an itchy man scratching his back

Q. After reading some of the stories on your site about Zyrtec, my summer started to make sense in retrospect.

I started Zyrtec at my doctor’s recommendation for itchy skin on my hands. But every time I would missed taking it for some reason, I would end up way worse, with full-body hives. I couldn’t understand what was happening, as I have never had allergy problems.

After I read the People’s Pharmacy article on Zyrtec, I threw my pills away. I had only taken them for three weeks, but did not escape the withdrawal hives. Day 4 was the worst, and since I had read that, I tried to be patient, and the hives did finally go away, not to return.

What a drug! And my doctor just looked at me blankly as I reported this outcome. He didn’t even answer or seem interested, and he didn’t seem to know about the withdrawal.

A. Cetirizine (Zyrtec) is an antihistamine often used to treat allergies, nasal congestion or hives. Doctors frequently recommend it as less likely to cause drowsiness than popular pills containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, for example). Nonetheless, cetirizine can also cause drowsiness.

Many visitors to PeoplesPharmacy.com have reported dreadful itching upon withdrawal from Zyrtec. Some have also reported other withdrawal symptoms. Here are a few of their reports:

“I took Zyrtec 1 at bedtime for two years for allergies. It did help with the sneezing, runny nose and congestion, but I recently decided to stop it. I did it as I would most other long-term drugs: I tapered it back. About two days after halving the dose I started itching. One minute my scalp, then my thumb, then it would move to my arm or my chest or my foot or the my face.

“The itch was constantly moving and I was scratching (which I knew was making it worse), so I really tried to ignore it. Apparently, though, I was itching in my sleep and would wake with scratch marks.

“I looked it up to see if this was common and found all these blogs. I was really angry as I’m so uncomfortable and there was nothing about this in the medical literature. I have no hives, just incredible itchiness and I don’t want to take medicine for it. Local lotions and creams don’t help.

“I called the manufacturer and was met with incredibly dumb answer center employees, who claim this is very unusual, and they really have not heard of it. I asked the last “expert” what her education was and she said a medical assistant. She was not very knowledgeable, particularly about histamine at the cellular level (Zyrtec is a type of antihistamine).”


“I’ve been taking Zyrtec for almost a year now because of my cat allergies. I grew up with a wide variety of animals and as an adult now work with them.

“My cat allergy developed when I was a teenager. My symptoms are a runny nose/marathon sneezing, itchy eyes (only if I rubbed them after petting a cat) and a sore throat. I have both psoriasis and eczema so I couldn’t really tell you if I ever develop skin itchiness because I’ve been unceasingly itchy for as long as I can remember.

“When I miss a dose of Zyrtec, my symptoms come back tenfold almost to a textbook time lapse. If I take my last dose Monday morning at 8 AM I’ll start sneezing uncontrollably by 8 PM on Tuesday. It’s miserable.

“The weirdest withdrawal symptom I have is vivid, bad dreams. I was wondering if anyone else has this happen? I can recollect every detail and I’m usually woken up by the nightmare aspects. I’ve tried googling this and it seems these dreams are a common side effect of taking Zyrtec but nothing about experiencing it only as a withdrawal symptom. I only have these dreams as the latter.”


“I used to have seasonal allergies and Zyrtec was prescribed. Although it stopped my sneezing, after awhile I realized I wasn’t hearing well at all; my hearing seemed as bad as that of my elderly parents. My doctor thought the Zyrtec might be the culprit so he prescribed Claritin instead. That worked briefly but my sneezing then became more violent so he prescribed Allegra-D. That did the trick. No sneezing and no itching, but I didn’t like the idea of being dependent on medication.

“When I read in Dr. Andrew Weil’s newsletter about the antioxidant quercetin helping with allergies I immediately got some. I have taken it every day along with vitamin C for several years now and I no longer have seasonal allergies. I can even be around cats! I carry some Allegra with me when traveling just in case something sets me off, but I am a great fan of quercetin and have recommended it to a lot of people.

“By the way, we learned that mature men should not take decongestants. If allergy meds are needed, men should take plain Allegra, not Allegra-D or other decongestants. Decongestants can cause an enlarged prostate to block the flow of urine so catheterization is needed. When that happened to my husband, every doctor who saw him in the emergency room and the urologist afterward asked if he had taken decongestants! We had never heard that before.”


The caveat on decongestants for men with enlarged prostate glands is a serious one that everyone should heed. Having a catheter inserted in the emergency room is no picnic!

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  1. SeasonalAllergies
    Reply

    Hmm. This is interesting. I take dissolvable Zyrtec tablets for about 1/2-3/4 of the year for my pollen allergies, and when winter comes along and I stop, I have never experienced withdrawal.
    I mean, I might just not notice it if I was itchy, though. As an extremely hot temperature-sensitive person I tend to itch a lot, especially in the heat. When winter comes around the heater is turned on, and sometimes rooms will escalate to 80 degrees F or so.
    Besides, I don’t have any other 24-hour allergy medications. It’s not even a pain to eat. (A pain to remember to eat, though.)

  2. Pamela
    North Carolina
    Reply

    My husband kept telling me you’re addicted to zyrtec. Symptoms come like clock work, time to take another pill. Recently I decided not to take due to HBP issue. Two days in the headache and itching had started. Nothing has stopped the headaches. Itching is as described; heard, back, palms. I could not figure it out till I found this site. Been taking Zyrtec for 8 straight years! Not certain what I am going to do to alleviate sinus symptoms. Just glad to know I am not the only one. Hope we all recover from this medication.

  3. Cynthia
    Georgia
    Reply

    Day 3 with a half dose (.5). The itching is not so bad yet but I’m sure it is going to be strong. Yesterday I had the worst migraine of my life! It was literally blinding! I’ve been on Zyrtec for 25 years and am 61. I have chosen to wean my self off rather than cold turkey frankly because of my age and not wanting to take days off work. I read some of the comments so I have ordered the Querticin Seabreeze, extra Vitamin C, and am ready for battle to rid myself of this poison! Over the yrs I have developed ringing in my ears and I think it is due to the daily 10mg of Zyrtec I was prescribed years ago. I plan to take .5 for 2-4 weeks and wean off. As for the posts about doctors acting like they never heard of this withdrawal, that is because they prescribe this drug, get “perks” for prescribing it! Pharmaceutical companies are running the country. The best way to combat it is to hit them where it hurts, in the pocket! I am going to now research to see if there are any Class action suits against the makers of this drug. I have spent thousands on this drug for 25 years and have probably done irrepairable damage to my body. This drug needs to be taken off the market like its predecessor, Seldane! I will follow up with an update on my withdrawal process and any information on Class action suits.

  4. Lee
    Santa Maria, Ca
    Reply

    I am writing to find out if anyone has experienced the effects of Zyrtec as my 91 year old dad. My father has hypothyroidism and besides being prescribed Lavothyroxin, the doctor suggested giving him half a Zyrtec tablet to help him with itching. Approximately 6 hours after giving him the Zyrtec he went into an “altered state”. He mumbles, the hallucinations are getting worse and he nor my family have had any sleep now going into the third full day. His eyes are closed, but he is constantly carrying on conversations. It’s like he is living in the past because he sees and talks to people who have passed on. He sees and feels insects all over him and now cannot even stand up on his own. It is a living hell. My father never had this going on before he took the Zyrtec. I feel responsible for this because I should have looked up the potential side effects. His body is too sensitive for new medications.

  5. Tammy
    Oklahoma
    Reply

    I was on zyrtec or allegra for years for seasonal allergies that turned into sinusitis without meds. Whenever I didn’t have zyrtec for 2-3 days, I itched horribly. A nurse practitioner I worked with told me it was withdrawal from zyrtec. I tried using allegra after that. I had had hives off and on for years related to stress; panic attacks before that. It took 75mg benadryl to take the edge off and stop hives. Several years ago the hives stopped and have become small thick blisters that itch horribly, causing uncontrollable itching. I now have ugly patches of thick nasty-feeling skin on my arms. If I cover them with bandaids and ointment for 1-2 days, they get a little better. It’s hard being a nurse and having these ugly looking scabby places on your arms. People think you’re contagious. I’m now wondering if the blisters and itching have something to do with stopping zyrtec.

  6. Allie
    New York
    Reply

    I have always had allergies. I’ve tried every allergy pill there is, and Xyzal has worked the best for me. I’ve been taking 10mg for almost two years now along with weekly allergy shots. My symptoms have improved exponentially with the shots, so I decided to stop taking Xyzal. Some days I would take 1 pill rather than 2. Sometimes I would skip a few days between pills.

    That’s when the itching started. At first I thought it was Eczema. I love my dermatologist, and she’s tried every treatment on me. I’m actually about to start in-home injections because my skin has become so inflamed and itchy. It’s constant. I wake up bleeding. It hurts to shower.

    However, I am very confident that this is all related to withdrawing from Xyzal. I can go 3 days without taking it, but then the itching is so severe (especially in my hands and feet) that I relent and take another pill. I’m going to start tracking my dosage and symptoms and spread it out as far as I can. I’m going to also start taking 1/2 pills rather than the complete dosage.

    Has anyone has any success with taking natural histamines to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms?

    Also does anyone know if a lawsuit has been pursued? I think its deplorable that this pill is given out and no one is made aware of the symptoms that follow.

    • Allie
      Reply

      I am now 6 days in and have decided to never take this pill again. I ordered Quercetin and Vitamin C and am going to begin a regiment of that to help combat the itching. The itching is generalized now (it at first was concentrated on my hands, scalp, upper back, and neck) and I know people don’t want to hear this because if you’re like me you’re hoping for some good news, but the itching is still bad. It’s not unbearable but definitely bad. From what I’ve been reading online, my H1 receptors are completely out of wack because the Levocetirizine has been stopping the production of Histamine for years. I’ve read literally every comment on every post about this and it seems like it takes most people about 2-3 weeks for the itching to subside and your body to be back to normal. I will update!

      • Allie
        Reply

        Just wanted to post a final update…
        I am now about a month in, and the withdrawal symptoms are almost all gone! The first two weeks were definitely the worst. My doctor prescribed Prednisone for me for about a week, and that helped manage the symptoms dramatically. I don’t know how I would have done it without it. I also took Quercetin, Vitamin C, and Fish Oil pills daily.

        I still get occasional itching in my hands and feet but its not nearly as constant.
        I have always had terrible dermatitis, so I have itchy skin, but its not “in my bones” like it was with the withdrawal from taking zyrtec/xyzal.

        For anyone going through this…stick with it! I know it’s awful right now but it truly does get better. My allergies are nowhere near as bad as they once were while taking the medicine. I tell everyone I talk to about this experience so no one else needs to go through it. I will never take another pill.

      • Mitchell
        Columbus,OH
        Reply

        Any update? I quit Zyrtec after taking it for probably 18 years, and of course am experiencing symptoms.

  7. Justin
    Los Angele
    Reply

    This website has been a lifesaver. I was prescribed Zyrtec in my early teens and have been taking it for well over a decade. Every time I miss a dosage, my body becomes itchy all over – of course, I figured that without the “medicine” allergies could easily attack me. So I’d pop a pill and have near-immediate relief.

    I’m 8 days into not taking the pill… I’ve lost almost 10 lbs, I’m getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and the itchiness comes and goes in waves. Having discovered now what’s really happening, that the itchiness is actually withdrawal, I am so freaking angry.

    It is great to have a place to commiserate, but does anybody know if we can DO something about this? I hate that I was prescribed this as a kid and am now dealing with these horrible side effects as an adult. And it just seems wrong that others are taking this every day with no warning of what could possibly happen to them or their children.

    Justin

  8. Robert Anthony Eytalis
    Idaho
    Reply

    One week off of Zyrtec. Still itching all over. Got some anti-itch topical ointment (No Zyrtec) that helped a little, in particular sensitive areas. Avoid taking this drug. You can use nasal meds for the allergy symptoms. Let’s see how much longer this lasts. Uggh!

  9. Free At Last
    Midwest
    Reply

    Took this every day for five years. I skipped a day or two as an experiment, and the itching started almost immediately. Found this site and was happy to have outside confirmation that I wasn’t crazy, but horrified by the stories of tapering off over the course of six months, people scratching their skin off, etc.

    Finally took the plunge, and if you’re worried, YES, the itching can be brutal, but you can do it. It wasn’t constant, but it would come and go in waves. The palms of my hands and the bottoms of my feet were the worst. For the palms of my hands, I found that it helped to keep them covered– for some reason I did this in the summer, but I carried a sweater around and put my hands inside it when it got too bad. Once at a bar I had to take my shoes off and press my feet to the concrete floor just for some relief. But I tried to keep calm, not panic, breathe deeply and remember that it was just a wave that would pass, and stay positive and focus on how happy I was that I was making the choice to get off this drug. I also kept a couple pills on me constantly, so I would know that I COULD take it if things got really bad. But I never did! I itched off and on really, really badly for well over a month. I was still occasionally getting it around two months. But I quit in July and I feel great now. I also felt more alert and lost a little bit of weight immediately after quitting. I sneeze a lot now but who cares. I am happy every day that I made this choice. I’m not dumb, I’m not gullible, I’m not a hippie, and I thank god every day for the miracles of modern medicine, but itching like this is NOT NORMAL and the truth about this will come out some day. You can do it!!!!

    • Kickztec
      San francisco
      Reply

      Thank you so much for this note. I am reading this late at night due to immense itching. Like yourself, I thought I must me crazy because I am the only one I know that has the withdraw symptoms. Initially I had no idea what was up with me with the itch so I even took prednisone but late when I take a Zyrtec, I feel better. This is when I know Zyrtec was the cause. I find ice packs and hot showers help but you are so right with the itching traveling and coming in waves. I am hoping I can really kick this after being on Zyrtec for almost ten years. I will do this!!!!

      • Glenda
        WV
        Reply

        I have been on zyrtec for many years I tried cold turkey it was horrible itching. I started back on it and the itch stopped. I am trying to wean of it now down to every other day of 5mg. I wake up the day after skipping the dose and I’m itching. Hoping to cut down to 1/4 of a pill next week. I wish there was an easy answer. Tried explaining this to my ENT but she wasn’t understanding what I was saying.

    • john
      Indiana
      Reply

      I took this every day for several. Then I developed a bad sinus infection with constant coughing. I started taking a cough syrup, but the pharmacist had me stop Zyrtec. I did fine for over two months, but then started with the waves of itching. I itched until I bleed. Days not so bad, but nights were terrible. Went back on the Zyrtec and the itching has gone away.

  10. Julie
    Washington
    Reply

    This echos my experience perfectly! I have been trying to go off Zyrtec for 4 days now. Last night was day 4. I have an allergy test tomorrow, and she told me to get off antihistamines for the skin test. After last night, when my symptoms were so bad I almost tore my skin off, I called the allergist in tears today. She also recommended I take another one to relieve the symptoms and said they would do blood work instead of the skin test. It wasn’t until in my worst moment of desperation last night, that I googled “Zyertc withdrawals” and discovered that I am not alone! I thought I was going crazy! I am wondering what your blood work showed? Have you been able to wean yourself off this monster?

    • Kickztec
      Reply

      For those that has sensitive skin, blood test is way better than the skin test as it will give you false negative. The blood test consists of many vials of blood but way worth it and truer results. My skin test turned out positive for everything except for histamine, saline, and dog and was allergic to everything under the sun. When I had the blood work, it showed most of the positive was false.

  11. Jean
    Reply

    I started taking Zyrtec for itchy hands and feet upon the recommendation of my dermatologist. My dermatologist recommended taking Zyrtec (standard dose) daily for three months. After a daily dose for about two months, I started to wonder why I would get incredibly itchy all over my body every time I missed a dose. At the 23-24-hour mark, the itch would start on my scalp and move to my hands, feet, legs, torso, EVERYWHERE. The itch is like nothing I’ve every felt before–deep, burning–and it would fade in and out, sometimes presenting in hives and/or a flat red rash, or with no visible signs.

    Initially, I thought that my allergies had worsened to the point where I could not go without Zyrtec, but I began to do research online and found that this intense itching is a common symptom of withdrawal. I decided that I need to quit cold turkey. My first attempt failed; I was covered in hives, miserable, and could not focus on caring for my child. Within 30 min of taking Zyrtec, the itch went away.

    I planned better for my second and final attempt. I decided to stick to a low histamine diet with a daily probiotic and multivitamin (with vitamin C) for the first week. I quit coffee and caffeine, and did not take any other medication. The first few days were hell, especially days 3-4. Thankfully, I had family visiting to help my husband and me with caring for our child. There were times when all I was completely useless; all I could do was lie in bed or in an oatmeal bath. On the third night, I woke up with such an unbearable itch that I had to soak in an oatmeal bath at 2 am. I am now almost at the two week mark, and I feel so much better. I only have minimal itching occasionally, and it gets better each day.

    Things that helped: lots of oatmeal baths, Sarna lotion, keeping skin moisturized, keeping skin covered (long sleeves, pants, socks, and scarves for the neck), eating well (I have no idea if the low histamine diet helped), staying hydrated, breathing and not scratching when the itchiness intensified, and lots of help from family/friends to keep commitments/stress at a minimum.

    For those out there who are facing this challenge: please stay strong and know that it will get better. I understand that quitting cold turkey may not be for everyone, but I just wanted to share my experience.

  12. Baker
    Bangladesh, dhaka
    Reply

    I am taking Cetrizine for few days. I noticed something: that it helps me with runny nose problem and nasal blocking reduced. It even helped me to repair my body shape in such a small time. But I did notice something else: that I feel very angry. I was a practical person didn’t do something very easily. After realising the situation, I stopped to take Cetrizine. After that the runny nose started again.

  13. Claire
    Washington State
    Reply

    I was put on zyrtec after claritin did not improve my runny nose and inability to smell. After 10 days on zyrtec my runny nose changed to slimy, sticky discharge, and then the same stuff was coming out of my VAGINA. A couple of days later there was blood with this. People I’m 71. Doctor found that my vagina was “irritated”, and prescribed antibiotic cream. But before I even tried it, the discharge stopped, and I think it was because I stopped taking the zyrtec. Zyrtec was the only variable, the only thing I was doing that was different during this time. Today, my second day w/o zyrtec, I awoke with a headache which also never happened, before. I am deeply suspicious of this drug.

  14. Dee
    Staffordshire
    Reply

    Omg, I find ally know what’s wrong with me I thought I was going crazy ? I’ve been out cetrezine for years even told to double my dose if, you allergies were bad, it’s the withdrawal from it, feels like my whole body is jittery a itchy, a runny nose wakes me up from my crappy sleep a day itchy eyes etc so take another pill it’s a vicious circle, but now I know and I’m getting very off them a day for Di getting an ternary email, they need clearer ⚠ ?

    • Patricia
      GA
      Reply

      I tapered off zyrtec a week ago. I’m having all day headaches over left eye & right eye is bloodshot.

  15. Betts
    Phoenix
    Reply

    I am in the same boat as everyone else on Zyrtec withdrawals. I just kept biting smaller and smaller bits off the pill until I was barely taking anything…took weeks! I have been reading about the anticholinergic effect of antihistamines. That’s why I want to get off them. I don’t need to hurt my brain!

    I found that using water spray or a wet wash cloth in front of a fan cools the hives off. I get really warm spots on the hives areas, and cooling them off helps until they calm down. Even walking outside in cold helps. I get desperate!

    Has anyone experienced HORRID acid reflux along with going off the Zyrtec?

  16. Katherine
    Toronto
    Reply

    Anyone had any luck getting off Zyrtec? I just realized I am going through withdrawal. I’ve been trying to stop it for two weeks and that’s when I realized it’s an addiction. The itching would only stop when I took another pill. I ended up throwing out all the pills from disgust. I have bought vitamin C and Quercetin in hopes that it will help me get off Zyrtec. The last pill I took was last night… I’m worried that I won’t be able to handle it once it comes to 48 hours…

  17. Ayn
    NH
    Reply

    For those who have runny and congested nose, try Flonase Spray. It works like magic for me. I had perennial rhinitis and Flonase stopped it in just two weeks. Now, my allergy seldom comes back and goes away with just a spray. It is the most important med in my med cabinet.

  18. Not a fan of Zyrtec
    Charlotte
    Reply

    Here is my experience – On Zyrtec /Gen for 10+ years on advice of a doctor. Last two years allergies became unbearable. Major congestion. Noticed my sinus’s started to clear when I had to stop taking the Zyrtec for a dental procedure. decided to stay off of it. Itching began and I started my search for why.

    As you all have read its due to certz withdrawal. After numerous testimonies about how bad this stuff is I started to research deeper and found that this actually also contributed to leaky gut which explained why my issues of itching were exaggerated more so after eating. Concerned I was now experiencing food allergies after never having them before I figured out what was happening. Zyrtec contributed to the leaky gut situation but masked the stomach issue because it would influence it as the antihistamine.

    So three weeks now into this, I am now taking a super strong probiotic Bio Kult, Solgar quercetin, ACV, and GMC super digestives and has actually started to clear. Less itching, Better digestion. May have to add L-Glu. but this I think is working for now.

  19. Ethereal F
    Minneapolis
    Reply

    I’ve never experienced the itching, but feel that I have had other withdrawal symptoms. I was using a prescription for 6 months and when I ran out, I decided to not get a refill to see if my allergies were a bother.

    A few days later, I experienced flu-like symptoms for two days as well as extremely worse allergy symptoms than before starting the cetirizine. I stayed on it that long because it helped me sleep better. There were a few times that I had forgotten to take a pill and experienced bad allergies, but didn’t think much of it at the time.

    Now, I’m convinced that this drug is not worth the trouble. I’ve been doing some research and am going to try Quercetin. It’s a plant based supplement that many are saying works for them. I’ll post again after using it for at least a month.

  20. Nick
    FL
    Reply

    I am so very appreciative of this comments page. I am also a “victim” of the Zyrtec side effect. My allergist recommended this OTC prescription over a year ago for a rash that I developed, along with a medical prescription of steroids. The steroids didn’t do much but the Zyrtec did help. He recommended that I take it daily, but I don’t like taking any type of pharmaceuticals so I started taking the Zyrtec on alternating days.

    As I tapered off I started noticing the hives. I began to test how long I could go without the Zyrtec and found it to be about 5 days, as others here have posted. When I stop, the hives come back with force in just about any place on my body. I also have found that I wake up some mornings with a swollen lip, either upper or lower. There is no itch with the lip so I don’t know if it is related or not. I tried taking Benedryl but I don’t like the drowsiness, and it does’t do much for the hives and itch. One remedy I have found to help with the itch (only) is good old fashioned “Seabreeze”. It stops the itch within minutes, and I think it also helps the hives to diminish more quickly. I am so relieved, as others on this site, to have found the possible reason for my hives. I’m going to try and tough it out and not take any more meds for the hives and see if they will eventually go away. Thanks for all the posts.

  21. Gabriela
    New York, NY
    Reply

    I was looking for side effects of long term Zyrtec use and I came across this article. I just realized that my husband and I are taking it for over 10 years, pretty much non stop, but recently it seems like it doesn’t work as well anymore. I’m very surprised to read all of this because we take it for about 9 out of 12 months (we usually don’t need it around Jan-Feb), and despite a decade of use we never had any withdrawal symptoms during our winter “breaks”. We also never experienced any drowsiness on Zyrtec, or any other side effects. But now it occurred to me that maybe it’s making some other, silent damage to my body that I’m not aware of? Being completely off any allergy medication is not an option for me, because it turns into endless rounds of antibiotics for bronchitis. No idea what we should switch to, but now I feel even stronger about dropping Zyrtec ASAP. But is anything out there any better? Did anybody experience what we did – that after years of use it seems that Zyrtec doesn’t work anymore?

  22. Penny
    Grand Forks, ND
    Reply

    Thank goodness I found this page! I thought I was going crazy! My pulmonologist learned that I had been on Zyrtec for the better part of 20 years and wants me off! Made an appointment with the allergist – who of course said to go off all meds 10-14 daysprior to appointment. 2 days off the Zyrtec and I look like I ran through barbed wire! The itch is intolerable! My arms and hands – my feet – my back and stomach. Whether I was awake or asleep – nothing seemed to help! But worse was the feeling of anxiety – I am not an anxious person – but I was beginning to feel like I was going crazy! Thankfully (really?), I called the allergist and they said to continue the meds so I can function – and they will do bloodwork to test allergies rather than skin tests. Our goal will be to get me off these monsters – but hopefully in a more controlled way.

    • Jennifer L. L
      NY
      Reply

      I have been taking Zyrtec for at least 15 years as well and had to stop for the same reason-to be tested for allergies. I have had constant nausia, sinus headache, and itchiness since stopping. I am looking for alternative allergy control options, other than getting rid of my animals and moving to a sterile environment. I’ll keep returnign to this page to see what options people have tried and succeeded with.

      • Ev
        Reply

        Me too! I’ve tapered off from 5mg/day to 2.5mg per four days. Now I’m down to 2.5mg, the last dose was six days ago. I’m still getting itches randomly but much, MUCH better (the first week was terrible, and I was waking up almost every night itching between 1 to 3 am before falling asleep again). However, I’ve noticed my nose won’t stop running, and I’m having blocked sinuses on and off the whole day. I really want this to end. Good luck everyone!

    • Christina
      Tokyo
      Reply

      I have also been on Zyrtec for the past 20 years. When I think about it now, I can’t believe doctors would give a 12 year old kid such an intense drug without a plan to get off of it. I have been trying to ween myself off by replacing Zyrtec with the Kirkland brand however I can’t go any more than 2 days without something to stop the itchiness. I thought the itchiness was the allergies and had never imagined it could be withdrawals from the drug itself. Have you discovered any solutions for yourself?

  23. Hank
    22191
    Reply

    This is pertaining to my pet with allergies in the summer. I’ve been giving him Zyrtec since March 2017 before a full blown Spring with whatever weed he’s allergic to starts driving him nuts. It gets so bad that he licks all the fur off his paws and legs as far up as he can reach to lick. Zyrtec has really helped his allergies, however when I take him off in the winter with the first snow is there anything I should expect?

  24. Serena
    CA
    Reply

    Hi I am currently trying to get off of Zyrtec. I did experience the same insaine itchiness as everyone else but I was able to make it go away with 5,000 mg of Vitamin C split in divided doses during the day. I had to use Ester-C because the acidity was too much for my stomach but it did work. My only other problem is that my sinusitis flares up horribly when I stop taking it as well. I haven’t ready anything about peoples allergies flaring up worse aside from the insaine itching but this is happening to me. I am hopfully after a few weeks of high dosages of vitamin C that I can finally get off of all allergy medication. I have read of people doing this. I hope my comment at least helps the people who are stuck with insaine itching.

  25. Ruth
    NJ
    Reply

    I have been taking Xyzal for YEARS! I recently read it’s processed thu ur kidneys. Also got a letter from my insurance saying they won’t pay anymore as it’s now over the counter. Thought I would try stopping it. I am itching. Never gave it a thought. Thought it could be dry skin.

    I looked up “withdrawal symptoms from cyzal because I feel heaviness in my chest all day and could feel my heart pounding while trying to go to sleep. I am all congested again as well. Don’t know what to do because I have mold allergy and mold is present all year!

  26. Dick
    Oregon
    Reply

    Been taking Zyrtec for several years. I stopped taking it 2 weeks ago and still have fits of itching every hour or so. I hope this ends soon!

  27. Gay F
    Branford, CT
    Reply

    I am so relieved to read these comments. About 6 weeks ago, I had a virus which brought on hives. At first I did not take anything but when friends recommended Zyrtec because of its time release, I gave it a try. The first few weeks I took it every 2 to 3 days when the hives broke out but gradually it seemed to keep me hive free for 4-5 days.

    On the 5th day, the hives became more itchy, and intense. I thought to myself last week that maybe I was going through a withdrawal from the drug or that something weird was happening. My head one night felt like I had fire ants all over it.

    I have gone 4 days without the drug and am going to stay away from it from now on. It’s bad enough figuring out where the hives came from to begin with, never mind getting them as a withdrawal from the drug that appeared to be helping them.

  28. Michelle
    Texas
    Reply

    Lord help me, I can’t stop itching. I’ve taken cold showers and rubbed lotion all over my body, to no avail. I’ve taken Benadryl, Allegra, Singulair and Sudafed in an effort to stop the itch. I’ve been off of Zyrtec for a little less than a week now, and it is horrible. Before it was like clockwork. I would know exactly when it wore off as I would start itching somewhere on my body. I didn’t matter. It might be my head, my legs, my back, but somewhere, so I would take the Zyrtec, and it would go away. I ran out last week, and I haven’t been able to have any peace. The itching started with intensity last night, and I haven’t had any relief. I’ve scratched my head until it’s started to bleed. My back is red from my scratch marks, and my backside feels like it’s been bitten by ten thousand mosquitos. My husband told me he had stopped taking Zyrtec because of the withdrawal symptoms. I’ll never take it again, now I just need to get over the withdrawal symptoms.

  29. Patti
    MD
    Reply

    Count me in as another Zyrtec withdrawal victim! I have been taking Zyrtec for years for seasonal and pet allergies. Since we have had a hypoallergenic pet for several years now, I decided to stop taking it. Oh my word, the itching is uncontrollable!!! I took Zyrtec every morning around the same time. Within a few hours of “missing” that first dose, I noticed itching throughout my body. By the end of the day, I couldn’t stand it and took a pill. The same thing happened 30 hours later. I realized that I needed to wean off of the Zyrtec. I have been slowly weaning myself off. I am now 5 days between doses. It has taken me months to get to this point. It’s amazing to me after 5 days that I suddenly start itching again. It’s in random places at random times. Sometimes it’s my scalp, other times, my hands or feet. I think every part of my body at some point has itched, including the inside of my ears. Ugh. In addition, I will sometimes get itchy eyes. But I can deal with that with OTC allergy eye drops or even cold compresses. But this itching is torturous!

    I’m sorry to see that so many other people are suffering like I am, but glad to know that I’m not alone and I’m not crazy! I have seen several recommendations for Quercetin while researching this phenomenon, so I think I may try that too. I would really love to get completely off of the Zyrtec. Today is Monday and the last time I took it was last Tuesday. So I’m on day 6, but I’ve been scratching like a flea bitten dog since yesterday morning. I suspect it’s going to take the better part of a year to get completely weaned off at the rate I’m going.

    • Ev
      Reply

      Me too! I’ve tapered off from 5mg/day to 2.5mg per four days. Now I’m down to 2.5mg, the last dose was six days ago. I’m still getting itches randomly but much, MUCH better (the first week was terrible, and I was waking up almost every night itching between 1 to 3 am before falling asleep again). However, I’ve noticed my nose won’t stop running and I’m having blocked sinuses on and off the whole day. I really want this to end. Good luck everyone!

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