in when actually it would seem it was the withdrawl of this medication.

can anyone say if there doctor made them aware of the withdrawl from this medication??? i have read there is a facebook on this from this site (thank you) i will refer to it.

once again thank people for your info and anyone who finds themselves in the same situation of being with child theres nothing only cream and certain ones at that. good luck x

Okay, so I've been on generic Zyrtec for over two years now and I recently (January 25, 2012) had to stop taking it for seven days so I could take an allergy test for Penicillin. I was so itchy I scratched myself until my skin bled but I was determined to take the Penicillin allergy test. Somehow (maybe by the Grace of God) I got through it and I am now itch free. Today is February 5, 2012. I will NEVER take Zyrtec again.

I am so glad I stumbled across this! I started taking Ceterizine about 3yrs ago for hayfever, mostly sneezing a lot & frequent random sore throats.If I miss 1-3 days I get the wicked itches. I am having a huge struggle losing weight & I just found out the other day that anti-histamines could be interfering with that.

My doctor never said anything about withdrawal symptoms when he prescribed them or I would probably have not started on them.

I am just so glad to know that the itching is a fairly common & not a rare side effect that could be something really serious.

I have two things to say to all of you with the itching:
(1) Try turning on a hair blow dryer and holding it about 1/2 inch away from where it itches. Hold it there for at least 20 to 30 seconds or so. Doesn't that feel better? Hot showers are no good because they only dry your skin out and intensify itch.

(2) Instead of cetirizine, I had been taking levocetirizine, which the pharmacist had explained as the "left side" of the antihistamine. Zyrtec/cetirizine contains both "dextro"/right side and "levo"/left side of the antihistamine. He said the body only takes up/uses the "left side." The brand name for the the levocetirizine that I have been using is Xyzal, which usually helped relieve the intense sneezing and oversensitive nose/runny nose. I did not take it consistently because I did not want my body to get used to it.

Like many of you, I have been completely off of it the past seven days for allergy retesting tomorrow. I HAVE EXPERIENCED NO ITCHING WHATSOEVER. It might be the dextro part of the thing that causes the itching when use is reduced or stopped.

In summary - try a blow dryer for itching (which I had discovered when I had poison ivy some years ago), and don't take Zyrtec; try Xyzal/levocetirizine, and try not to use it every single day. Best to all.

I just went on the website and under "consumers" you will find a link where you can make a complaint. I suggest that everyone suffering from these symptoms, do the same. I may take about 1/2 hour but is well worth it if it can make a difference on the product labeling or help someone. I had to check off all the boxes that didn't pertain to my complaint in order to submit my form but did put a comment in the notes about it. I strongly urge you all to take the time and do this.

I'm in my early 60's and until 5 years ago had no problems what so ever. Then over a period of about a year I started to itch. Mostly my forearms which I finished up scratching so much that I damaged my skin enough to get scabs on the deeper scratches.

Despite trying to find the issue, e.g. changing everything that touched my skin and trying to be gluten and dairy free the intense itch went on. Until I had a sudden improvement, I realized that I had not eaten any fresh or in fact any food that contained tomatoes for about 4 days.

I had eaten tomatoes most days, mostly fresh or as a base or ingredient in many meals most of my life. Tomato Paste, Sauce, Chutney, Pickle, Soup, not many savory foods don't included tomato in one form or another.

Immediately I received total relief if I did not eat any form tomato.

Wonderful... but shortly after this I found that I started to suffer from a hay fever like problem, that continued all year round, sneezing and running nose being the worst problem.

For sometime I used nasal sprays, with quite good results. I read above someone said about sprays. My G.P. advised me not to use them long term as they can do major nasal damage.

So I went down the antihistamine route on his advise. Over the past about 3 years I have regularly changed brands. My G.P. advised I keep changing to avoid my system rejecting or becoming desensitized to any particular formulation of antihistamines.

That takes me to today, the above history is to just let some of you know that may be like me while you have been taking antihistamines you just may have developed a sensitivity to something else. For example TOMATOES I had never heard of Tomatoes being a problem until it happened to me. Yes I had a rash and welts as well, mostly on my arms. Young people get this allergy as well, not just oldies.

Anyway back to today. I have been off all fresh tomato and tomato base foods for sometime and stopped the antihistamines 5 days ago.

Why stop? Antihistamines, any over the counter, had not been working for me for what seems like years. So even on them I was suffering from itchy ears, general itchy skin, itchy tongue, scalp etc. also and more worrying fluid retention in my hands and wrists. (They have never helped with the tomato allergy) A couple of times I had missed taking the tablets for a day or two and had noticed that my wrists became much slimmer. I feel that if I have fluid like that in my wrists and hands what is happening in the rest of my body.

This fluid build up IS directly related to the medication. Only three days after stopping I had a big improvement.

Without the antihistamines I am more itchy, over all body, worst being my scalp and tongue, although oddly the inside of my ears are not as bad as when taking sometimes. Also I have sort of a strange prickling in different areas almost as if major changes are taking place in my skin/body as well as all over body aches and pains.

But my nose has almost stopped running and I am not sneezing anything like I have in the last couple years, so far anyway. As this was the very reason I started taking it in the first place, its all been a bit pointless. Not to mention the cost of it over the years.

After reading the above posts for the first time today as I was concerned about the way these drugs affected me, I just had to post my overly long story, in the hope it will help one or two of you.

I will never go back on an antihistamine unless it is a matter of life an death. It may have been the death of me to continue taking them I'm wondering? Although an older person I am otherwise super fit. :)

Will follow up in weeks to come.

I wrote on 02/08/2012.

The next day I got retested for allergy. My body reacted to NONE of the 68 allergens the doctor tested me for. He suggested I spray over-the-counter Nasalcrom into my nose when I feel my nose becoming extremely sensitive/on the verge of huge sneezes and water-like discharge dripping out. I like this Nasalcrom, which is NOT a steroid. It is sodium based. It does reduce my nose's hypersensitivity.

Also, an occasional aspirin helps reduce the inflammation in my nose which decreases the sensitivity as well.

Since I reacted to NONE of the 68 allergens, I have decided to avoid antihistamine for as long as I can. And strangely, I am not sneezing or dripping as much as I was in the seven days of antihistamine withdrawal in preparation for the allergy testing.

Fran, thanks for all your info regarding tomato.

I googled for itching hands a few moments ago. That led be to a blog with people discussing their symptoms, and there was a suggestion that Zyrtec withdrawal could be the cause. Lo and behold I stopped taking my daily Cetirizine a few days ago, (trying to clear up a sinus infection, like some others here) and I've started having itching on my feet, hands, and the top/back of my head.

I'm going to try weaning myself from it slowly.

I have dropped my dose to a half tablet everyday & no real itching so far. I am trying to lower my dose of Venlafaxine (antidepressant) at the same time so doing them both very slowly. Another few days & I will drop to 1/4 tablet for a week, then 1/4 tablet alternate days. Hopefully after that I can drop it completely without too much itching.

I hope the plan works well for you, Sherie.

Thank you, it's going well so far (cross fingers). I did my pill box for the next 7 days last night & did half a tablet each day, I will drop it to 1/4 next week.
I have been sneezing a bit but no itching. I do know what I am missing & I am so grateful that my plan is working.

I took cetirizine for about three years and stopped abruptly last summer. I began itching all over. I have been going to a dermatoligist ever since. I was treated for scabies and used permethrin cream three times and ivermectin twice. Nothing helped.

As a last resort, the dermatologist told me to use to Cerave cream and cetirizine. Within two days the itching stopped. My niece, who is an MD told me today that I had went though withdrawal and then got into an itch and scratch phase.

Thank goodness, I think the problem is solved. I was beginning to think that I would never get any relief. If I have to, I'll take cetrirzine for the rest of my life to keep from itching.

One should never say never should they. As I only managed to stay free for about 6 days. My problem was not itching but my digestive system becoming rather sensitive/unsettled, found that a couple of days worth of cetrizine and all OK. I hope I can maintain taking only as when urgently required rather than daily. No way do I want to have fluid retention again. Does anyone else find taking settles their gut?

I had this problem for 2 years now and I was taking antihistamine (Alaspan) once every day. Every time I stop taking it, my body use to start itching the next day (within 48 hours). The itching start from palms and reach face and head. It gets serious and reaches back of my head and I get blood with pimple kind of swellings.
Now I have stopped taking medication for 8 days, but still suffering to control the pain. My palms are not itching any more, but my head, chest, stomach are itching heavily.
Could some one tell me how many days will it take for me to come into peace.. I am really dying here.

I have dropped my dose to a 1/4 for this week & still no mad itching. I think I will go to 1/4 every second day next week & then drop it completely. I hope that my experience of weaning off it so slowly helps someone else to succeed too.

I have been taking antihistamine (similar to piriton) for a few years, I have really bad Hay fever and I have allergies to dust so I am constantly sneezing and now I am worried if I have become addicted to the medicine. The days I do not take the antihistamine I can not sleep, last night I only got less then 2h sleep and my the inside of my throat/ears was itching like mad. Has anyone else had the same problem?

R u still off? And how long did it take for all the itching to subside?

Well...... I got the itches last night.It took at least 3-4 days after I stopped taking any & the itching was really annoying but not enough to drive me mad (although I didn't sleep well). I am pleased I slowly tapered off before dropping it completely.

I'm so thankful for this site and have been off of Cetirizine for 3 days now (after taking it for over 3 years). I'm still itching a bit but not as bad and will be posting a video on YouTube as soon as it totally clears up. What's been helping me is; Aloe Vera Gel, Gold Bond Ultimate skin therapy cream (w/ chamomile or healing w/ aloe) natural soap (that includes olive oil and chamomile), tea (chamomile) and wearing lose clothes. It's hard but I just deal with it and do mind over matter and before you know it the gel and cream starts to kick in. I keep them close by as the itching comes back from time to time, but over all I feel better. Also, I noitce that a cool towel can aid too. I just wanted to encourage everyone!

Hi all
I have had hives since October (believed they were caused by a medication reaction)
was put on hydroxyzine (cetirizine relative)but that was making me drowsy. Was then put on citirizine and that controlled my symptoms for a while. I stopped taking it when it was causing ++ side effects. Oh boy.... am I ever in H*** now! I can't explain the horrible itch and deep nerve pain I am experiencing.

I have been to an allergist as well as my family doc - both are unsure of what is causing these symptoms. Thank goodness for this site! I was starting to think I was going mad!

My theory: Drug reaction caused initial hives, citirizine caused recurring hives and other symptoms or body just didn't 'reset' after first reaction, withdrawal causing my body to revolt.
Just a guess.
Will let you know if I find anything that helps.
Good luck everyone :)

Thank you for the update. Most of the comments here are what is wrong and how bad it is. I totally agree with the symptoms that everybody is having. When I read all of these it was if I wrote them. I'm having exactly the same problem. But no one has come up with a good solution yet and has been able to say that they have no more itching or side effects anymore and it's been 2 or 3 weeks or whatever. So I like your feed back. Keep us posted. I cant go more than 3 days and then I cave because it itches so bad.
Thanks again

No problem and I will do! Also wear loose fit clothes if you can, that really helps too.

I'm glad this site exists. I had an itchy scalp almost everyday on citrizine, now I have an itchier scalp trying to get off of it. I also feel very hyper at night, with my heart racing. I take an herbal sleeping pill to help with that. I tried some calendula lotion, aloe vera gel for the itching. I think the next thing will be apple cider vinegar and a baking soda paste.

I'm trying to decrease my allergies by food rotation and avoiding my most allergenic foods like corn, soy, wheat and dairy. Also nasal cleansing helps by doing it 2x per day.

I now on Hydroxyquine and prednisone on the advice of my allergist. Major reduction in the pain and swelling of the hives (they were starting to bleed!)
less than 2 wks left of the predisone and may have to take hydroxyquine longer (can cause eye damage so eye tests every 6 months essential... but I'm desperate!)
So far it has been sweet relief - allergist says this 'should' re-set my system and hopefully control the insane burning itch and recurring hives (original problem)
Will keep you posted on progress

You posted that you had been zyrtec free for 3 weeks. Can you tell me how long you itched for? Rashes? Was the first week the worst? I am crrently trying to wean off of the drug. I have been taking it for 1 year. I am done. I no longer need it. I am hoping that I have not done permanent damage to myself. Please let me know the details.
Scratch, scratch,

How did the withdrawl of the zyrtec go? Are you free from the anxiety and itching?

Were you successful? No one is posting whether they were successful and free and clear form this mess. I really need some encouragement. I am weaning down too. Currently on 5mg/daily. Am going to start 5mg every other day tomorrow for a week then 2.5 mg every other day then 2.5 every third day and then done.
I could use some words of encouragement.


Update day 7 of not taking zyrtec. Less scalp and random itching. Although I did visit my acupuncturist yesterday. Less anxiety on day 5. I was able to sleep better that night without relaxing herbs (revitalizing sleep formula and kava kava).

Hi All,
I am currently weaning, down to 1/2 pill every other day (5mg). I hope to drop to every third day *2 then stop. I am going to try accupunture and herbs to get me through. I will keep you posted.
Note: On the nights I don't take this drug, I feel so good the next morning. On the nights I do take it, I feel awful the next morning. Anxious, tired and bloated. No itching yet but I am sure it's coming.

Hello everyone,

I have been on cetrizine last 7 months or so to come off a skin allergy I caught up at Ladakh, on and off trying various other treatments including Ayurveda ...never knowing that the medicine itself as turned out to be the host of all my sorrows..
God bless who ever started this post.. and I have just given up on the medicine.. it has been just 3 days after my last dose... where ever the skin is touched or strained there starts a wild itching...

All I want to say is that I am resolute on giving this termite up... and a little word of worthy advise for y'all ... resist scratching yourself and it gets a lot better.
The moment you touch or scratch that portion it stimulates like an untamed network calling for constant attention.

I tried soaking myself in Bath salt with Glycerine in warm really helps soothe the itchy feeling. My motto is do not touch those bumpy welts and cetrizine...dont let these rule your mind and body...
trust yourself.. and they will go away..

Good luck to all of us

I had some welts & I thought they were to do with this. I have been really lucky coming off citerizene, not too much scratching & not the sort that drives you bonkers.

I have been taking Zyrtec for years and would stop taking it periodically and then develop terrible headaches which I attributed to my allergies flaring up so I'd start taking the Zyrtec again and like magic, I'd be better.

I had a blood allergy test last year and was surprised to see that many of my former allergies were barely present in testing anymore. Stopped taking Zyrtec and BAM, headaches were back so I assumed the allergies were still there enough to bother me. Now I had to stop taking Zyrtec 3 days ago to prepare for allergy testing and this entire weekend has been AWFUL. Headache, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion... the works.

I haven't left the house or been able to function. I have to suffer through until my appointment tomorrow night but even after that I don't want to start the cycle of taking Zyrtec daily again because this withdrawal is horrible. Hopefully the allergist knows SOMETHING that will help get me through these symptoms of withdrawal... I can't take much more of this.

Tried everything.
Nothing works but prednisone - but did not cure initial hives.
Wish I had better news.
Good luck.

Day 3 without Z.  I am excited to be finally done.  Really.  Can’t wait.  I made a date on my calendar.  April 14th.  That is my celebration day.  I know that I am Z free on that day.
I have some itchies.  But totally tolerable.  I pray this is the worst of it.  All I know is that I want to be done.  And I will be.  I am.

Hello there. My son is on day 6 today. I need everyone's help as to what I can do for him. My son has autism with little language,and is going out of his mind. Imagine how bad it is for all of you, and you can talk!!! We are sooo mad that this can happen, as we were unaware of any withdrawal period when we put him on it. Please flood me with what helped all of you get some relief. This is just awful! I only know how he must feel from your reviews. We are using sinusalia(as a decongestant/antihistimine). It is also used for smoking withdrawal. Gold bonds, alovera, and chamamille tea. Epsom baths and lemon tea to get rid of zyrtec (detox). My heart breaks for him, as he deserves better, and has enough issue with his autism.
Please post back!
Thank you sooo much to all of you for your postings!
I wish all of you relief!

I am so grateful for this site. For the last few days I have been all over the internet reading story after story about withdrawal from Zyrtec. I have been going through hell. I started taking zyrtec over 3 years ago. I noticed last year that my sinuses have been getting worse and struggled with painful headaches and I even went to an ENT. I would take antibiotics but the symptoms would come back. I also had painful dry nostrils, nose bleeds and moments of dizziness while I was at work. I knew I had to stop the Z. Every time I would get to that 3rd day without it the itching would start and If I did not come across this site I would still assume that It is my allergies coming back.

I am now on day 4 or 5 and at 6am today I was in the ER. I was in tears with the intense itching, burning in my head, felt awful. The ER Doc, wanted me to go back on my allergy meds and I said no way. He put me on Steroids. I have only taken a few pills so far and I am feeling so much better. Take vit C 3000 mg a day and nettle tea. I know I will be back to myself in a day or 2 and I hope this helps. Please don't suffer. Go to your Doctor. This is Serious withdrawal and I feel like filing a class action law suit against company for failing to get us a fair warning. Good luck to all of you.

That's exactly why I don't want to be pregnant while taking this drug.

My last dose was Friday night (2.5mg). I weaned from 40mg originally. Today is Thursday and I have minimal itching. Here's what I have done:
Cut out all dairy
Cut out all gluten
Cut out refined sugar
Take Omega 3, vitamin D, and a multivitamin.
Take D-Hist!!!!! Herbal antihistamine with ZERO withdrawal and side effects!!!!
Magnet therapy
Lots of water
Lots of green tea
This all is hard and probably not recommended for a six year old. I am seeing an integrative medicine doctors group. You should look into something other than western medicine. I have and I am happier for it.
Hugs to you and your son. As a mother myself, I feel your pain and his. Hugs.

I have been on Zyrtec for more than 5 years for chronic allergies (I live in St. Louis, MO). Whenever I go to visit my fiance in Colombia, I decide to stop taking Zyrtec, as there is no pollen here, or cats (which I am allergic to but have as pets at home). Every time I miss a day or two of Zyrtec, I experience intense, excruciating itching on my inner and outer thighs and a bit on my upper arms. The more days that pass with no Zyrtec, the worse it gets.

I had thought maybe I was allergic to something in my fiance's house, or the mattress, but it seems that this is a common side effect of stopping Zyrtec. (Side note: I have a very similar response if I forget to take my daily dose of Zoloft, and the itching comes on about 5 hours after I should have taken the dose).

As soon as I move back home, I will gradually stop taking Zyrtec, as this is ridiculous!

I am in so much pain from scratching- and the itching is unbearable. I've stopped taking zyrtec (after being on it for YEARS). I need some relief. I'm angry that I had to come hear to find out what was wrong with me. Why is this not listed on the side effects???? :(

I too am glad that I am not the only one that has the itching crazies. This really sucks, my skin is crawling and I fear I am going to break skin if it doesn't let up.

I had a horrible bout of itchy palms, to the point where they formed into large blisters all over my palms and between my fingers, accompanied by hives all over. I went to numerous Dr.'s, (allergy, primary care, dermatology). The primary care and dermatologist put on prednasone for months and months. Horrible stuff, I know. I went to the allergist, and he told me to take generic zyrtec. It worked within 5 days. All hives were gone, but continued to have eczema on my legs and arms. I've been using it for months, and tried to go off of it as he suggested. Two days after stopping, I started with the hives and itchy palms.

So tired of everyone telling me they have no idea why it is happening. All tests have come back negative, not allergic to anything. I even had a biopsy of a hive done, came back inconclusive. Has anyone ever been to any other types of doctors that were helpful (rheumatoid, etc)?

To Art,
I too am a very allergic person. Even though a food doesn't test positive for allergies, it doesn't mean you're not allergic/sensitive to it. You might want to try an allergy elimination diet, to see if your hives go away.

In terms of a medical person to consult. If you don't like what your allergist has to say, then try a Natureopath (N.D). Most states do not cover them insurance wise, but well worth it, if you find a good one.
Good luck

I'm happy to report back that I'm completely off Zyrtec and have been for two months. I had to taper off slowly over the course of four weeks, but it eventually worked. No more terrible itching, and no more Z. Nasalcrom is handling all of my allergy problems.


just an update...
I have come off citrezine completely... there are certain mild show-ups here and there some days.. but that is much better that those horrifying withdrawal effects I went through 1 few weeks.

All the best in getting rid of this medicine

Btw pure alovera gel and lactocalamine application helps calming the skin rash when you are in the process of withdrawing the medicine.

Take care All and God Bless you a speedy freedom from this medicine

I too would like to report that I am free of this. I tapered off slowly as well & didn't have much trouble with itching. This was one of the drugs that was preventing me from losing weight, which was my main reason for coming off it. I have been successfully tapering my dose of Venlafaxine also with the aim of switching to another that actually promotes weight loss.

Good luck to everyone still battling with this seemingly innocent drug.

I had been taking Zyrtec almost daily for about a month when my skin started burning, first my hands and then randomly all over. I stopped taking the drug and now the burning has decreased slightly but I'm still having burning/cooling sensation randomly all over as well as some itching and stinging. It has been 12 days since I've been off Zyrtec and I just took a benadryl right before reading all of this. I'm afraid I might has sabotaged all my progress. Has anyone else had any skin burning/cooling symptoms along with some itching?

It has been several months since I went "cold turkey" to get off Zyrtec. It took me about a year to be certain my body was experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms whenever I had more than a 3-day lapse in taking the medication (usually because I ran out of my supply & didn't get to the store to replace it quickly enough!) Oddly, the itching always started on my feet, then went to my hands. Be prepared that no one will believe you ...

1) All my doctors told me they had never heard of Zyrtec withdrawal symptoms. If it weren't for the neurological symptoms I was experiencing (increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, vivid nightmares) my allergist said she would have diagnosed my insane itchiness & hives on the fact that I STOPPED taking the Zyrtec (she would have assumed that the Zyrtec was controlling them, but got worse when I stopped taking it.) She most likely would have put me on a course of steroids to treat the hives, but I was adamant, and luckily, she witnessed my other symptoms -- which certainly could not be explained by a case of hives!

2) The Zyrtec hotline also told me they had no reported cases - which must be an outright lie, given the posts I've found on line.

My allergist explained this drug would take about 4-6 weeks to completely leave my system. She was right -- there is hope! The first 7-14 days were the worse -- I actually felt like I couldn't function, there were a few days when I considered staying home from work. Eventually, my heart rate returned to normal, the nightmares ended, I felt less "cloudy." I was able to manage the itchiness with oral benadryl & Eucerin Itch-calming topical skin lotion. By Week 4, I was fine.

Once I saw how my body reacted to this medication & read other people's post, I couldn't stand to take even a half a pill, in an attempt to wean off. Once I knew I was in no medical danger by stopping "cold turkey," I threw the Zyrtec away & have never taken it again.

Thank God for this site. I have been on Citirazine for about 2 years. I tried once to stop but the awful itching sent me back on it. Now I plan to try again, stepping down as gradually as possible. I hope and pray I can get off of this stuff... the fact that the company denies any complaints tells me what kind of folks we are dealing with. Fortunately, we can all support each other! Good luck everyone!!!

There's a huge amount of rubbish written on this thread. However, the withdrawal symptoms from Cetirizine are certainly real, and the medical profession certainly seems to have ignored them.

I took Cetirizine for years and could never stop taking it because of the intense itching sensation. I always believed the itching was due to withdrawal, but I could never bear the itching for long enough to get through it and out the other side.

I went to the "best" allergy clinic in the UK, at Guy's Hospital. Twice in fact. They didn't believe me about the withdrawal symptoms and tried to convince me I had simply become allergic to something else that was causing the itching. The second consultant I saw patronised me generally, and said he'd take a look on Google(!) to see what he could find, which he did while I sat there, and then a minute later he said there was nothing he could do and that I should just continue to take Cetirizine for the rest of my life.

However, recently I worked out how to get off it. I stopped taking Cetirizine completely. When the itching started after a couple of days I took another anti-histamine (Loratadine). This masked the itching completely. I took another Loratadine only when the itching started again, and after about six weeks I found that the itching didn't come back and I was through the Cetirizine withdrawal symptoms.

I've been free of itching for about three months now. This works, do it!

pb, this is the only suggestion I have found that makes some sense to me - thank you! How about other symptoms of withdrawal: insomnia, moods, brain fog, etc.? Did you experience those to excess? For how long? Thanks again for your hope-filled post! - LW

I didn't have any other withdrawal symptoms.

Oh thank God this thread exists I honestly thought I was going crazy. I've been using antihistamines (Alzene) since I was 8 or 9 - so a long time, LOL - and am actually on day 2 of cold turkey. I'd been taking these tablets to prevent hay fever though this was not severe and I honestly believe has pretty much vanished since.

What I found strange was that my sister has been off Alzene (cold turkey) for 2 months and reported none of the symptoms I was experiencing... e.g. intense scalp itching, headaches and oddly enough lowered mood. I first thought these symptoms were psychosomatic then they were my allergies. But after a while I realized that if I ever forgot a dose of antihistamine the same issues would flare up.

I have no idea how to get rid of this horrible itch though I think I'll try some of the suggestions above. Thank you all, so much for creating this thread. You actually have no idea what a relief it is to know this is real!!

BRITAKER, I know - it is a huge relief to find others going through this and that it IS real! I am now beginning to get off of Citirizine by cutting the tabs in half. I have taken 1/2 dose nightly for about 2 weeks now, with no itching or other symptoms that I can recognize. I next plan to reduce that to 1/4 for a while and then stop. If I develop itching I will try pb's method above: "When the itching started after a couple of days I took another anti-histamine (Loratadine)" for a while until the itching subsides. Regarding your sister, everyone reacts differently to meds... Hang in - good luck!

Tonight I will take my second dose of half a Zyrtec, in an attempt to get off it! So far today I have had no itching or other withdrawal symptoms. I plan on taking a half-pill for 6 days total, then a fourth-pill for 8 days, and stopping entirely after that. (The number of days per incremental decrease was more or less random, no special scientific reason). I decided I would rather deal with slight allergies instead of being addicted to this pill!

Hi Pb, how much Loratadine did you take? How often? I'm tapering now and I have lots of hives. I actually take the liquid Zyrtec (Cetirizine). I'm on 5ml (which will be 5mg version of the tablet). I can go 2 days without another dose but not more than that. The doctor I saw was no help and she just basically wants me to get allergy tests. How can I get allergy tests if I'm on antihistamines?

I can't go cold turkey, I am too miserable. I want to scratch my skin off. I tried distraction but that only works for so long and you're cooped up in the house and can't get out when the hives are in full force. This is depressing. I don't know if I'm depressed from the weight gain and loss of hair (yet another side effect) or from the hives. I was trying to explain to the doc today that I don't want to be on Zyrtec for the rest of my life! She acted like it was no big deal! It is a big deal! She said just take Zyrtec because it will give me relief.

She also denied about the withdrawal symptoms (typical). Uggh. I'm gonna see a naturopath and see if that will help. I am so sick of the hives. I haven't even been on Zyrtec that long, just this spring. Last yr I was able to quit easily, I was on it even less. This year, spring came early and so I was on Zyrtec longer. *sigh* help.

I am tapering now too, taking 1/2 tab every evening. I've been doing this for about 1 month, as I believe there is a certain amount of residual drug in the system that takes time to drain away as I reduce the dose, and I am in no hurry. I have had small itches and a little nervousness, but nothing much and all manageable. I plan to cut that down to 1/4 tab soon. I plan to get a small amount of something like Loratadine to have on hand just in case, but I feel confident that I can eventually get "clean". Onward!

I took one loratadine tablet when the itching started - I repeated this every time the itching started - and as I say, after about six weeks the itching had stopped (in other words, the ceterizine withdrawal symptoms had worn off)

All this other talk about natural remedies is, as ever with natural remedies, pointless.

And tapering off - that's like trying to come off heroin by taking a bit less heroin - good luck with that! - you need to stop taking heroin and take something else (methadone) to mask the heroin withdrawal symptoms

stop taking ceterizine completely - take a different anti-histamine to mask the itching - done

Update: Day 3 off Zyrtec cold turkey. I started taking Claritin yesterday to help with the itching. So far it's been tolerable. I still see hives but not as much. Good luck to us all trying to get off Zyrtec. I hope it will be easier to quit Claritin! This makes me sleepy too but not as bad as Zyrtec does where I pretty much feel like a zombie.

Now cutting back to 1/4 tab. Claritin at the ready... Here' hoping!

I love reading your success stories everyone - keeps me going forward!


Hi I am very grateful I have found this site. I had to use Zyrtec as I ran out of my normal antihistamine on holiday. I took Zyrtec for 5 days. I stopped using it as soon as I returned home. The itching started 6 days ago and is extremely uncomfortable. Like others I am having difficulty sleeping and the creams the doctor has prescribed give little relief. Wearing loose fitting clothes has helped. I am just glad I know that shortly this awful experience will be over.

Day 3 of tapering off (at 1/2 pill) and I have had some hives for a few days now, but much MUCH more tolerable than "cold turkey" in my experience.

Wow! Any medication that gets its hooks into you that deeply after only five days should have warning labels all over it, in my opinion! Glad you found this site too CJB - we are all fortunate to have this support - even although doctors and the company do not admit that we need any! Good luck!!

KLA, I agree - but thank goodness there are no "rules"! I guess we all have to choose our own best method. My 1/4 tab tapering is going fine, with no itching or hives so far. I plan to continue that for another week or two (maybe more) and then stop entirely (with Claritin handy).

Has anyone experienced acid reflux or a build up of mucus in the throat as a symptom of withdrawal fom Zyrtec?

Now that you mention it, lately I have experienced these things since beginning my tapering off from Citirizine... I never connected them, but I suppose they could be? They are only moderate, but both are something new for me. Interesting!

I have been taking one antihistamine or another for over 10 years for allergy symptoms including itchy eyes and throat. Every time I skip a day or so my symptoms come back which prompts me to take another dose. Over the last week or so I have not been taking anything. I have had moderate itching in my throat and ears but severe pressure in my esophagus at night as a sip on water (hours after eating) seemingly from a build up of mucus. It is very uncomfortable. I decided to take a Zyrtec 3 nights ago and the feeling went away within 30 minutes. The same thing happened the following night so I'm just wondering if my body is reacting to not having the meds in my system or if I'm developing a problem with acid reflux?

I am not going to take anymore meds and hopefully this too shall pass. I'm glad I found this site and I appreciate the comments.

I have been off Zyrtec for about 5 days now. This morning, miraculously, the hives are starting to disappear (no idea why) and for the last 2 or 3 days I have had increasingly worse itching, mostly on my legs. I found that someone's suggestion of cold showers does help a bit, and afterwards, I put lotion on my legs and blow on the area gently...the cold feels wonderful!

One other problem I have is...what to do with the bottles of unopened Zyrtec that I still have? I don't want to throw them away and waste them, but I also don't want to get anyone else addicted to it!

From what I have read that itching will begin to fade away too in time... I plan to take an occasional Claritin if that happens. I am still on 1/4 tab per day and so far all is well, although I can now feel a little itch here and there. Of course, everyone has little itches now and then, so I'm trying not to get imaginative! ☺

I do not believe I would not give the Zyrtec to someone unless I knew they were already on it and had no immediate plans to stop taking it. I think I would probably toss them and write it off in the name of getting healthier...? But it's your call!

CLEAN!I am totally off of Cetirizine. I stepped down from one tablet to 1/2 for one month, 1/4 for about 3 weeks, and then none. I had no symptoms other than occasional slight itches, which I was able to control with Claritin.

This may be the Wussy Way to getting off of this stuff, but having lived through two+ years of extreme distress from severe sensitivities to electricity and chemicals, as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and worked hard to recover, I was not willing to put up with any unnecessary discomfort.

Thanks to everyone who has posted here. You gave me the courage to go for it! - ♥

"but the withdrawal phenomenon you and other patients have experienced is not included in the medical literature."

But it should be, this is an attempt to hide a known problem on the part of the manufacturer. The number of people I've spoken to that have this problem is huge.

OMG, thank you for this blog! I have had cats for several years but didn't realize I was allergic to them until a couple years in of having them (so now I'm attached to them, obviously). I took Zirtec and then was off it for one or two weeks before the allergy screening. I was itching like crazy and using Eucerin Anti-Itch lotion to get through, but at the time I thought it was a small price to pay for an over-the-counter medication (in my mind that meant safer) that dries up my ever-flowing sinuses. Now I don't know if the medication is what is helping my symptoms or the fact that I've quarantined my room, wear a mask when dusting etc.

I have always had a sensitive stomach but have always been able to more or less manage it. But one day about a year and a half ago I almost thought about going to the hospital after eating some stew. I immediately blamed it on my diet so I switched to all whole grains, low sodium and fat, less processed foods, low acid, tons of veggies and fruit, drinking only water and decaf unsweet tea, picking apart my menu item to the waiter every time I went out etc. Then six months later my mother reminded me that I have always had a sensitivity to too much medication. From that day forward I went from taking the medicine every day to every other day and like magic, my stomach can digest food again!

However, I desperately want to get off this medicine, because like I said before, I don't think it's helping me like it used to, and I know now I'm for the most part continuing to take it simply because when I get to day 3 without it the itching is unbearable. Then I can try to find a better allergy med. Wish me luck!

Welcome! My method of getting off it is slow but painless - one month on 1/2 tablet, another 2 weeks or more on 1/4 tablet. I had no itching - or only the tiniest bit, controlled with Claritin. I now take a Claritin only now and then for seasonal allergies, which works and carries no addictive price. Best of luck!!!

Day 7 - cold turkey and the itching is bearable most of the day with a few episodes that are more intense. Like others here, I had no indication that this was a possible side effect. It is worse than the seasonal rash it prevented this summer. Never again!

Good for you! Hang in there!!

OMG I am so happy to find a reason for this insane itchy feeling. It started the day after I stopped taking cetirizine on my palms then feet. It feels like it spreads up my legs. The itch feels like its inside me not on top of my skin, no rash just a burning itchy feeling which is driving me mad. I am really trying not to take any more pills to relieve it which is what I have done in the past. Nice to know I am not alone.

Day 17 and I'm feeling normal again. I never took anything to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. NI, I send you best wishes for a similarly speedy recovery.

NI, I know just how you feel - it was a huge relief to find this thread and others in this situation. Hang in there - taper off if you need to - you'll be free of it pretty soon!

NDA, Fabulous! So happy for you!!!

I couldn't even make it 36 hours off the allergy medicine before the itch set in so severe that I bled. I have to get off of this, allergies or not something had to be better than this.

Day 5 and have managed not to give in and take anything yet. Am finding different areas itchy now. Got out of the bath last night and after drying myself it felt like my whole body itched. I find if I stand very still and slowly count myself through it I feel it subside after about 40 seconds. Don't know if this might help anyone else? Feels like I have a long way to go, the thought of maybe 10 more days of this is not nice but knowing from the feedback on here that other people are getting back to normal is really encouraging and having people understand what I am feeling helps too - so thank you!!.

Your could try tapering off as I did Resa - 1/2 tablet for a month or so, 1/4 for a few more weeks - no itching and finally free of the stuff! I tried it cold turkey and thought, Why am I putting myself through this? So I tapered off and ti went very well. Maybe that would help you?

I am finding the key is as soon as I feel any tingling, don't touch it but count through it - its really hard but if you do this you feel it build then ebb away. If you touch the area it then just spreads and gets worse. The first few days are the most intense tingly itchy prickly feeling, the days after I found more wide spread but more of an irritating tingle. I hope you can find some way to get off of it.

I have been on Zyrtec for almost 2 years. I have had horrible itching "fits" that have been so intense it has lead to me crying and scratching so hard I have drawn blood. I made an emergency appointment with another physician at my Dr.'s office and he told me to take cool showers and switch to Allegra it was allergies. Not being able to take Allegra I just went on about my business until my regular appointment with my normal Dr. I told her about the "fits" she said it was my nerves, like some people get stomach ulcers when they are stressed, I itch.

She suggested taking a fourth of my sleeping med and all that really did was make me sleepy and I'd go to sleep. But I couldn't do that at work. Until just now I realized that I haven't had my Zyrtec in about 3 days. And I have gradually began to itch worse and worse the past 2 days. I decided to look up Zyrtec withdrawals and I am soooooooooo thankful that I found this site.

I truly thought I was losing my mind. Nothing helps the itching, lotions make it worse, showers make it worse, all I could think to do made it worse and often left me in tears. I just wanted to say thank you and I WILL be discussing this with my physician:)

I found that hot showers brought some relief.

Good luck, ANS. We're all rooting for you.

I have found that hot showers are one of the only things that help. At first I wouldn't do it though, Dr told me that it would make me itch worse. But as I am sure you know you will try anything to stop the itching after a while. I appreciate the support and thank you ALL again!!

Thanks so much for all your comments. I thought I was going crazy and imagining things! Thought I had bedbugs or some other critter that I just couldn't see. I stopped taking Cetirizine for 5 days for allergy testing. Started itching on the 3rd day. Finally took a Benedryl to get some sleep. Since all my allergy test came out negative, I didn't see any reason to start taking the Cetirizine again. STILL itching, although not as bad. Think I'll start back and take one every other day for a bit, then every two days, etc until I'm off. Not a fun process!

Oh my word! Thank you thank you thank you for making me realize I'm not crazy! I spent hours yesterday, literally hours, combing through my hair for lice certain that the itching on my scalp was not due to dandruff which I've suffered from my whole life. I was on Levocetirizine for three months for asthma (supposedly, diagnosed at 25 and immediately put on 4 medications and a rescue inhaler). Once the seasons changed my "asthma" suddenly disappeared so I chose not to refill the antihistimine as I found it the least helpful of the medications. (And I'm skeptical of if they're all necessary or not, anyway). I last took it Monday and it was probably around Thursday I really noticed itching, mainly on my scalp but sometimes everywhere. This follows the "third day" trend I see in some of the above comments. I looked up seasonal scalp itch and all sorts of things, and almost went back on the levocetirizine to CURE the scalp itch when I came across this wonderful resource that let me know that more than likely, that's the CAUSE of the itch, not the cure.

"Do not stop any medication without first checking with your physician." Sorry, but I feel fine and I think the medication is doing more harm than good at this point.

I have not taken any Zyrtec since Thursday morning for allergy testing tomorrow. I really hope that my doctor can either tell me a different medicine to take in the future as I do not ever want to go thru this extreme itchiness again in my life. I have never been so uncomfortable!!

Just found this forum. I've been up all night. Again. Heart palpitations constantly (never had them before) REALLY bad dreams, horrible insomnia, and the itching, oh my gosh! Been on Cetirizine for a little over 2 years. Thought I'd get off it with winter looming. it's been about 4 days now, and I can't handle it. I'm going crazy. If I had a gun, I'd shoot myself.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Hang in there if you can. The itching is horrible, but if you read all the comments here, you'll find that sticking it out for several weeks will bring you out of the itch misery and you'll no longer be dependent on the drug.

Kill Me Please, I totally identify. You could try what worked for me: Take a Citirizine. Continue to take one a day for 3 weeks or a month. Then cut down to 1/2 tablet for 3 weeks. Then cut to 1/4 tablet for 3 weeks... the key is to let your body become aware of the changed dose, and 3 weeks is the typical time needed. I know this seems tiresomely long, but believe me, it worked for me, with no symptoms, once I tried it exactly like that. Before that it was living hell.

Best of luck - stay in touch!

Thank you. I'm going to try your suggestion, I hope it works. I broke down and took 10mg tab yesterday morning, and my itching stopped within a 1/2 hour. Amazing. Once I get off it, I'll never take it again.

You might start cutting to 1/2 sooner since you've been off it for a little while... take a whole on for another couple of days for instance, and then got to 1/2 for about 3 weeks, etc... Mind you, I am not a professional, but I have been where you are, and tapering off is, for some of us, a life/sanity saver! I will be thinking about you, prayerfully!

Omg! I cannot tell you all how relieved I am to find this site! I have been taking Benadryl for the past 10 years for sleep & about 5 years ago, I started noticing raised hives & major itching around my bra strap area, on my shoulders & forearms from my purse strap. I pretty much developed raised rashes anywhere my skin was touched or scratched. I get raised itchy rashes around my underwear elastic & everywhere my clothes touch. I've spent the past few years researching this & only recently did I suspect it was the Benadryl. Now I am certain it is the Bendryl.

I was taking 1 per night for years, then 2 per night for the past few months & when I went back to taking 1 per night, I started itching all over my body like crazy! I've been taking 1/4 twice each night for the past week & I'm going insane with the itching. I'm praying that I haven't caused myself permanent damage. I can't go on living with these rashes, itching & hives. I'm really pissed off that there are no published warnings of this & why the he'll don't any of these "smart doctors" know anything about this?! Once I get completely off after the itching subsides, I will never touch Benadryl or any antihistamine ever again!

Also, I noticed that my legs seem to have weird dimples like cellulite, but this is more like water retention & I think this is another side effect. I am a thin person & work out often, so doesn't make sense that I would have cellulite. My 3 sisters do not have this problem in there legs, so I don't think it could be hereditary. I really regret ever taking this stuff.

Based on advise from some others on this site, I took vitamin C about 30 minutes ago, and the itching doesn't seem as intense. I'm still itching like mad, but it see,s to be a bit less. I think I'll go take another vitamin C now. Good luck everyone!

Yes, I have major itching with raised hives.

Wow! I almost thought I was reading my own story! I'm a healthy 39 year old with the exact same symptoms from taking Benedryl for more than 10 years. I am going nuts with all the itching! I wish all the best getting off this stuff!

I took a vitamin C about an hour ago, then another about 30 minutes ago & the itching is almost gone! I'm so excited!

6 yr old has been on generic Zyrtec since April. I too discovers once he stopped taking it he would itch, go into hives, mucus build up and coughing. Today will be the last day. I am out of med. and will not buy any more. I will try something's suggested, but he is only 6. I will keep you posted on what I am using and how it is working. He is asleep now, but he did wake me up to let me know he is breaking out. We will see how day 1 When he gets up in the morning goes. I will be praying.


OMG! I can't believe this! I have had several bouts of this itching but I never associated it with Zyrtec until this time. Generally I would take it only when pollen is at it's highest, but I had been taking it for a couple months this time and WOW, when I stopped the other day, I really can't explain the horrendous itching I've had. Itching that is unreal to the human body. On a fluke, I typed in Zyrtec withdraw and easily found this site.

Am I ever glad I did, I was gonna go to my Dr. on Monday and tell her to figure it out or do me in. I will try a vitamin C and tough it out now that I know what I now know. The only reason I stopped taking it was I have been working out really hard for a month and only lost one pound. I was reading Jackie Warner's exercise book, which said to not take antihistamines because they block the absorption of thyroid hormone. Sure enough, three days after quitting Zyrtec, I dropped 4 lbs and my energy is well on the rise. I will never take that drug again as long as I live. Thanx people for writing about your experiences, it has really helped a lot of people to understand that the FDA doesn't give a crap and this side effect should definitely be made known.

Taper him off for two or three months He does not need to go through any problems at all In then switch to a Claritin. I went to a half a pill And then started going as long as I could one day two days three days When he starts to itch give him a half of a pill and it will go away in a half hour. I cannot imagine being forced to not being able to take the pill When I tried cold turkey I almost lost my mind Seriously. It took me 2 to 3 months and I have been off for over four months no no side effects at all. Good luck and I hope he doesn't suffer

Hey guy! I posted November 17, about my 6yr old on generic zyrtec. Well, I am here to report good news! I went to go buy emergency vitamin C for kids and couldn't find it. My son broke so bad that night I gave him one of my 1,000mg vitamin C w/ rose hips and I put the vitamin in a cup, put a little Gatorade in it and crushed it up and dissolved it. I gave it to my son and watched him for about 30mins. And Voila!!!! The hives all disappeared and he slept like a baby!

Today is November 22nd and I only had to give him the vitamin C 2 times!! (the 2nd time he made a mistake and are applesauce) allergic to apples.' No more hives and swelling. I think the Zyrtec may finally be out of his system. I am so, so happy not to see my baby lips swell and skin breakout. Never using zyrtec again!! Or Anything like it.

Mom of 6 yr old

I just Googled itching syptoms from withdrawal of Zyrtec and found all of your postings. Glad to know I am not the only one! I have experienced this 3 times, just from running out of it and not getting to the store to get more before the itching starts. Even the palms of my hands itch!

It is obviously common.

It seems to be very common - but doctors and the manufacturer do not acknowledge it... thank God for forums like this! To get off of it, tapering worked for me - Vitimin C has worked for others - cold turkey looks like torture to me... but to each her own! At least you know now why you itched!

So pleased to have found this website! I was blaming my itching on a reaction to a three day course of antibiotics, but had stopped taking Cetirizine the day before I started them. I'm now on day 5 of not taking them and am red raw in patches from scratching, and totally unable to concentrate on anything for long as it's all I can think about. My head, face, torso, arms, legs and in particular my palms and scalp are driving me crazy. I'm so tempted to take another dose just to get some relief, but no...I'm never taking them again now I've read all this.
Am now off to the kitchen to try and find some Vit C in the hope I will be able to sleep after a dose.

Hoping that works for you JWB - sending good thoughts!

I stopped generic cetirizine in Sep 2011, and started taking a 4mg class 1 antihistamine every two or three days. I would itch, but would force myself to endure the itch, thinking that i would eventually ween myself off the antihistamine. But it did not work, and it got to the point where I was starting to use it daily. The past week I have decided to go cold turkey, as the antihistamines are causing weight gain. The itch used to be in only my scalp after many months of itching all over.

I scratched my scalp until most of my hair fell out. I am back to the itchy scalp, hair loss, and some flare-ups with itching over my body too. I am determined to try some of the natural remedies to relieve the scalp itch, but to never take antihistamines from OTC again. This has been a nightmare for me, but the weight gain is all too depressing and I feel that I must get off the drug in order to get back to my normal weight and size.

Just wanted to share our story in case it helps someone else.

My almost 8-yo got itchy hives 2days after stopping cetirizine.....I gave her Allegra, things got better, then that ran out, so back to cetirizine. Forgot a dose once so decided to stay off and see how her allergies were. 2 days later, itchy hives....on night 3 she woke up from the itching. Now a week after stopping the C, she is better at nite and thru the day but when she goes out int the cold it comes right back immediately. It settles after a while and we are just gonna ride the storm and avoid Zyrtec and cetirizine like the plague.

Two times, I also had a more rare and undocumented sort of problem from cetirizine. 2 weeks after starting it, I got bouts of what I later got diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. There is no science on this yet. But to suddenly to get UC at age 41/42, and having no sign of it since dropping C, and both times exactly 2 weeks after starting C, there's no way I'm ever touching it again.

If it weren't for this site, I'd still have my poor daughter on C, only to experience the withdrawal later and probably worse.

Thanks for this site!

It actually hurts me to read these accounts - especially the little children who have to go through this suffering! As I wrote in earlier comments, tapering off - dropping to 1/2 tablet for a couple of weeks or longer, then to 1/4 tablet for about the same length of time, then 1/4 every other day for a while, then stopping, worked well for me. Also, others have found that vitimin C is a great help while you are stopping the Citirizine. I believe cold turkey is too traumatic for the little ones... it certainly was for me!

Oh my - had no idea so many of us were having the same problems!! I'm 60 yr old female and have also been on Zyrtec for many years as well as Claritin before that as "preventive" meds for chronic rhinitis due to allergies which were mostly seasonal hay-fever from trees, grass, pollens and mold spores. Early this past Dec I got that awful gastritis flu and none of my meds seemed to stay in my system due to chronic diarrhea. After a few days of this I started itching so bad around my ankles, thighs and lower legs that I literally scratched so hard to cause bruises!! It would come in spurts in different areas eventually working its way up my back, buttocks and scalp with small bump hives.

I also suffer from anxiety disorder and panic attacks, Diabetes, hypertension and hypothyroidism. Needless to say, I've been living in HELL since being sick as ALL my meds have just been going right thru me when I had the chronic "runs". Of course the worse times have been thru the Holidays when my PCP was out on vacation and sick herself with the Flu for 3 weeks!!

My blood pressure and blood sugars have gone haywire along with all the itching, pins and needles, panic episodes, hot flashes, adrenaline rushes, etc... Good thing I don't own a gun.... It's been that bad. I finally got in to see her 2 days ago and bout had a nervous breakdown in her office. I asked her if any of these symptoms could be from Zyrtec withdrawal and she said she didn't think so but if I was doing ok with the allergy symptoms, to just stay off of it which I have now since around Xmas. Still have random centralized itching spells but not as bad as it started out. Have an appt to see a new Endocrinologist soon so plan on talking about this with her. I will report back later and give update if anyone is interested. Thanks for this Forum and I wish you all the best in your own battles!!

I stopped taking Zyrtec due to a sinus infection and have been itching like crazy! My scalp, my arms, my neck, my legs everything. I just want to cry. Thank you to those who posted a few things to help.

It's has happened before and when I asked the pharmacist they said it was unrelated. They are so wrong and I will never take this again!!!

Thanks to this site. It contain lots of information. I started itchy foot and palm in Dec-12 and took cetirizine for 2 days, but once i stopped taking it, itching re-started. I visited GP on 5-Jan-13 and she gave cetirizine (10 mg) for 7 days, but did not tell anything about side effort or withdrawal. I took cetirizine for 7 day till 18-Jan-13. After that, itching again started, but i have not taken cetirizine again. I remember, eczema cream is helpful. Crazy itching occurs 3-4 in a days and I have to scratch it.

I am planning few things.
1. cold bath twice a day
2. eczema cream 2 times a day
3. lots of water.
4. vitamin C

Will keep you posted, if condition improve.

Good luck! We're all with you! Please stay in touch and let us know how it goes!

I was having a lot of itching (I was not on any medication then) & was advised to take "Levocetirizine" the relief came very quickly, but it lasted only for a few days (typically 3 to 4) and I continued taking this drug for more than last 6 months but not on daily basis. I take a pill 5 mg and it gives me relief for a few days. then again the itching starts. So I take the pill again. Should I stop taking this drug for 10-15 days & I will get rid of this itching ?

Since we are not professionals on this page, we probably should not try to answer that question, but read through some of the comments and you may find some good ideas about how to help reduce the severity of the itching, on or off of drugs. Good luck! Let us know how you are doing.

I am so glad I'm not the only one! I've been taking it since about 2001 for my allergies, and on occasion I have run out. I just thought it was my allergies coming back to haunt me! I don't start out with severe itching, it just gets progressively worse over a day or two, until I can take another dose. It starts out on my back and travels down my sides and into my arms, before overtaking my trunk and face. This last time it was so bad, I had to take two Benedryl just to relieve the itching enough so I could go to sleep. It was like the itch was deep in my skin, and it made me feel restless and twitchy. Once I got back on it, I was fine within an hour. Unfortunately, Zyrtec seems to be the only thing that gives me relief from my allergies. :(

After weaning off of Seroquel (which has an antihistamine base apparently as I had the same issue as I'm having with the allergy pills), I had been taking Zyrtec for the past year or so for allergies, and with both get the unbearable itch. Not wanting to deal anymore, I've decided to wean off, dropping from daily pills to a half pill every 48hrs. I'm 32yrs old, and DO NOT plan on going through this for the next 30 years....

Personally, a blend of supplements (Vitamin C, Fish Oil), Chamomile Tea-to help settle me at night, LOTS of water, Gold Bond Anti-Itch cream seem to really help. Minor flare ups, but compared to how bad it gets, I'll take it. Oh, not sure if it correlates, but I'm on Migrelief for my migraines, and with all combined.

For those going through the anxiety portion, I can't tell you how important it is that you see a doctor or therapist, especially in the middle of it all.

I took the generic form of Claritin daily for a few years. Recently, I decided to stop taking it in an effort to achieve a healthier lifestyle, overall, and it took me about 5 days to realize what was going on. The severe bouts of itching - primarily in my hands and feet were torturous. I was about to lose my mind, when it finally occurred to me that the itching might be related to my stopping the loratadine and did some online research. Finding this info - I ran to the cupboard and took another pill and felt better very quickly.

I want to wean myself off of this. Does anyone have a success story regarding timing to report? I am planning on continuing one pill a day for the next week, then going to 1/2 a pill a day for several weeks, then down to 1/4 pill for several weeks. I never want to experience this awful itching again. I would appreciate any information on weaning. I don't want to take this pill forever, and wish now that I had never started.

That is precisely the way I weaned myself off of Ceterizine: 1 to 1/2 to 1/4, spaced out over perhaps about three weeks per dosage size. I did it very slowly, as my system had already gone through much stress and I wanted to avoid more. It worked. Best of luck - hang in and stay in touch. We have all been where you are!

I am in the middle of tapering off of Zyrtec. I've known from personal experience that going off Zyrtec resulted in itchiness but I've never had success in stopping before.

My method this time is to stop taking Zyrtec cold turkey and use Benadryl and taper off that. I started at 25mg every 12 hours but it did not control the itching enough. I increased the dosage to 25mg every 8 hours and that was effective.

After about four days, I've cut the dose by 12.5mg. So one pill (25mg) before bed, half a pill (12.5mg) in the morning, another half around lunch, and another half around dinner, and then restart the cycle with 25mg before bed.

I plan to do this for a couple of days and then I will reduce dosage again by 12.5mg, which is basically one Benadryl every 12 hours like I tried at the beginning.

After using Alegra daily for about a month, I stopped. Several days later I began to itch and have red splotches all over my body including itchy eyes. I took an Alegra about 2 hours ago and already the itching is receding. It occurred to me that antihistamine rebounding might be possible so, I checked the internet and found this site.

You might want to try some of the ideas in this thread if the itching continues. I tapered slowly and that worked for me... others have had good results from vitamin C - Good luck!!!

I'm in the same boat too. Been taking it for about 14 years, since I was 16. For the last month or so I've been weaning down. 1/2 a tablet every day for a few weeks, then 1/2 tablet every second day. I'm now on 1/4 tablet every second day. Itching starts about 24 hours after the last tablet, but I can push through to the 48 hours before taking another 1/4. Will try the vitamin C and other remedies mentioned here. I too told my doctor and he said he never heard of it. Maybe I should tell him to google it... :-)

Thank heavens that I have found this site. I've been on 10 mg of Zyrtec/cetirizine for several years because of an allergy to dust mites and also seasonal allergies.

For at least a year, I've been having bouts of itching on and off, mostly at night, for which I use Eucerin calming cream, which usually helps but not always. The itching is mainly on my lower legs and feet, but other times it can be anywhere. I take Benadryl when it's really unbearable.

For the past 2 months, I've suffered from insomnia and debilitating headaches, for which I've found nothing that gives me any relief. Even ibuprofen or acetaminophen don't help with the headaches, nor do migraine meds. I've had test after test done by my doctor, trying to rule out possible causes, and everything comes back normal.

I wonder if my body has just been telling me it's time to quit cetirizine, as it appears I've been suffering from withdrawal symptoms even while still taking it. I have been miserable long enough to know I won't go cold turkey, so I'm going to try to step down, & it's wonderful to have all the other suggestions to try if the itching continues. Good luck to everyone! It's so nice to know I'm not crazy!

lI know that feeling... Wow! I'm not crazy! Others have been here/are here now! Take it slowly, taper off, try vitamin C, I like Aveeno lotions for some relief too. Hang in - I got off that stuff, you can too. If only doctors could be educated about the side effects and after effects of the meds they casually dispense!

Ok, I posted about a month ago, still tapering off. Its definitely the way to go (rather than cold turkey). I reached a point where I was taking 1/4 tablet every 2 days, but the last 12 hours of each 2-day period were a nightmare.

Instead, I take it every 24 hours, but just reduce the amount. So instead of 1/4 tab every 48 hours, take 1/8 of a tab every 24 hours. Last week I reduced it to a few tiny crumbs of a zyrtec tablet every morning, about 1/16th of a tablet (Thats 1 tablet every two weeks!).

I've crushed a tablet up between two spoons, and tried to divide up the resulting powder into 16. Pretty hard to do. now I just lick my finger and dab it in the powder and take a few particles of the tablet every morning. I'm still reducing it every few days. I'm probably at about 1/20 of a tablet now.

I know it seems a bit extreme, but if I stopped cold turkey, even from 1/8 of a tablet to nothing, I started itching all over so much it was unbearable.

Just keep taking less and less until you're taking a couple of tiny crumbs, then one crumb, then 1/2 a crumb (!!), then nothing. I hope to be off it completely within the next 4 - 6 weeks.

Way to go! I really believe that trying to go cold turkey is cruel and unusual self-punishment! We'll all be cheering for you!

I searched for 'cetirizine withdrawal' after running out of the drug, I decided that I no longer want to be dependent on something like that, not my idea of medicine. I'm very healthy, an athlete with a healthy diet and because I have been feeling great lately - partially thanks to the hemp seed oil supplements I take daily, I decided to have a go withdrawing from cetirizine.

This was a risk for me as I have in the past experienced hayfever symptoms so severe that it's like having a cold virus - with unstoppable sneezing and nose dripping - episodes would last for up to 48 hours (even after sleeping), be totally exhausting, and even taking 2 x cetirizine after symptoms developed didn't help. Another reason to get off cetirizine was because I have also had symptoms despite taking it.

I experienced a period of anxiety due to psychological factors and I assumed the nausea I had started feeling was a result of it, even though it stuck for longer, now I'm not so sure. Then, while sleeping I realized that my scalp was itchy and that scratching it had left flakes on my pillow, I immediately washed my hair again since this is very abnormal for me to experience these days (I use scalp treatment shampoo). I've also had extreme itching on day 2, forehead hives, scalp doesn't feel right still, and only now realize that the unbearable itching that ruined my life a couple of years ago might have been related to variable use of cetirizine. The only thing that is giving me the courage to continue withdrawing is having a good supply of hemp seed oil capsules, which I think is making this bearable for me at the moment due to its inflammation-balancing properties, I highly recommend it for everyone.

Hi All,

Nice to know that I m not alone with same set of symptoms. My Body stats itching crazy all over whenever i delay to consume Citrizine HCL (Alday) once in every 3 days from past 10 to 12 Years. I thought I was using Citrizine HCL to calm down my itchiness. But I didn't know that the consumption of CHCL took me to this stage of craziness.

I have read all the above posts! But would like know whether anybody succeeded in 100% withdrawal of CHCL so far? If so, how did you achieve it? Please share your story!


Great if that help you! Good luck - it's wonderful once we're off that stuff!

Yes... I have totally withdrawn from Citirizine. It took me several weeks, as I cut back to 1/2 tablet for about 3-4 weeks, then 1/4 tablet for several more weeks, and then stopped, with no effect. Now I just itch or sneeze from irritants, not from the drug. Good luck!!

Going off Zyrtec cold turkey, I had intense itching for 5 days or more, bad insomnia, and bad anxiety. I went back on this drug, because I couldn't handle the insomnia. Going to an allergist to see if I can wean off this drug and maybe take something else or nothing?

I have been taking levocetirizine for several years because of chronic sinus problems. As I had a sinus infection, and was prescribed antibiotics, I stopped taking the levocetrizine to enable the sinuses to clear. Indeed they are clearing, I am sneezing a lot! I stopped taking levocetirizine on a Friday. By Sunday evening the itch had started.

On Monday it was intense so I google side effects, concerned it could be the antibiotic (I am allergic to some) and came across this site which reassured me. The itching is unlike anything else as it concentrates on the palm of the hands and the sole of the feet and comes in waves. It got so bad that I ended up with a massive bruise the length of my thighs from scratching/rubbing.

The general body itch is now, on the Friday, much better. The hands and feet are still burning/itching but it is better. I found that wearing only natural fibres helped as well as keeping busy of course. Very tired though from all this prancing about! Also bathing in tea, an old remedy I used when I got hives or itchy eyes (apply cotton pads soaked in cold super strong tea).

I hope things are improving even more by now? Less prancing? Time does take care of the itch, but it can be pretty tough. Sending good thoughts!

Just checking in. Been off it 24 days now.

When I started it was hell, although bearable, knowing it was going to be finite. It peaked about 3 days after I took my last zyrtec and continued like that for a little over a week. After that it tapered off a bit, slowly getting better each day until I felt I was even forgetting about it as I didn't get any itching much anymore. However, after about 19-20 days, its gone back to the way it was on day 6 or 7. I really have no idea why, but it's been like this for a few days now. Pretty annoyed, as I thought it was over. I will continue to not take it though and see how it goes.

Anyone else experience a "second-wind" of itching :-/

Yikes! Sorry to hear that, That is such a strong drug, built up in your system over time, it may have some sort of timed-release effect? I would assume it will again subside, and maybe recur now and then, more briefly each time. I know some other drugs can act like that. I would think the important thing is to not start taking it again when the itching comes back, if you can possibly stand it, or take one and then taper off again... Good luck!!!

I started taking citirizine (twice a day -at my gps suggestion) about 12 mths ago due to severe hives and food allergies. As with many of you on this site I have allergy tests this week, so stopped taking it 2 days ago. I haven't had itching any worse than it used to be before I started taking citirizine but last night was horrible. Every part of me ached to the point I had trouble moving, I was uncontrollably shivering and unable to get warm. I was faint and nauseous. I've suffered shock before and this felt the same. Today I'm much better - just a bit of an upset stomach. Has anyone else had this reaction?

Oh gosh... that's a terrible reaction! I certainly do hope you are doing better now! Stay in touch with this group!

I am avoiding cetirizine this summer. So far loratadine seems to be doing the trick. I hope there's no adverse reaction getting off this at the end of the summer.

If there is a reaction when you come off of Loratadine you can taper off... works really well! Good luck!

I too stopped taking generic Zyrtec for an allergy test on June 18. Today is the 29 so about 1 1/2 weeks. Still a little itchy. But much better. I use ice packs!!! They really work for me! Vit C also seems to help & unscented natural lotion a little.

I've read everyone's posts but I haven't really seen much on what to do/take that's natural to help with allergy symptoms. Exercise seems to work but I can't do that all day. I'm on 3 other medications for asthma/allergies: advair, nasonex, & singular. I'd love to ween off these as well this summer. I'd love any advice! Thanks group!

I have good news guys, I have been taking Zyrtec daily (occasionally missing a day) since I was 13. I am now 23 and for years and years I've been trying to stop taking the stuff to no avail, because I started noticing how miserable I felt if I went about 42 hours without taking one.

What those of you who haven't been taking Zyrtec regularly for years don't understand is the itching caused by missing a pill is INFINITELY worse than any itching prior to starting zyrtec. I actually started Zyrtec as part of a regimen to help my asthma and had no itching problems to speak of. I naturally grew out of asthma but I am still taking these stupid Zyrtec pills solely because I can't stop.

I never even itched before starting them but suddenly I was not able to go 2 days without a pill since age 13. I've heard many people that quit for 10-12 days and the itching only got worse, many of whom couldn't take it and started taking the pills again, so I decided I needed a good strategy.

The strategy I've used is cutting pills in half and going down to half a pill EVERY OTHER DAY for about a month or two. If you have been mostly sticking to 1 pill every single day you may need to take 1/2 every day for a week or so to prep.

When you have gotten down to 1/2 pill every other day and are mostly itch free (2 days seems to be the barrier usually for itching) move to 1/4 a pill every other day. Do this for about a month. The symptoms do not seem any different, but if you try to quit symptoms will start to decrease after just 2 days (4 days since taking last 1/4 pill).

The itching in these 2 days or so is only slightly better than quitting from 1/2 pills or whole pills, but 2 days is infinitely better than 14+, trust me.

This plan takes 2/3 months or so to do, but the suffering during this 2/3 months is virtually 0 if you stick to the plan. I'd recommend grabbing a 12 ct Zyrtec bottle when you start this plan, take 8 pills in half-pill form (32 days worth), and 4 in quarter-pill form (32 days worth).

By the time you run out it's quitting time. This way it will be easier to avoid the temptation of taking another one to ease the itching on that 3rd/4th day after you quit because you won't have any spares.

I agree that exercise seems to help, so maybe plan to take that last 1/4 pill on a Wednesday and stay very active that weekend. Go running or biking or something like that if possible. It will keep your mind off of the itching while you're doing it and seems to help for a while after as well. Good luck and God Bless

Exactly what I did ! One half for about a month, 1/4 for about as long... it worked perfectly. However, I had not been on the stuff for as long as you, so I think yours is an even better recommendation. Thanks so much for sharing - these strategies can save folks' sanity! Well done!!

Hi guys, first of all let me thank you for your posts. After many tries to wean off this thing I finally found this site.

It seems there are only two types of quitting this drug: tapering off slowly or replacing with Loratadine. I chose the second option about 3 months ago.

After reading this whole thread I understood the cause of itching and I quit taking Zodac immediately. My brother tends to use Loratadine occassionally so I decided to `lend` some pills from him :)

I took them for about 6 days (1 pill per day) and didn`t experience any itching whatsoever. It worked like a charm. Then I decided to stop taking it but I had always one `spare` pill with me everywhere I went in case the itching would be unbearable. There was some itching from time to time and also the hives but I was very strong minded and prepared to undergo whatever it would take. I didn`t have to use the spare one anymore.

Now I`m clean and happy :) Your advices encouraged me to overcome this bloody process. Thank you once again and I wish a good luck to `beginners` on their successful way..

Well done! It's great to hear happy endings. Congratulations on you victory over this persistent drug!

Just wanted to share my experience here, too. I am glad that I found this, as it helped prepare me to get off the drug. It took about 17 days, the first 2 weeks were the most unbearable itching I could imagine. I slathered cortisone lotion on twice a day and that helped a bit. But, no kidding, it was rough! but I hung in there and have now had 3 no itch days in a row. thank goodness.

Best of luck to all

Yea! Well Done!! It is rough - unbelievably rough! But we've done it! Pass the word!

I was sitting at my desk this morning when my lips and tongue started to itch. Then the palm of my right hand, then my legs, scalp, ears....Aaaaagh! I have been taking Claritin or Zyrtec daily for years. I got busy and didn't refill my pill box this week, so I haven't had a Zyrtec since Monday. Four days for the itchies to start.

If I hadn't seen a People's Pharmacy article in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago that covered Zyrtec withdrawal, I'd have thought I was having a severe allergic reaction to ... something? I was planning to stop at the drugstore on my way home from work and get some Claritin, but it sounds like I'll run into the same problems with that drug. Looks like I'm going to start weaning myself off of it instead. So glad I found this site - thanks for all the helpful tips.

What newspaper was that article published in? I'm glad it was! The more this information gets out there the better for many of us! Weaning off gradually has worked for many us. Good luck!

I started taking 5 mg. (1/2 a Zyrtec) ten days ago. I discontinued taking the Zyrtec three days ago because it didn't make me feel very well. Since I stopped taking it, I have an itchy scalp, ears, neck and face. I couldn't believe that this was caused by Zyrtec until I Googled my symptoms. This product is horrible to withdraw from. The withdrawal is far worse than my original allergy symptoms!!! I am hoping that the itching goes away after two or three weeks. 1/2 of a Zyrtec for one week and this is what happens--UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Wow... that is unbelievable! Since most people, including me, took it for a longer time I had np idea it would get a hook into you after such a low dose for so short a time! That is scary stuff! The itching will stop eventually... hang in there!

I am so happy to have found this site! I have taken benadryl for about 13 years and have gotten up to about 100-125 mg at night just to breathe. I ran out of benadryl last week and thought I was going only going to have the allergy/breathing/sneezing/insomnia problems associated with my not taking it. I began itching horribly on my face first, then my scalp, then my whole body. I didn't associate it with my not taking benadryl at first, but thought about it today.

I will be going to the store today and purchasing more benedryl, but wondered are there any negative side effects of my staying on it. I will start out with 50 mg today to see if that will help. If so, I may have to take 100 mg to stop the itching and slowly drop it back. I pray for all who are going through this!!!!! This itching is unreal!!!!!

I was on Benadryl for about as long and really thought I would go mad from the itching when I stopped. I did not comprehend what was happening - unlike you - and went to an allergist. He put me on Zyrtec.

When I tried to get of that and the itching started again I realized what it was, and tapered off slowly, which worked. I don't know what the effects of staying on these things forever would be, but my thinking is, if you ever do have to stop for any reason you might not have the chance to taper off and would have to suffer that itching for ages... better to do it slowly and intentionally I believe! Good luck! Hang in there!!!

My husband was on Allegra for about 5 years, initially he was taking it for allergy related problems like stuffed nose and watery eyes, but after taking the med for a couple months he began to have itchy skin, at the time he didn't realize it was because he forgot to take Allegra and the side affect started to show, so he took it everyday faithfully.

This year he began to feel brainfog, unable to concentrate, sensitive to cold/hot, joint aches plus occasionally itchy skin with bumps and welts. We decided to google the med and found out the med was the culprit!

So three weeks ago he stopped the med completely, the first week he was in hell, then it tapered off week after week. Now is the third week and he is vry close to itch free! All the side affects from Allegra are gone too! He also went for wheatgrass tablet for his pollen allergy, which had cured his allergy and mine In 3 weeks!

So happy we will never see another bottle of Allegra in our cabinet and can live a life without poisonous meds! (My husband also went gluten free for a yr now, he was diagnosed with Graves disease for 4 yrs, dr kept telling him to kill his thyroid, by completely avoiding gluten, his hyperthyroid is also cured without medicine)

Just a followup to my post of 3 years ago. After reading the horror stories here I knew I'd not go back on Zyrtec... and wondered if Claritin would help. It did. So I'm wondering if instead of straight tapering of one drug, it can be done by tapering PLUS alternating Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra?

Just a thought.

I tried to avoid Zyrtec after suffering from the intense withdrawal itching two years ago. However, last summer when I was suffering from a bad case of hives, the doctor said that Zyrtec is much better for treating hives; that Claritin is not helpful for this. Therefore with great reluctance I spent a month on Zyrtec. I tapered off over two to three weeks and had only mild itching for 3-4 days when I stopped completely.

Whew.... going back on Zyrtec must have been scary! Good for you, getting off again as soon as possible. I think knowing that it's possible to do this in case of serious need is really important! I know I am very glad to know ... thank you!

Hi everyone, I'm so glad I've found this website and thread.

I've been taking certirizine to keep my allergies at bay (and it has worked very well for me), for a few years now.

I forgot to pick up a new packet and didn't have a tablet yesterday and today. Today I have felt truly awful, nausea, dizzyness, headache, very anxious and generally dreadful.

I thought it might be stress related as having a stressful time at the moment, but I've now had my tablet and I feel fine.

Like you all say, something should be said on the patient information leaflet.

I think one of the great things about this thread is it lets you know how to taper off this drug if/when you want to stop taking it! But it was a life saver for me to know that others have been through this hell and survived it. No doctor would believe me... but everyone one here did! :-)

Has gone away? If so how long before you stopped itchng?

It's different for everyone, depending on how long your were on it, if you tapered off or stopped cold turkey, etc. It does take time. Hang in there!!

I have also been experiencing the mind blowing itching related to Zyrtec withdrawal. I have been trying one 25mg of benadryl at night so I can sleep and in an effort to slow down the effects of the withdrawal. The thing that really upsets me is that so far none of the doctors or pharmacists I talked with seem to have ever heard of this syndrome. Medically, they have no explanation for it, or any idea how to help. One pharmacist says it may be due to the body depending on the antihistamines for so long, that it is over sensitive to any encounter with allergens. I plan to scale down the benadryl slowly as symptoms decrease. On day six now...It has been a long and torturous week.

I hear you! It sure was long and it was torture... but it did pass. No doc I asked had ever heard of this - or at least none would admit it. Once in a great while I take a Benedryl now, if I am very allergic to something... mostly I avoid it and all others like the plague! Hang in there and good luck!!

Zyrtec withdrawal is a nightmare! I asked three pharmacists & they've never heard of it. I was off it for three days and had violent itching all over my body & especially my scalp. I've switched to Claritan & will try to wean off it slowly. I never want to take Zyrtec again! It was unbearable!

My husband (14 years on Zyrtec) and I (3 weeks) are both trying to not take any more Zyrtec. Recently I posted the relief from itching within 5 minutes by taking 1 teaspoon of turmeric mixed with juice of one lemon, well we have also discovered juice of one lemon by itself gives amazing relief to the itching also and I'm quite happy to do this 4 to 5 times a day, so stock up on lemons and go for it!!!!!!!! and always keep one in the car or one in your bag!!!

Well, all I can say is me too! 1/2 pill for 2 weeks -- only a slight bit of itching, but got through OK. 1/4 pill for about 2 weeks, with again only a bit of itching. Some cream and concentrating on not scratching. Now totally off for three days, and the itching is bad. Having to take benedryl to manage (1/2 pills, as needed, but no more than 50mg/day so far).

The good news is that I can report that the 1/2 dose and then 1/4 dose was OK in the sense that I survived without the debilitating itching. So YES the weening process works. It's the old saying "that last step is a doozie" is where I'm stuck now.

I'm considering the Zantac idea -- need to read up on that. I can't see any harm in trying.

I plan on doing some research on mode of action for benedryl vs Zyrtec. Masking the effect of withdrawal by taking a med on exactly the same targeted biochemical pathway seems self-defeating.

Then: What happens next spring for allergy season? Benedryl makes me too sleepy. I may try claritin, but (as others have said) only as necessary!!

I think... with qualms... that I would be willing to mask that vicious withdrawal with another drug, if the withdrawal from the 2nd drug was not expected to be worse. Pity to have to make choices that this! Tapering worked for me, but I was fortunate. Claritin takes the edge off when I have allergies now. I tried the lemons as mentioned above - somewhat resembled a fruit salad, as the pulp stuck here and there... FAIL! :-)

Update: Day 7 without Zyrtec. Posting with some details below but the bottom line is that things got worse before they started to get better.

I had gone 1/2 pills for two weeks, then 1/4 pills for two weeks, then stopped altogether on Christmas day. The itching had been quite bad and seemed to get worse over the first 3 days. Tried to manage with benedryl (12.5mg doses) as best possible, but needed 25mg dose before bed. On day 4, I went to drug store and bought Zantac (per a post above) and the generic itch gel (equiv. to 'Calamine Clear').

The Zantac really does work - has a mild antihistamine effect. Taking 75mg doses (1/2 of the extra strength pills), which allowed me 4 doses/day. It would never work to treat my own acute allergies, but it seems to take the edge off the itching. However, after a few days on Zantac, I started getting heartburn, which went away the next day after I cut dose back to 75 twice-a-day. The itch gel helped with flare-up areas, which seemed to appear randomly in patches about 2 inches diameter - more like concentrated hives or welts. Any time these appeared, I took my next 12.5mg benedryl dose, right after putting on the gel. Gel kicks in quickly, and then the pills takeover -- at least that's my theory.

On the fourth night, I woke up at 3am because of the itching. It was bad! Itching isn't the right description. It felt like everything below my waist was on fire. 50mg benedryl and slathering the worst spots with the itch gel. Fell asleep after 2 hours of laying there and willing myself not to itch. Miserable. But that seemed to be the worst moment of the entire process.

Every day since has been incrementally better. I have managed today with just one 12.5mg benedryl dose (and it's 8pm now). I'll take 25mg at bedtime. Today no Zantac either. The borderline heartburn started again -- figured better to get of the Zantac sooner rather than later. At rate things are improving, hoping I won't need a daytime dose at all tomorrow.

The weaning process continues... I am off Zyrtec forever, and it seems like I'll be able to stop the benedryl dosing pretty soon.

did you drink the squeezed juice of 1 or 2 lemons. shouldn't be any pulp here and there?

Your persistence is amazing and heroic! Also, very innovative, using various meds, etc., to combat the itch. It has been proven, so I have read, that the 1st 3 days of any withdrawal are the very worse, the 1st 3 weeks are decreasingly bad, and the 1st 3 months will pretty much see an end to the symptoms, with maybe some lingering flare-ups. That can be applied to any withdrawal, according to that article, and I have observed that personally. I certainly applaud you for hanging in there, and for writing about it all in detail! Please post again!

I took Zyrtec every day for over 4 years. It worked great for my cat allergy when I lived with two cats. It took over a month for the constant unbearable itching to stop. After two weeks I broke down used Benadryl for a couple of days, and that helped. It’s been a few more months and every now and then I still get an itchy spell. I recently found out that my father suffered the same withdrawal symptoms after he stopped taking Zyrtec too. I’m still allergic to the world, but I just use allergy eye drops when and a Benadryl if it’s a bad reaction. It’s better than going through Zyrtec withdrawal again.

Update: 2 full weeks off Zyrtec. Just to continue with a bit more info. Please add my voice to the others above who say the withdrawal can be done. It's not over for me, but it's in the right direction.

Thank you for the nice comments LW.

Today is day 15. As of yesterday, I managed to take only two 75mg doses of Zantac (early morning and just before dinner), which may still be helping or maybe not as a mild antihistamine. Might try skipping tomorrow, if morning itches can be ignored. But the best news is that I took just one 25mg benedryl just before bed, mostly to make sure I sleep through the night without itchies. That means NO other traditional antihistamine all day long!! Next will be trying skipping the night dose too -- but waiting until weekend, since I can't afford a sleepless night during the work week.

It is much better, but definitely not symptom-free during the day. I get bouts of itchiness in random spots, which can last 30-60 minutes. Takes a lot of concentration to not scratch them -- but the penalty for scratching is that they spread and get more intense. Very distracting during the work day, but keeping busy helps me to ignore the itch. The itch has been less every day, as long as I don't scratch. Nighttime has been most frustrating, waking up having scratched in my sleep and my skin in that area is on fire. This wake-up surprise maybe once every three nights.

The anti-itch gel helps (pramoxine), but I'm finding now that generic Aveeno is helping calm the itch too. A bit of itch is from dry skin (normal winter stuff), but the hives and welts is definitely still the withdrawal, and that is most of my problem.

It is getting better; daily progress helping me believe there is an end in sight.

To Helen and others who have commented. Please forgive me for saying that I think you have no idea of the degree of horrible itching and burning these people experience. This is not a case of taking a steroid "just for an itch." My daughter who is 32 suffered for MONTHS with this horrible burning itch that made her think she would lose her mind. The itching was inside her mouth, in her nose and ears, on the palms of her hands and the bottoms of her feet - even inside her private areas!

She felt like her skin was literally crawling off of her body - inside and out. I had to go and stay with her for two weeks to watch her babies while she took steroids, and benedryl and stayed in bed - going through these withdrawals - like a junkie trying to get off hard drugs.

She has rarely been sick a day in her life except that year when she had some mild seasonal allergies. Her doctor gave her the Zertec, and little did she know what hell she would go through trying to get off of it. So please do not scoff at these poor people who describe their suffering, and think they are just talking about a little itch. This is REAL suffering. Unless you have been through it yourself, you just can't know how horrible it is.

I'm so glad you posted this. But actually, someone who has not experienced the hell that this thrusts us into probably cannot imagine the desperation that we feel, and they are most fortunate. Your daughter was very blessed to have your help and support. Even after 3 years I can still occasionally experience flare-ups of the itching - not to that extent, but still troubling. This thread has been a real support of many of us, and continues to be. I hope your daughter is doing well. Sending her good, healing thoughts!

I have had a bit of a different experience. I am astounding to read all the posts on the itching and hives... and as a NEW user of the generic form, I have taken it every other day (12 hour version) with the "d" version and found it reminded me of taking dexatrim when I was a teenager. I lost 10 pounds, felt energetic and a bit of a "buzz". I asked my doctor if this was addictive or dangerous given the temptation to take this for other reasons. I don't have allergies but sinus that were sensitive to extreme changes in humidity or temperature.

In this extreme winter in Chicago with -25 to -45 wind chills, it has helped me with drying up the drainage. For awhile I wondered if I just forgot what it felt like to have clear sinuses that dragged me down, but now thing the drug is a bit of a "pick me up". I went on a vegetable juice fast for a week and stopped taking it completely and had no withdrawals... except for a bit of "blowback" where the drainage really resumed and my energy dropped.

I was wondering if my withdrawal is similar to when you use nasal spray and your blood vessels are constricted and when it wears off you get a bit of a bad reaction. Anyone have this? With another cold blast I took zyrtec for a couple days but now after reading the potential issues of prolonged use, I will stop now.

I stumbled on this site, searching for an answer to the incredible itching/welts I have experienced since discontinuing Benadryl. I have tried to go cold turkey, and am back on the damn things in order to function. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why there is no mention in any 'medical literature' of the risk of
getting this dermatological response to discontinuing these kind of over the counter drugs.

I was told by more than one physician that the stuff washed out of your system in 24 hours. Maybe so, but the lingering effects on the release of histamines after using this stuff for a long period of time (for me, at least, I have been using it as a sleep aid/nasal aid for many years) has been unbelievable. I can basically create welts anywhere I scratch, and I have an itching sensation that is hard to ignore. I itch in my sleep, for example, and wake up with welts. I have cut my nails, but even 'rubbing' my skin can create a redness and minor welting.

I am going back to the doctor and see if steroids will help, but finding this website has helped. At least now, I HAVE AN ANSWER TO WHAT IS GOING ON.

The only way I could get off of Zertek was to taper very very slowly. I had a double-whammy: I quit Benedryl cold turkey after years of use and had all of the symptoms you have and more... and then was put on Zertek by an allergist.

When I tried to stop that, it began all over again, and that is when I found this site. It really saved my sanity. That is when I tapered off. No doctor I have spoken to has ever known - or admitted to knowing - about the side effects of quitting. Thank God for people willing to share on here! Best of luck to you!!! I hope you'll be free of Benedryl very soon.

I have a terrible itch on back, arms, some on thighs. I have been on remron for 7 years, read side effects, which were itchie skin all over body, weening off slowly, hard drug to come off of. I take 45 mg. so will stay on 30 mg. for a month, then drop to 15mg., for maybe a little longer. I have seen a doctor, only to put me on claritan, but it did nothing. The only thing that takes itch away for longer periods, is putting aveeno oil all over itchie spots, for a few hours then wash again, and the cream is good too, also have the powder. I will not take a antihistamine. This has been going on from December 2013. I have a steriod cream, but only use it on bigger bumps.

Hi everyone,
I have had the same itchy problems as everyone else on here. I've experienced it with both zyrtec and allegra. I submitted a report to the FDA about the side effects, and I encourage other people to do the same.

I'm currently taking 1/2 an allegra daily in hopes of weaning off of it completely in the next few months.

What a good idea! I will do the same and thank you for the suggestion and the link!

I took allegra for years, and then switched to zyrtec about 7 years ago. Over the years, when I tried to stop zyrtec, immense itching EVERYWHERE -- feet, palms of hands, inside ears, throat, private areas, scalp, legs, arms, under arms -- no place was immune. I finally found this website about 6 months ago when there was a news article in the paper about withdrawal, and I googled "zyrtec withdrawal".

I have been weaning myself for 6 months and am almost completely zyrtec free. I couldn't do the cold turkey because it was publicly embarrassing. As itching would begin at hour 23, I began trying to hold off as long as I could on taking the next pill. Finally got to 36 hours, then 48, 72 hours and am now up to 4.5 days between pills. I do notice my asthma (which had disappeared for years) is recurring more often, but if it gets really bad, I take 5mg of claritin with my inhaler and all symptoms disappear. I think I'll be zyrtec free within the next 30 days, and believe me, I will never take an antihistamine on a regular basis ever again!

Hello. I'm from Portugal and for the last 10 years I am addicted to Cetirizine (Zyrtec's generic) due to the itchy withdrawal affects, as for the rest of you in this board.
The itching I've been subjected to is unbearable, UNBEARABLE! For several times I tried to stop taking Cetirizine but I just couldn't handle the horrible skin itching that seemed to get into my bones and burn my skin and eventually had to take the pill again. For those who could overcome the addiction - you are my heroes!!

I will write to Zyrtec and FDA to show my revolt as for the lack of listing the itching as a secondary effect and also to ask them for a solution to our problem. I beg all of you to do the same...

Please take the time to file a complaint with the FDA if you are unhappy with your experience with cetirazine, or you feel that withdrawal symptoms discussed on this forum should be disclosed by the manufacturer.

It takes only about 5 minutes to complete the complaint form, everything can be completed online.

Getting off of Zyrtec was horrible. Itching like nothing I have ever experienced. And where I itched there were raised marks like I had been attacked by Freddi Crugger. No lie.

I had been on it for 2yrs. But thought to myself do I really want to be on allergy medication my whole life when I just have seasonal hay fever??? No I don't. After just being off of it for two days the itching and raised scratches came even just a little scratch did it. :'-(.

Well after about 2.5 months all symptoms are gone and I feel normal again. Now when I start to have my allergy's come on I just start doing alot of cardiovascular exercise and it goes away almost completely. I don't believe in a law suit but I believe an apology and bold lettering on there packaging NEEDS TO BE DONE!

me and my son both have been on many different allergy meds due to having very bad allergies. we both have the itching when we stop any of the meds we have been on not just the zyrtec. he started back on zyrtec may 1st and he had to stop it for 3 days for allergy testing. he didn't have any issues until day 3. me on the other hand I have been taking zyrtec for 5+ years. I have to stay off mine for 5 days. I'm on day four and have done nothing but itch from head to toe. I asked the allergy Dr about this and she said it's normal from any allergy drug to cause itching due to your body is so used to having the drug and then you just stop luckily tomorrow is my testing and I will be able to take my meds tomorrow afternoon. (side note this is the ONLY allergy med that works for me and my son who have been on just about every one there is).

At least your doctor told you something about the withdrawal symptoms! Most of us have had no information at all about the potential for that terrible itching when we try to stop one of them! Hang in there... I hope the testing goes OK and that you can get relief very soon!

thank you LW testing went good and now I'm back taking my meds with no itching.

Yes the drug companies know this and they know much more stuff that they will not divulge. It's all about making money. They know you have to take the med to avoid itching. These meds poison our system and its better to explore natural means to allergy relief. The gradual step down approach is the best method to rid yourself of this drug. What has helped me with withdrawal symptoms is taking some astaxanthin daily. Google it for more info.

I agree that there is far from full disclosure. I suspect that few physicians know either, tapering worked for me, taken very gradually over many weeks. I have several sensitivities, so another supplement is not on the menu, but that might be helpful to someone. Thanks for that information!

Hi stopped have zyrtec after taking it for over 4 years like many others I had no idea of the dreadful withdrawal symptoms. I have had all the horrible side effects but now onto day 9 and the insomnia due to anxiety is my biggest issue at this stage I have only slept a few hours in the last 4 nights.

Could someone let me know if they had this side effect how long did it take to go away? even start to abate, would be heaven to sleep for even 3 hours at a time, so tired I am feeling unwell spaced out. Went to dr but she suggested I take a sleeping pill short term to fix it but don't want to do that as been doing lots of reading and looks like what ever drug we take to try and fix these issues will have other issues, don't want another rebound attack.

Once I am hopefully successfully thru this I will post my time line of symptoms and recovery, as reading other success stories has been hugely encouraging to me
Thank you very much, hope I can hang it out!! It's hell

I had terrible itching from the withdrawal. I have read that a withdrawal from any substance usually is at its most intense for the first three days, a little less severe for the next three weeks and past the worst or even finished in three months. I found this to be roughly true for me, although I am sure not everyone wold have the same result. I tried to tough it out by going cold turkey, but could not stand it. I then tried tapering off - 1/2 tablet for a few weeks as the drug came out of my system, then 1/4 tablet for a few more weeks, then stopping altogether. This worked for me, and I was able to get off of it entirely. I do wish you luck - Zyrtec is a bear to get rid of, but you can! Let us know how it goes!

I started taking Levocetirizine two years ago for seasonal allergies. My doctor never told me to just take it as needed. I had to get off the meds for a skin allergy test and 24 hours later, my body and scalp was covered with hives.

I called my allergist and she told me to take benadryl. After all the testing, my allergist said that I have auto-immune urticarai (chronic hives). She told me to just continue taking the meds. I honestly think it is taking the allergy meds for two years that caused all these. I don't know what to do.

I really do empathize with you. My terrible siege of rashes, hives and unbearable itching, followed by CFS and other horrors, began when I stopped Benedryl cold turkey with no idea what that would do.

I had been taking it for some years, to help me sleep. I was unable to function after stopping the Benedryl, so my allergist put me on Ceterizine. That gave me some relief. When I got ready to stop that, having learned about the dangers of stopping these drugs cold turkey, I tapered off over weeks... 1/2 tablet for about 2 or 3 months, 1/4 tablet for the same length of time.

That was a manageable and effective method. Maybe you would find that helpful too, if you decide to quit taking it. I really do agree with you - I believe these drugs cause the very thing they are designed to cure - at least for some of us, and the withdrawal is awful, although most doctors do not acknowledge that. Good luck! Let us know how you do!

My story is a bit complicated. I believe that the Antihistamines have damaged my sinuses and my immune system. Anyone out there with a similar experience?

Seven months ago I got a viral infection--bronchities/laryingitis. I had no sinus involvement. I was completely well before this. No allergies. No sinus problems.

Then after a month of the viral infection my nose just seemed to quit functioning. My sinuses were swollen, but no drainage. I assumed that the virus had moved into my sinuses and morphed into a sinus infection. I assumed that I had a sinus infection.

Went to Urgent Care. Diagnosed sinus infection. Prescribed antibiotics, 7 days. No improvement. (I've since learned that diagnosing sinsus infection is tricky).

Then I saw an allergist who treated me for a sinus infection with more antibiotics (course 2), a steriod nose spray (flonase), AND antihistamines--Allegra and Zrytec (Allegra doesn't work well/Zrytec makes me feel awful). Also did predisone course. My nose got worse, not better--less closed of from swelling (probably the predisone) but running nose/sinus spasms started. My face became swollen. Allergist said I might have allergies. Told him this did not act like an allergy

Tried another course of antibiotics (3rd Course). Facial swelling comes and goes Switched to Xyzal (cousin of Zrytec). Everything has made it worse.

4th course of antibiotics. Predisone AGAIN. Continued with Xyzal. Got very depressed and anxious. Crying all the time. Saw therapist. Never connected it with the Xyzal. Then I realized that the Xyzal might be causing the severe depression and anxiety in less than a month.

Next doc visit. Saw the PA instead of allergist. She did note that another patient in the practice the same day complained of the depression and anxiety from Xyzal. Told me to stop the Xyzal. I stopped it that day. My morning depression stopped the next day, but my sinus symptoms worsened.

I stopped Xyzal, but now my nose runs all the time. My sinuses in my nose closes off so I can't breath. Tried Allegra, no help.

I feel that somehow all these meds the Zrytec, Allegra, Xyzal has damaged my sinuses possibly even the antibiotics.

Had a CT scan. No sign of infection, but my middle turbinators (sinuses) have air bubbles. Apparently many people have this.

Got off the meds. I have constant postnasal drip and terrible pain in the nose on the right side.

Saw ENT. He was horrified at my allergists referral claiming that the air pockets in the sinuses were there before all these events. He said I did not need surgery. He conferred with Allergist's PA. They decided I needed allergy testing.

Had allergy testing. I am not allergic.

Then diagnosed with Vasomotor Rhinitis. Really this means is that I have a runny nose and they don't know exactly why--I react to hot/cold air, barometric pressure, and fumes from cooking of spices and onions/garlic. I am reacting to smells--espcially cooking spices, seeming to reinforce their theory. Yet I had none of this prior to the initial respiratory infection AND ALL THESE MEDICINES.

My theory is that one or more drugs has damaged my sinuses/immune system. These violent "anaphylaxis" like reaction to spicy/onion/ garlic smells never happened before. My nose is dry even though it runs. Sounds crazy.

Meanwhile the ENT and Allergist PA conferenced. They concluded I needed surgery to straigthen my deviated septum, reduce my turbinators (middle sinues) and get rid of the air pockets.

Left the phone conference totally bewildered HOW an ENT who told me not to allow anyone to do surgery was now suggesting surgery.

Meanwhile, my nose continues its wild ride of symptoms--closes off, at times when I breath in it feels like the air is super cooled like breathing super glue or some other toxin often for hours at a time. I have postnasal drip causing sleeping problems. Nothing has seemed to help.

Now I am off predisone, antibiotics, and antihistimines but nose pain and postnasal drip driving me crazy.

I was so desparate I took an Allergra. It didn't help, BUT my face swole up. SO IT IS THE ANITHISTIMINES THAT ARE CAUSING THE FACIAL SWELLING. Then I was worse, so I took a Zrytec. My sinus symptoms went away completely, but my face became MORE swollen and my eyes hurt after just one pill. All this nightmare seems caused by the medicines that were supposed to help me.

After I took the Zrytec with the facial swelling, I decided not to take anymore, but the itching you describe with just one tablet has started.

Has anyone gone for treatment of a viral/cold/sinus infection to end up much sicker because of these allergy drugs? Has it damaged immune systems?

My gosh! You poor thing! I wonder if there is another thread on this web site that would be more helpful to you? This thread is pretty much dedicated to Citirizine withdrawal. Wishing you the very best of luck!!!

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