The People's Perspective on Medicine

Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Withdrawal & Unbearable Itching

Cetiriizine (Zyrtec) eases allergic symptoms like itching and hives so who would have ever guessed it could trigger such symptoms when stopped suddenly.

“So glad to come across all these posts online and realize what is happening. I have been on Zyrtec (cetirizine) for 10+ years. I originally was put on this antihistamine because I was experiencing hives (uticaria) but did not have any other allergies. I experienced the hives a few times and they told me to start taking this drug every day to prevent getting them.

“Well, after years of taking these pills, I finally started questioning why I needed to take them every day. I went off of them for a few days to get allergy tested and when I went to the allergist he gave me a hard time and told me that people takes these pills their entire life. It’s working so why am I trying to get off of them, etc. They first refused to test me for allergies but then finally did but only tested me for about 10 different allergens to which I was negative.

“Those 5 days trying to get off the Zyrtec were the WORST of my life, I literally laid on the couch and scratched and got hives all over. And, I thought, wow I really can’t live without this drug that’s how bad my body is.

“Well obviously it’s not, it’s the drug or the withdrawal from the drug. Before I started taking this drug I didn’t get random itching all over my body. So slowly but surely I’ve come to this point. I’m on day 5 of the Zyrtec withdrawal. For me, this time is a little different. I’m eating very healthy food, at least much as I possibly can. I’ve realized that the initial hives could have possible been some sort of allergy to the food I was eating or drinking and now that has been covered up for 10+ years by this drug so just imagine how much damage has been done to my body.

“The first two days were fine, day 3-today has been pretty bad. Today I have had some slight improvement. When I wake up I’m fine but then slowly but surely the itching will start and it is HORRIBLE. It seems to travel and I can itch in multiple places at once. The absolute worst is in places that you would never want to itch.

“Here is how I’m coping:

– I’m drinking as much water as possible, when I drink lots of water it actually seems to help

– I’m 100% gluten free, dairy free, sugar free. I have an inkling that this is helping me so much more than the first time I did this. I’ve had some grains (rice and quinoa) but plan starting tomorrow to be grain and soy free and potentially nut free while I’m going through this.

– I started taking Vitamin C yesterday and it does seem to help

– Hot showers for me work much better than cold

– I’ve started dry skin brushing (in the morning and before I go to bed) and then applying coconut oil that I’ve whipped into a natural moisturizer so as not to put any chemicals on my already having a hard time skin

– I’m trying to juice in the mornings (all greens for breakfast) and then eat fruit until dinner. However, from what I can tell I have the least reaction when I eat cooked vegetables.

– When all else fails, I find that keeping all my skin covered (long pants and sweatshirts) and focusing on breathing normally even when I’m in excruciating itch mode can bring me back to some state of normal.

“I hope some day that there is something done about this drug. At a minimum there should be some sort of disclaimer about the withdrawal effects. I wish when I was put on this drug that there was more information out there like these posts so that I would have never taken it in the first place.”


We never knew about the cetirizine withdrawal itch until visitors to this website began sharing their experiences. Three years ago we received this message:

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.

On May 5, 2010 We answered:

Cetirizine is an antihistamine that 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.

Here it is three years later and there is still nothing in the medical literature or official prescribing information about withdrawal symptoms associated with cetirizine (Zyrtec). We have notified the FDA that people are suffering but no one seems particularly interested or concerned that patients are suffering. There is no warning and no recommendation about how to get off this allergy medicine. The medical and scientific community seems equally indifferent.

The problems of cetirizine withdrawal points up a huge flaw in the FDA’s regulatory system. The agency seems oblivious to what has been called “discontinuation syndrome” or withdrawal from a number of medications. It took years for the FDA to figure out that anti-anxiety agents like diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax) could trigger withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly. Ditto for antidepressants like sertraline (Zoloft) or venlafaxine (Effexor).

Even now that the FDA requires some mention of this problem in the official prescribing information with anti-anxiety agents and antidepressants, there are no guidelines or recommendations about how to gradually discontinue such medications. That leaves physicians, pharmacists and patients at a loss to come up with a solution to this huge problem. People make up their own regimens, but it is very much hit or miss and many suffer if they phase off too quickly, whether it be a seemingly benign OTC antihistamine like cetirizine or an antidepressant like duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Here are some additional stories and successes. Please share your own story in the comment section.

Cetirizine (ZYRTEC) Withdrawal

“Just found this thread on Zyrtec and am so glad to find I am not alone. I have taken Zyrtec and its generics for years now, but back when it was prescription only, if I’d forget to refill on time I would get itching within a few days. First, I would random get itches on my scalp, then my arms would begin itching, and it would go on from there. I vaguely recall even getting hiveish little bumps.

“It is good to know it’s the pill and not in my mind. It actually was ON my head… as a type of withdrawal symptom. When I was hospitalized recently, I had to tell the doctors I had to continue the Zyrtec generic or my burns would be getting itchy and maybe break into hives.”

“I took zyrtec for many years (both brand name and generic) for allergies. A couple months ago I decided to go off of it ‘cold turkey’ and I was miserable for a full two weeks. The itching was uncontrollable… and scratching made everything worse. I did find a little relief by putting ice packs on my body when I itched, taking Quercetin several times a day, going for acupuncture 2x week, yoga/meditation several times a week, and by slathering Sarna cream all over my body.

“It was total torture going off this drug! 
For the spring allergies when pollen levels are off the charts I do use a nasal spray and sometimes have to take an advil & sudafed for headaches.”


“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… :-)”

Dermot, March 25, 2013

“Ok, I posted about almost 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.”

Dermot, April 14, 2013

Duloxetine (CYMBALTA) Withdrawal

“I was on Cymbalta for about a year for pain in my shoulder & neck. Then they realized it was a torn rotator cuff. The doctor said I could get off of it. He gave me 30 mg for a week & said I would be fine. I had been on 60 mg.

“I did as I as told. Once I finished the 30 mg for the week, I was sick as you can imagine; my stomach was killing me, diarrhea and headaches. I felt so nauseated & dizzy. It was absolute misery. I had never ever had an experience like this with any other meds. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m still nauseated. I have headaches and my whole body aches. I’ve gained weight & have no clue why? I get these hot & cold sensations like hot flashes.

“I feel like I’m in outer space. I fly off the handle easy. I’m just tired & feel like I never get enough rest. It’s the worse med I have ever been on. It helped only for pain like fibromyalgia but otherwise I’m still struggling with this after 3 weeks & wondering how long will this take. When will I feel better. They should really tell people to wean off slowly and not so suddenly. This is an awful drug.”

V. Ross

“I’ve been on Cymbalta for six years. I was put on it by my rheumatologist for the neuropathy in my feet that was a result of fibromyalgia. I was feeling like I was keeping my feet in the bonfire all the time. She couldn’t put me on it “officially” because it was only for depression at the time. She put it out there that “You’re depressed, aren’t you?” so she could put that on as the diagnosis and start me on it. I leapt at the chance.

“I floated between 60 and 120mg, at first the 60 so that it would stop the pain. But I started having real depression, crying jags, and such. I ended up on blood pressure drugs and gained 100 pounds. I ended up going to a psychiatrist who upped the medication to 120mg to cover the depression and added an anti-anxiety drug.

“This last October my husband lost his job. We found the Cymbalta was going to be over 600.00 a month. We knew I was having bad liver enzyme tests so I decided to just wash out of it so that we wouldn’t worry about the expense. We did try to go through the company to get help affording it but Eli Lilly denied us because they counted his severance as “income.”

“I took three weeks to come down from 120 to nothing, the longest I could make it stretch. I’ve had the “brain zaps”, violent outbursts that have had me hitting my beloved husband of 20 years, screaming, throwing things, terrorizing the dogs, everything. I’ve cut my hair, pulled it out, hit myself until there were bruises, and destroyed things I loved. And I can barely remember it. My husband has hidden our guns and my medications because of the suicidal threats I’ve made over and over. I can’t sleep, my neuropathy is back with a vengeance and the pain from the fibro is worse than ever. I’m in a daily flare. Sleep? What’s that?

“This stuff is real, this Cymbalta Withdrawal Syndrome. The manufacturers don’t tell you this is going to happen but believe me, it does. Every time I see a commercial for this drug, I get angry all over again. It’s not a panacea, it’s a death trap in a pretty bottle. Maybe not when you are on it, but like Hotel California: “You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!”

“Getting off Cymbalta is challenging but not impossible. I, too, experienced the light-headedness, dizziness, and “brain zaps.” I described it as being able to “hear my eyes move.” It sounded like the light sabers on Star Wars. Very strange and disconcerting.

“The key is to do it very very slowly. Take the capsules apart and begin by removing 5 or 10 of the tiny balls inside. Do this for a week or so, then slowly increase the amount you remove each week or two as you can tolerate it.

“Your doctor will probably be no help at all. Mine wasn’t. He instructed me to wean off over a two to three week period and I almost lost my mind. I did it myself over about a YEAR or more. Be patient. I am completely off now and feeling GOOD.”

Should you wish to learn more about how others have phased off the antihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) or antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), check out these links:

Zyrtec Withdrawal Stories

Cymbalta Withdrawal Stories

Share your own experience below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I too have broken out with itchy blisters all over my body after I stopped using Zyrtec. I cannot believe this is happening after casually taking Zyrtec for allergy relief. I am miserable. I am trying to lesson the amount I take every other day to gradually wean off of it. My Doctor said she had never heard of this problem and the nurse was very upset because she gives her kids Zyrtec and then sometimes stopped giving it to them cold turkey and they got itchy so she assumed it was from the allergies not the drug and gave them more Zyrtec. The public needs to be warned about horrible withdrawal from Zyrtec. How irresponsible of the FDA to not investigate the thousands of people complaining about these withdrawal symptoms!

Started an allergy on Saturday. Already had puritan on hand, as have had allergyies before.This time they didn’t work. So next day I went to doc, and he gave me a antihistamine beginning with F to take one a day. That didn’t work so next day I went to my own doctor. He gave me 5 packets of 10mg tablets to take four times a day. Also some Cetraben cream. My symptoms are just the same: hives and itching. And I can’t make up my mind whether it is the pills or cream that is making the allergy worse. Usually you just need to take one antihistamine, and you are feeling better. After reading the reviews of cetirizine, which is what the doctor gave me, I have decided to stop taking them after two more days.

I’ve been taking Claritin (loratadine) for the better part of 17 years, after being advised to take it for a potential post-nasal drip issue, and just continued taking it. I’ve never actually been tested for allergies, but I never had any bad reactions like most people I know who are allergic to pollen/seasonal/etc. I decided to go cold turkey, not even thinking there would be much difference b/c I figured how big a deal is Claritin.

Well, I’m itching all over, under my skin, head to toes in spurts for the past 2 weeks. I suspected this might happen b/c I have itched in the past, but couldn’t definitely tie it to being off Claritin. This is definitely the cause, though. I took 1 pill on a night I just couldn’t stand the itching, and it was nonexistent within a couple of hours. I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one, and I’m going to buy some liquid Loratadine to maybe try tapering off a little more. If this could actually last 4-6 weeks, I might be insane by then.

Going to the allergist next week. STOPPED taking Xyzal Saturday and was itching like CRAZY mad last night (Tuesday). Gonna bring it up to the allergist. Has anyone else gotten feedback from their doctor about this?? Can’t wait to hear your answers. Hopefully, I will remember to update after my appointment next week.

Hi everyone. Just like anyone here, am experiencing difficulty in withdrawing from taking cetirizine. It’s been five years now. It’s hell skipping a pill. The inconvenience caused by the itching is intolerable. Thanks for sharing your stories. Am gonna try out some of the remedies shared.

I also read that quercetin helps a lot in relieving the allergy. I pray we all get fine….

I was given this medication for a sinus infection I had a few years ago. It worked well, but after the antihistamine started to dry out my sinus I decided to quit. I began a horrible cycle of painful itching the likes that I have never seen before. I even went back on the drug to stop the itching, but now the drug itself makes me itch.

Worse still, after ceasing this medication, my body has never recovered. I have increased itching caused by the drug I’m sure. I never used to have any problems with itching, but somehow this drug made me more sensitive to histamine than I was prior to taking it. ITs like a bad rebound. worse, my body has never been the same. I now get itchy much more frequently, as my body is now more sensitive. I seriously think this medication poisoned me and made me more sensitive to histamine than I have ever been before.

I am happy I found this thread. I’ve been taking Zyrtec for at least 2 years straight. My bottle ran out, and I decided to wait until I go shopping to buy another. It’s been 3 days, and I have had unbearable itching/hotness and hives on my scalp. For some reason my palms, fingers, and scalp are the worst but the itching continues everywhere. It comes in waves. Nights are terrible. I wish I would have known this drug has withdrawal symptoms. I am going to try ibuprofen and turmeric pills, as someone suggested, but honestly I’ll probably buy a new bottle soon and maybe try to slowly stop taking it. Can’t stand the itching!

Day 4 off Zyrtec for allergy testing tomorrow and the itching is driving me mad! I have been on it for 20 years! My God! Give me relief! I never want to take this again and the allergist is going to have to help! I ITCH EVERYWHERE CONSTANTLY!

I am going on day 4 without it and i have been taking it every day since over 6 years. I have been irritable, sad, and waking up randomly throughout the night throwing up, i can’t eat sometimes due to the anxiety I have. During the past years, I have been snappy, irritable, uncontrollable outburst. Nights i forget to take it, i wake up feeling like im going to jump out of my skin. This is almost as bad as pain meds, praise God I was able to quit that 4 years ago. Am i the only one that is not experiencing the itching but all the other symptoms?

I have been taking fexofenadine (Allegra) during Fall for my seasonal allergies. I have recently tried stopping and noticed that I was itching like crazy. I thought that there must still be allergens in the air causing this itching, so I went back on the medication. Then, yesterday, I stopped and noticed the same itching. It’s the dead of winter. There are no more allergens in the air at this time. So I thought, “I wonder if it’s the medication.”

After a single Google search, I’ve discovered that my hunch was right, and that I’m not alone. No more allergy meds for me. Hopefully, the withdrawal doesn’t last too long. I’m going in for rotator cuff surgery in two weeks. I’m hoping to be clear by that time. These drugs need to be off the market, or at least there needs to be advertising as to what you will go through if you subject your body to these drugs.

I’ve been using antihistamines for about 2 years now. I was suffering from urticaria and later found out that it was hives. It started off on my back and then spread on my whole body. I visited a GP and was told to get onto Allegra (Telfast) ASAP on two tablets a day, but this later worsened. It developed into breathing problems, wheezing and having shortness of breath..

This was a rare and uncommon ‘reaction’ and was referred to a specialist. I was undergoing tests and found that I suffered from mild asthma which could’ve sparked the breathing phases every single night. I was told to change to Zyrtec and take four tablets a day and I listened, but I did gain weight and I have been gaining weight, I find it very hard to lose weight and having a urge to eat is really annoying.

Before being on medication, I would lose 3-4 kilos every week, now I can barely lose one. I went three days without the antihistamines and found that it only got worse. It was the worse three days of my live and I wanted to think that I could survive without this drug but; I couldn’t. It was scratching every day and every night, every minute of the day.

I do want to stop taking it but I know it will trigger my body as it is used to the drug already but I feel like I could get used to it as I’m still young and still have room for improvement. Even with being on the antihistamine I still receive my breathing phases and hives hence why I have to take four a day. I really really really want to find a cure to my condition but I don’t think I could survive without the drug. Would allergy shots help with my urticaria and breathing phases? I really need you help. (PLUS + I need tips on how to balance weight loss with being on this drug)

I have been taking xyzal for about a year. I stopped taking it 3-4 days ago and started having severe itching. Yesterday morning I scratched my sides so hard I had dark bruises by the evening. I thought I was gonna loose my mind. Finally today I searched for meds that cause itching when stopped. Antihistamine type meds were the first to come up. Oh my gosh, finally an answer. Meds are supposed to help but seem to cause more problems that keep you running back to the doctor.

I’m about a week in to my withdrawal for Xyzal and I’m really struggling. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go back on this drug. Any suggestions that helped you get through it?

My doctor suggested I take zyrtec daily for the rest of my life to avoid hives that I get sesonally. Mind you I only got hives maybe once a year, and my old physician would just prescribe me a small dosage of prednisone for 6 days that would put the problem at bay. So it seemed kind of unnecessary to make such a commitment to take zyrtec everyday, when I don’t have a chronic hive problem at all. Anyways, I still used zyrtec for a good month, and then I genuinely just forgot to take it one morning, and I broke out into horrible hives all over my body, much worse than my seasonal hives.

So I went to an urgent care center, where they prescribed me prednisone once again for like 5 days, and boom, I’m all better, and the hives didn’t come back until the following year as per normal, and i haven’t taken zyrtec since. So if you go cold turkey trying to stop taking zyrtec and you break out into hives, I highly suggest you go to an urgent care center or your primary doctor and tell them to prescribe you prednisone. I’ve personally had better experiences with urgent care doctors because they usually prescribe you something that will take care of the problem asap, while my primary doctor doesn’t listen to anyhing I say, and tries suggesting me things like taking zyrtec for the rest of my life. And yes, Prednisone is a steroid and should not be taken a lot. The only reason my physician used to be okay prescribing it to me was because I only had an allergy reaction once every 1 to 2 years. Those are my thoughts, and I hope my experience can help someone.

I have taken either Zyrtec or Xyzal (they are related) for about 9 years. I was going to have testing, and it was HORRIBLE trying to come off of it. When I had my daughter I had to come off and take claritin while nursing in 2010, and I didn’t get itchy then, but I did lose weight…I attributed it to having my daughter and nursing. When I went back on the Xyzal when she was 3 months old, however, I gained weight.

I decided around Christmas 2015 that I needed to come off of it to test some theories. I dropped weight SO FAST. I’d weigh myself in the morning, then at night and there was already a difference. I lost about 10 lbs. I used claritin and turmeric to get through the worst of it, and it took about 5 days to regulate and no longer be itchy.

When my spring alelrgies were coming back, I had to go back on it (spring 2016) and have been on it since (fall 2017). Recently I started getting a bunch of eczema without explanation so I made an appointment with my allergist. I’m on day 2 and soooooo itchy but I can’t take anything…this sucks.

I’m on my second go around of stopping this awful “medicine”! The first time I didn’t replace because I was no longer having symptoms. I wish I had researched these side effects then! I’m currently 2 days in and my scalp, face, neck, shoulders, upper back and arms are covered in a lovely shade of red! :( My heart is racing and I can’t stop ITCHING!!!! If that wasn’t bad enough, I suffer from YOPD (young onset Parkinson’s Disease) so my tremor and anxiety are out of control! When will this stop? Why isn’t this side effect listed on the packaging?!

I’m sorry everyone here is suffering from the same thing, but boy am i glad to discover there’s a community online where everyone is pretty much experiencing the same suffering!! I’ve been using Zyrtec and Telfast (Allegra) for 10 years now. Same symptoms of withdrawal – I thought it was my chronic urticaria, but after reading others’ experiences I see it might be the drug itself! And I do notice that sometimes when I take the drug, I get an instant itch reaction before it calms down.

Someone shared her experience on this page, an interesting alternating with gradual dosage approach:

Good luck everyone! I would be so so grateful for this to be out of my life :p Having said that, there are worse things…

I have been taking the 10mg tablet of ceterazine for months now due to allergies. I didn’t take for about a week, started with intense itching, finally went to doctor and was prescribed prednisone, doxepin, and a steroid ointment which helped clear things up, But now I’m off the prednisone, and the severe itching has returned. This is affecting my sleep, and I’m very uncomfortable due to the itching. This is caused from the allergy medicine from what I’m reading?

I started taking Zyrtec several years back because as I told the Dr., I was itching all over. I didn’t have hives as such, just itched. He said I had high “histimine” (sp) in my system and Zyrtec would stop the itching……..which it did. This spring I’ve had such bad pollen allergies that I finally stopped taking Zyrtec and went to the Dr. for a shot. Yep you guessed it! I’m itching so badly I don’t know where to scratch first. Do I break down and take a Zyrtec for the itching or is it unsafe after having an allergy shot? Anyone?

I THINK I CAN HELP! I’ve been dealing with Cetrizine dependence for 10 years now and have been off the drug AND symptom-free for over two weeks now. I’ve been taking Loratadine (Claritin as it’s known by brand) every day. Although I can feel my skin crawl a little bit sometimes, it’s usually cleared up by taking another Loratadine tab, and I never really need to take it more than every 18-20 hours to prevent symptoms from flaring up.

I can’t say I’m healed of this nonsense yet but I firmly believe I’m on the path to freedom from it. I feel for everyone here. If you’re reading this share your story. We need to help one another out. I hope I’m on to something, I will update you all.

So how is it by now? Are you still cetirizine-free?
Also, did you manage to be off anti-histaminics, or did you just substitute cetirizine by loratadine?

Go glad I found this blog. I’ve been taking Allegra for 10+ years and finally decided to get tested to see what it is that I’m allergic to. Well, that was 4 days ago and I’m about to lose it with the itching. The first day was not so bad but these past few days have been brutal. this has also affected my moods. Tomorrow is my test and I plan to take one as soon as I leave the office but will be tapering off this awful medication even if it takes me a year to do so. The allergy doctor who scheduled my testing tomorrow never warned me about these side effects. I’m definitely going to bring the subject up to him, not sure he’s even aware.

I’m currently weaning off Zyrtec, after reading MUCH about how to, what’s worked for others, and what hasn’t worked. I’ve been on Zyrtec for about 5 years for environmental allergies, but we’re looking to start a family in the upcoming years, and I don’t want to have a baby addicted to Zyrtec at birth, and would prefer to be off everything for pregnancy.
A week ago today, I cut down to half a tablet a day. I read how Vitamin C can help with withdrawal symptoms (including Opiates, which thank the gawds I don’t have addiction to), so I’ve been taking a packet of Emergen-C throughout the day. It’s 1000mg a packet, which is the maximum amount of Vitamin C I read you’re supposed to have to avoid stomach upset. I basically take 1/4 a packet 3-4 times a day, and right before bed. I take a prenatal vitamin at dinner which also has some Vitamin C. So far, I’ve had very little breakthrough itching. I’m thinking about cutting back to taking the 1/2 a Zyrtec every 36 hours, but I’m scared I’m pushing it too quickly. I’ll try to remember to update my progress here, in hopes of helping others going through this same nightmare.

After about a week and a half of doing the 1/2 a tablet every day, I skipped my dosage Friday morning, in hopes of going 48 hours without it. I did have some itching Friday night before bed, but didn’t cave in, though I did take two Benadryl. I figure the Benadryl would help me sleep through the night, at least take the edge off.

I made it to Saturday morning, took the 1/2 a tablet, but by Sunday night, was itching like CRAZY. I once again took Benadryl Sunday night before bed, and took 1/2 a tablet this morning (Monday). I’ve continued using the Emergen-c, but I ‘m going to stick to a more regimented schedule now that I’m down to 1/2 a Zyrtec every 48 hours, to see if I can keep the breakthrough itching to a minimum. I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel though!!

I’ve lived in Arizona since 1995 and have had terrible allergies every since moving here. 10mg of Zyrtec and Flonase every day were the ultimate solution. However, for reasons I don’t understand, this summer my allergies have been less. I didn’t like the dry mouth, dry eyes, and dry skin I was experiencing so I cut back to 5mg of the Zyrtec and only used Flonase as needed.

I did that for 3-4 months. With all the heat we’ve had I felt like I didn’t need either medication so stopped both 3 days ago. Then the itching, red, sometimes hot skin symptoms started. Mostly on my shoulders and neck, but sometimes legs, back of the head and torso. My hands are incredibly itchy periodically as well. I’m glad I’ve found all of your posts, because it really makes sense that this is what is causing all of the itching. There absolutely needs to be warnings regarding withdrawal from this medication.

I too have been on Reactine/Cetirizine for 20 years.

I had stopped taking the medication once and thought my hives (why I was taking it in the first place had come back) so I resumed taking the meds.

Recently, December 2016, decided to reduce the dose to 1/2 a tab….I did experience itching. But I kept on the 1/2 tab. I seemed to adjust to reduced dosage.

About 2 weeks ago ( June 2017) I decided to stop taking the medication altogether. The first few days it was okay. Then the itching started. First on my scalp, I thought I had a sensitivity to a shampoo, which I had been using, but the itching started with a vengeance.

The itchiness would move to different parts of my body, head, back elbows, legs, even my eyelids! it was like it moved to little hot spots, some lasting from a few minutes to an hour.

It is by accident that looked up this website as the itching is VERY distracting and here you all are.

One night I woke up with congestion in one sinus and blew out clear fluid from this one sinus – it felt like I was getting a cold…but that was it. Nothing more came of it.

I am going to continue stopping. I pray this itching will leave me. Good luck to all who are trying to stop taking this medication.

I’d love to hear how you’re progressing!

I stopped taking cetirizine when I was going through topical steroid withdrawal, as I was going to swap to Desloratadine for the itch. I found that my hands & wrists itched more than usual. I hope that there is not a withdrawal problem with the new pills!

I’ve only been taking it around a month or so at night every night, suddenly stopped and I’m so blooming itchy. I knew it was some kind of withdrawal but needed to check.

I am taking this tablet every day, and the itching is serious, not bearable.
Got Allergy test done, taken precaution, but nothing is helping.
Is anyone out there able to get out of this syndrome?
Really need to understand what is the solution to get over this.

Cetrizen tablet for itching each very helpful immediately stop itching after taking that tablet.

I also had the Zyrtec for many, many years fir allergies. I did a long tapering off process and it has been four months since my last dose. I’ve itched the whole four months although it is gradually decreasing. I discovered that 800 mg of Ibuprophen 2 x daily helped calm the hives and itching. Wanting to get off the Ibuprophen I’ve recently decided to try Bromelain and also Turmeric tablets. The results are amazing!

Hello, Heather, good to hear that at last you are able to get rid of this medicine.
Will it be possible for you to explain in detail, so that we can also try this?
Thanks in advance.

Our son took Zyrtec by GlaxoSmithKline over the Spring and Summer for hayfever. He has been getting unbearably itchy for months and would take Zyrtec to control that as well. He didn’t get itchy prior to using Zyrtec. He started thinking there was something odd and researched it on line to find out about the problems associated with Zyrtec. He discovered what the problem has been today.This product has to be taken off the market or at least have a warning about the side affects.

About 12 years ago I started having bad migranes, so my doctor put me on PIZOTIFEN. After about 6 months the migranes stopped so I stopped taking the Pizotifen. 3 days later I began to itch all over. It was murder, so I went to see the doctor who suggested I take hayfever tablets. So I started cetirizine. The itching stopped. I take 2, sometimes 3, cetirizines a week and have been for about 11 years now. I’ve tried to come off the tablets but the longest I went was 10 days, it was murder. Anyone come up with anything to stop this itching and stop taking a medication I don’t need.

I am so happy I found this information! I just started taking cetirizine allergy pills almost a month ago. I’ve never had allergies before but I got a rash on my face for 3 consecutive 60 day intervals and it got progressively worse the 3rd time it occurred. I went to a nurse who suggested the allergy pills. It worked pretty good but I was concerned now that I have been on them almost a month so decided to check around to see if there were any issues with this drug. I guess I should have checked it out before actually to see what the side effects were…but I was so uncomfortable. In any case, I am going to try not to take them by cutting down 1 a day then 1 every other day and so forth. I do hope it works as I don’t want to have the extreme bad reactions as I have been reading. Thank you to all for sharing!

I am experiencing this cetirizine withdrawal right now. I have had some truly agonising days exactly how many of you describe. I am also an immunologist and I have spoken to some of my colleagues about my problem. What we agreed should be fairly comforting for people who are here suffering with the same problem as I am right now.

Cetirizine inhibits the histamine response. However, it does not stop antigens from binding to your skin mast cells. If you take cetirizine for 4 weeks straight and you are exposed to a large quantity of antigen you will get a huge build up of antigen bound mast cells.

When you then remove the histamine inhibitor, your body reacts violently to the huge backlog of antigen in your system. This results in the severe eczematous reaction that you are all experiencing.

To alleviate this problem I would advise you to wean yourself off the drug like many people have described; a step wise reduction in the dose every couple of days, but also avoiding contact with further antigen wherever possible. I would also highly recommend taking the dose before you go to bed, so that your sleep isn’t disturbed by itching or constant awakening.

Your mast cells do not live much longer than a month, so if you are very careful this problem should take about a month to resolve. Avoid your most serious sensitives as an absolute priority!

Good luck with this difficult process.

By the time I realized, I had been taking Citrizine/Levocitrizine for 3-4 months to cure an onset of hives. In between, after a month or so of taking Citrizine, I visited a dermatlogist, and he prescribed me Fexofenadine. Fexofenadine wasn’t as effective as Citrizine. With Citrizine’s dose of 5 mg, I could last without an itch for 48 hours, but that wasn’t the case with Fexofenadine.

Then he changed my meds to Teczine (Levocitrizine). He prescribed me a 10 mg pill before going to bed for 10 days. Not sure what it did to me. The itch was all gone but I felt like a zombie, all drowsy next morning as if walking in clouds. Then I decided on my own accord to cut it down to 5 mg per day. It still was effective but made me drowsy, but not as drowsy as would the 10 mg dose. Yet I was still not that alert and fresh even after having a complete sleep.

Long before I came across this site, I decided on my own, to taper it down. I had the same stinging sensation, as discussed above, on my scalp, ear lobes, eyelids, hands, you name it, when my system ran out of it. I tried not to scratch, and if I wouldn’t scratch for 2 mins, it would go away. Like Josh said, in one of the threads above, due to intake of histamine, we had a backlog of mast cells with antigens attached to it that means loads of histamine which was just not manifesting itself due to constant intake of anti-histamines. But when you stop taking it, it comes with a – for lack of a better word–“vengeance” and makes you itch like never before.

Today, I have been without a dose for 15 days, and I’m feeling good:less itchy. Also, I’ve modified my diet a bit: I drink lots and lots of water–3-4 litres a day–to flush the toxins, if any, from my system. Have included lot of fruits in my diet: apples, pomegranates, citrus fruits, in particular. I’ve been avoiding wheat products or processed foods. So far I’m doing well and wish everyone gets rid of this itch.

Will keep you guys updated on my progress. One more thing I would want to suggest is that since this isn’t a life threatening issue to begin by modifying our diet and doing at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, etc. But please try to get rid of this drug as soon as possible.

PS: I’ve still not been able to figure out what actually triggered the onset five months back. All I do recall is that once I was on my motorcycle and became completely drenched due to heavy rains, and the itch started after that.

I have been on medication for at least the last 2 years. It all started very slowly until it became unbearable. Then I was given medicine to take every 24 hours and it was horribly itchy when I exceed that time frame. I visited 3 doctors already and am seeing one tomorrow as my medication has run out. My third doctor told me to slowly get rid of the medicine and started taking 1 tablet every 2 days, and now I’m on 1 tablet every 4 to 5 days. I hope the day will just come when I can completely get rid of it permanently. I’ll now research what food contains vitamin C most and start consuming it more often. Thanks everyone for sharing your experience, I’ll be back to the same page just in case someday I completely give up on the medicine.

Hi again guys, it’s me again back as promised on my previous comment. Just to let you know that I went back to doctor on that day when I told you I would and he was the fourth doctor I consulted. I very upset to see him on that day because it seemed like he had no clue about what was going on at all (I really wish I could write his name here in this forum). He simply gave me exactly same medicine that I was given by my previous doctor (my third doctor was much better but he was on medical leave). Everything that he was telling me was lie, for instance he told me every human on this planet has this problem at least once. Honestly, other than all of you guys in this forum I haven’t seen even single person with the same problem. He literally gave me 3 minutes (he wouldn’t even have given me this much if I hadn’t asked him questions) of his time after waiting for him more than 3 hours.

So talking about my medication, I’m so glad to tell you guys that I’m finally over with it. As soon as I got back home that day after I’ve seen the doctor, I challenged myself that I wouldn’t be taking the medicines anymore and this is end of week 4 and I haven’t taken even single medicine.

I’ll tell you all this, it wasn’t easy to give up on the medicine but at the same time it wasn’t as hard I thought it would be. What helped to me most is I followed one of the comment here in this forum and started taking shower with the luke warm water. It worked on me a charm, and in fact I figured that this was the cause of the whole itchiness problem. To remember more precisely it started then when I decided to take shower with cold water. I can also justify this with one more thing. There was time when I used to wash my feet with cold water and I hadn’t taken medicine recently, it used to get so itchy and lower feet would be really sensitive that the pain was unbearable when you step onto something hard with your bare feet. Then I started washing them with luke warm water, it wasn’t that bad after that. I’m slowly moving back to wash my feet with cold water to avoid hassle to warm water up. And it seems normal.

Also AVOID itching your skin using your nails, use something soft like tissue paper or even your clothing in case of emergency.

You’ll want to take medicines when it gets itchy but trust yourself and take a long deep breathe and release (as you would do in YOGA). Not necessarily you need to go for YOGA classes for learning how to do so. You were not be there reading this forum if you weren’t breathing till this time, would you?

Almost forgot to mention, I’m eating everything that I like. Dairy products, nuts, cocoa, wheat products and other allergen products. Thanks god my case wasn’t related with food, I’m already vegetarian, non drinker, non smoker. That would cut a lot of options of few options of food that I already have left that I can consume.

Good luck guys!

I have stopped taking “shitirizine” about three months ago by quitting cold turkey. The first few weeks off of it were unbearable. My fiancé could barely touch me without accidentally scratching me and me and my body freaking out with hives, itching, and anger… not at my fiancé, but at my body for being so weak.

I had never experienced anything like this before taking citirizine. I still have my symptoms of itching and hives, but they have started to become a lot more bearable. I hope within the next 3-6 months that my symptoms completely go away, but in the meantime I’ll go to the doctor (who will probably tell me I’m crazy and to just go back on the drug) and get allergy tested. Good luck to all of those that are experiencing the side effects of this horrible drug.

I just stopped taking Zyrtec a couple days ago and I started itching like every one else. I thought I was coming down with a serious disease until I found this page. Now I know I’m in the same boat everyone else is in. How do you get over this problem or do I have to live with it.

I have been taking this on and off for years for my seasonal allergies which are the worst in the fall. In the fall, I take up to two pills a day, 20mg one at night and in the morning. The pills make me feel like a zombie but combined with my nasal spray (natural saline) it helps with the symptoms of running nose and sneezing. Now, once in a while I would get a hive here and there but nothing serious. Never had an issue (thank god) with itching due to allergies.

I have gone off this drug cold turkey MANY times, right after the fall allergy season and never had any negative reactions in terms of itching. I’ve only had sinus problems for a couple days after getting off the drug. but sinus trouble is what was causing my allergies to be worse in the first place, so i am assuming reactine suppressed my sinus problems and when i got off it, they came back for a bit

Now, since I never experienced itching with reactine (and generic brand) or had problems with hives in the past, im thinking maybe a lot of these post drug reactions are due to people having hives in the first place and reactine suppressed the hives so when the drug is exiting the body, they come back with a vengeance? that is the only thing i can think of. I heard what helps if you’re having these problems is cutting back on the pill… cutting it in half and then into quarters and getting off it slowly. I wish everyone luck.

I can’t believe it was the Zyrtec. I’ve been taking it daily for a few years now and my husband takes it intermittently as well. We ran out about a week ago and I haven’t gotten to the store to pick some up. The itching started almost immediately. No hives, but horrible itching everywhere and all at one time. My symptoms closely match others who’ve reported here: worse at night, no hives, top of head/arms/legs/top of feet/top of hands/neck/back are the worst for me. I googled itching the other day but didn’t come across anything about Zyrtec which is the only thing that makes sense due to the timing of the itching which I’ve never experienced before. It has been almost a week now and as of last night the itching is getting worse. I’m going to keep going on the withdrawal and never take Zyrtec again. I’m hoping my husband, who doesn’t take it regularly like i do, doesn’t have itching withdrawals as well.

I am so happy to have found this forum. I have been on cetrizine for Las 10 year, not realizing how it gradually changed my life for worse. I was always feeling lethargic, tired and depressed. Gained more than 10 kg of stubborn weight which refused to go. I kind of accepted it as part of my life. Recently I started on alternative medicine which a friend suggested. This requires lot of dietary changes. I am happy to say that i am on my 6th day without this horrible drug. I still have itchy feeling which gets worst by evening. So I wrap up my day early and try to sleep as strange it may sound but I don’t get this itch when in sleep. Now I get up early and try not to miss my walk or workout. Feeling much energetic. Just wondering how long do i have to wait before this itchiness go completely. Today I’m going to try no sugar and no milk diet to see any relief. Read here that vitamin c is natural anti histamine so will incorporate that. Lets see how many days more. My alternate mecidine treatment hasn’t treated cured my allergy completely as if now but has definitely given me will power not to rely on cetrizine. I keep reminding myself everyday not to take it though I still keep it with me for emergency.

Glad I finally found this site! I’ve been taking generic cetrizine hcl (Zyrtec) for at least a couple of years. I had noticed before that if I forgot a dose the palms of my hands, the top of my head, and sometimes the bottoms of my feet would itch unbearably. Last week I decided to switch to an all-natural allergy remedy and as soon as I quit taking the generic Zyrtec, the itching began in full force (hands, head, feet, legs)! I’m one week in and hoping it will subside soon. I will NOT go back to taking Zyrtec, no matter what!

All, I’m 3 and a half weeks into stopping cetirizene after taking it without question for 15 years!!! (every other day). I watched a program about taking prescribed medicine then thought I’d take a look at the side effects of this particular drug and found this site, then the penny dropped!
If only I’d known earlier ;-( what have I been pumping around my system all this time and who knows the effect it’s had.
But on a positive note prior to stopping the tablet I had upped my consumption of mineral water for a nearly a year and took vitamin C, I also gave up milk and began drinking soya in tea, cereal etc.
My itching side effects started to subside after 4 days but strangely my skin reacted badly to a cold I was suffering with at the time, perhaps because my immune system was yo yo-ing as a result of coming off the drug. It’s settled down now and I know now I will never take this tablet again.
Good riddance to it and it just goes to show that your Doctor doesn’t always know what’s best for you.
Ps Regarding Doctor’s, mine told me I’m asthmatic at the age of 49 after never having a problem with my chest and told me to take an asthma pump. The pump mist made me cough and he said my body would get used to it !!! I thought about things and realised my life had been quite stressful months before, mum had passed away and work was so stressful. I dealt with that stress in my mind and slowly but surely my chest got better and now I’m back in the gym and I certainly am NOT asthsmatic!!! It could have been so easy to not question the Doctor and as a result I would have been using a pump for the rest of my life!!!

What this has taught me is too listen to my body and nourish it correctly.

Good luck everyone.

I took Zyrtec for allergies for about 5 years and like many others discovered my body had become dependent on this drug after going off the drug for allergy testing. The unbearable itching was enough to make me crazy. The more I scratched the worse it got. The allergy specialist had no idea what I was talking about and said the Zyrtec had been masking the hives I already had. I never had hives before using Zyrtec which I used only for nasal symptoms. I swore off Zyrtec and as I couldn’t bear the itching and decided to go straight on to Claratyne (Claratin) once per day. After 2 weeks I then tried to go cold turkey again and lo and behold no itching! thank God. I still had my usual nasal symptoms but it was a life saver. I will never use Zyrtec again. I think it is probably a good idea to change the type of histamines used once in a while so that our bodies do not become dependent on these drugs.

I don’t know if this happened to any of you or not. 3 weeks back, I have took a flushot and the vaccine name is (Influenza Vaccine). I have been suffering the itches since 2009, I have been taking cetrizine from then to avoid rashes and sleep tight, ususally I get these rashes when I take spicy food or kind of grains or eggplant and list is quite big, but after taking this flushot, it’s been only once I have taken my cetrizine and I haven’t seen any swelling or rashes on my body till date. Hope this continues and stops my 8 year suffer. I thank god for giving me a cure for this unbearable and worst nightmare of my life. All the people who are still having this as a part of your daily life this is worth giving a try.

So glad I found these posts. I thought I was going insane or maybe had bed bugs. Took prescription strength Reactine over the summer for my seasonal allergies, and just stopped since the fall weather has set in. I AM SO ITCHY!!!!!

Hope it stops soon.

So glad I’ve seen this! I suffer from prickly heat, so I always take them before I go on holiday. It helps the prickly heat, but when I come home and stop… WOW! The itching is insane!! I’ve been trying to stop taking since my last holiday, which was 8 months ago, I thought there was something wrong with my liver; 2-3 days after my last tablet, the unbearable itching starts, so I take an antihistamine, not even realizing that this is the cause.

My wrists, hands, feet, legs, ears and private parts are the worst, although it’s generally all over. No rash, just extreme itching. I’ll try the natural remedies mentioned. Thank god for this thread! Now time to cold turkey :(

I am 58 yrs old female, quite healthy in general, apart from having chronic hives. I am so glad to have seen this thread. I was on Zyrtec for 8 months. Jan 2016, I broke out with hives and doctor gave me Zyrtec once a day but I tried to space it more, hence took 1 every 2 days. I googled and read everything I could find about hives to work out the cause as doctors could not find anything.

It was bizare to me as to why my symptoms were so regular that if I missed a dose, then hives would break out badly. As my digestion is a bit on a weak side, I thought I had severe leaky gut, which in turn hurting my liver (blood test shows a mild raise of liver enzymes) and hence I put myself on the journey of gut healing (which was not a bad thing to do). I was and still am on l glutamin, liquid green, tumeric etc.

Upon seeing this thread 2 ish weeks ago, I immediately stopped taking Zyrtec. The first week was like hell. I was covered with hives, lips and eyes were swollen, scalp itching. I had to be off work a few days.

I took 800 mg quercetin twice a day: one at 2 pm and one at 10 pm before bed. Morning usually is when the symptoms were less severe and night was the worse; that was why I only took quercetin during the afternoon and evening. I masked the itch by using strong eucalyptus oil and the heat generated helped alleviate the itch . I took vit B and C, drank a lot of hot ginger tea (slices of fresh ginger in a thermos and kept on filling it up with more hot water).

I continued with my usual daily supplement of fish oil, milk thisttle and vit D. I am pleased to report that the symptoms got gradually milder toward the end of the 2nd week. Last night was the 16th night of not taking Zyrtec and I had a good sleep undisturbed by the itch for the first time. I hope hives won’t come back.

I can conclude for my case, that yes, Zyrtec withdrawing effect is real and does exist. I thank everyone who has shared their stories without them. I would still be on Zyrtec and still thought I had some unknown severe chronic disease …
I will reduce the quercetin dosage gradually to see how I go. I will continue with the gut healing regimen, as I think it has been beneficial to my overall heath, hives or not.

Life is so good this morning. Yes, I am now free of Zyrtec ( I hope) !!!

Like many others, I have been taking Zyrtec for many years. I recently decided to go off the medication for allergy testing and I have been experiencing the horrific itching. I’ve actually drawn blood scratching areas of thinner skin, like my wrist. I have no hives, nothing but itchy skin. I’m about a week into withdrawal and plan to stick to it. I will also use some of the advice listed in this forum for some relief. It’s about time the makers of Zyrtec and the FDA look into this issue. Apparently it affects a lot of people.

What is this poison??? I thought I had the symptoms of severe allergies–hives and crazy itch everywhere because I live with allergens! I moved to a new home, kept taking this drug and everything was OK. Then I tried to quit Zyrtec but my body reacted in an extreme way. I literally scratched the hives to bleeding! I could’t bear it anymore. My scalp, my whole back, my private parts, and even my palms were having hives. After reading your posts I figured it wasn’t my problem; it was the drug enslaving me. I even went to my doctor to ask what was going on with Zyrtec, but he said he never heard such withdrawal issues, and my allergies were the problem. Nonsense!

I had been taking cetirizine for around 10ys for sneezing and only that. Due to financial circumstances I couldn’t afford my meds so have now been off them for 2 weeks. Boy am I glad I decided to look this up. My itching started 2 weeks ago and is driving me nuts. My body has many, many bruises now and still it continues. Anyone have any ideas as to how long utill it stops please? And will certainly be telling my chemist and doctor.

I took an Antihistamine drug for 2 months, I had the same Withdrawal issues, severe Itching all over my body. I decided to go cold turkey, it was a living hell for me, I couldn’t even sleep, what is even worse is that the drug is sold without warning people of this side effect and this is not included in the medical literature, so doctors won’t help you. They will just advise you to take this drug for your whole life (Something you should definitely not do) thinking that the itching is caused by something else and the drug is just helping you.

The first two weeks were the worst, I saw myself as a warrior fighting for my freedom from this drug so I didn’t give up, I strated taking Chamomile and Ginger tea it helped a bit, you can google a list of Antihistamine foods that stabilise Mast-Cells.

My life is back to normal after two months of fighting :), my advice to the people going through this, please don’t give up and stay strong, it will go away if you stop taking the drug, it’s not easy but it’s worth the fight.

I am having the same terrible itching described by the former Zyrtec users, only I went of ALLEGRA cold turkey. Thanks for sharing. I was freaking out wondering why this was happening. Now I believe it is allergy medicine withdrawal and after nearly a week have the strength to power through another week believing it will then go away.

As a doctor of 35 yrs inpractice, I did not realize the the existance of severe withdraw itching until I have the problem myself. I have been taking this Citirizine for about 3 plus years. Like exactly people described above, severe itching and hives developed all over my body when I stopped taking it. It seems time sensitive, i.e., one tablet would cover me 36 hours free of symptoms. However, if I missed taking it right before the time limit, my skin start to itching, and hives start to develop. I tried to wean it off three times, but failed due to unbearable itching. My lips swelled, eyelid swelled. I am afraid some day my epiglottis or throat swelled that I could not breathing and died of this horrible medicine. I checked medical literature and searched medical database. To my surprise, there is no report of this side effect culaused by Cetirizine withdraw. I think there should be an organization to initiate an campaigns to stop this dangerous medicine on the market.

Have been taking zyrtec for 6 months due to chronic uticara. Dr has wanted to do allergy testing so needed me to go off. Put me on prednisone because each time I have tried to go off my hives come back with a vengeance. This time 1st day I was fine that night was up at 2 itching like crazy and huge hives. Dr told me to try childrensomething does of allegra. I am on day three and itching like crazy even with benadryl. Not sure whether to go to 1/2 a day or continue cold tukey. I don’t know how much mote I can take.

I was told to take cetirizine hydrochloride for a serious poison ivy problem, along with benedryl and prednisone. I was only on it for 4 days, now I am intolerably itchy everywhere. This is ridiculous. I can’t wean slowly, I am breastfeeding. I guess I will just have to wait it out.

This is my experience. I have been on Ceterizine for about 7 years now after allergy testing and a battery of allergy shots. I decided to stop the shots after about 3 years because I wasn’t seeing any real benefits or changes but continued on the certerizine.

A few years later I had a sinus procedure done for extreme congestion, which I will never do again in office. Anyway, I attended my follow up visit and was told to start preparing for allergy testing in a few days. Was told not to take my medication while preparing for this because of the interaction it can cause.

About my 4th day of not taking my Ceterizine I woke up that Saturday morning, and my face was totally distorted (puffed up and unrecognizable). I headed off to the ER where I was placed on an antibiotic, IV prednisone, and I believe Benadryl. After lying in the bed with IV, etc. I began to feel my facial swelling decrease. I could actually feel it going down. They kept me there for a couple of hours, running tests, and they cleared me to leave. I have not had the allergy testing done, however I do want to come off this medication. My skin does itch slightly and is discolored and blotchy, and I am beginning to feel that it’s partly due to this medication.

I look at pics prior to this, and my skin looks much better. I want off this medication. Any advice on how to get this monster out of my life. Want nothing more to do with Ceterizine.

I’ve been itching a lot for a couple of days now with hives in scalp and was trying to figure out what I was doing differently. I looked up to see if pollen would make you itch when I remembered I had run out of Zyrtec a few days ago. I found my answer.

I have finally weaned my disease to just 1/5 of a pill. Then I decided to go cold turkey since the symptoms were less than cold turkeying from a full dose. I’m at week three without take a dose and my symptoms have gradually gotten better. Still scratching my scalp and body everywhere but I don’t itch as much and I’m hoping I’m near the finish line.

Oh my goodness! I’m so glad to hear so many others suffer from this as well. Years ago I tried to get off of Ceterizine and after so much itching, I couldn’t do it. I asked my Dr. and she said, “Why do you want to get off of it if it’s working?” I just want to be drug free! So, tomorrow I am going to start weaning off by taking 1/2 pill for a few days then slowly cut down. Sure hope I can do it this time.

What do you mean by 1/5?

I am a physician (MD) and have also been trying to quit loratidine/ cetirizine since half way through med school circa 2010. I usually give up because I wouldn’t be able to focus on taking care of you, my patients.

It’s real despite its lack of coverage in the medical literature and annoyingly many of my colleagues and even own physician (yes doctor’s have their own doctor’s so we don’t doctor ourselves) won’t acklowlege this side effect (yes, many of my classmates and colleagues have this weird mindset that if its not found pub med it doesn’t exist).

The closet I’ve got to weaning off H1 Blockers is when I was eating a plant based paleo no flour, no sugar diet and many of my seasonal allergies cleared up. I have my own personal reasons for not wanting to take a short course of steroids but that would probably be the best bet. However, if you haven’t cleaned up your diet (or moved to a different environment so your not exposed to your triggers) it’s highly likely you will have the same allergy problem even if you successfully do wean off it.

I’m I the process of moving toward a plant based vegan diet and will soon try to wean off again, and update my progress with my experimental N= 1 study.

As a doctor do you think you would ever be able to perscribe such a steroid course?

What steroids specifically should I ask for?

I am a computer programmer who took zyrtec for about 2 years. Now, I have weened down to like 1/8th (or less) of a pill every day, but still, like clockwork the withdrawal kicks in every time I go more than 36 hours.

It prevents me from being able to sleep or do my job properly as I can’t focus.

Dan B.

I go on Zyrtec every March, when the growing season starts, and come off every November when it gets cold enough that growth has essentially stopped. Every November, I go off cold turkey and suffer two weeks of horrendous itching. After two weeks, the itching stops and life returns to normal. Sometimes it is almost unbearable. I considered breaking down and taking a Zyrtec last night, when I couldn’t stop scratching. I was worried that I was going to draw blood; but I’m one week in now, and don’t want to throw the towel in. Moisturizers and anti itch lotions don’t seem to help…

So glad to have found this site.
I’ve only been taking cetirizine for 6 months. Just 1 or 2 tablets a week. This is mainly due to seasonal change….. and as a mother I cannot afford to feel sick or sneezy. That part worked…. haven’t had the flu, nothing. I stopped taking them when I went camping on a long weekend a 5 day period, wasn’t til I got home that my feet and hand became so itchy it was unbearable. It’s like my body had a withdrawal symptoms. I started taking cetirizine every 2nd day after that…. basically every 2nd morning at 8 am it would start again. After trying to eliminate certain foods even hygiene items I’ve realize the past week that it isn’t any of these things but the cetirizine itself. I have taken half a tablet and it’s been nearly 72 hours since I have had any. I do get the occasional itch, but try to ignore it as much as possible. Going to avoid as much as possible………. What poison!

Thank you for providing information that will help people going through the hell of trying to quit Zyrtec (cetirizine) . I took it for 10 years and decided to quit cold turkey since it was no longer helping control my post-nasal drip and related chronic cough. I experienced hives over my entire body, and unbearable—and I mean UNBEARABLE—itching that was so bad it burnt. I couldn’t work, leave the house, do anything. After two days of waiting for it to subside—and using cold showers, Sarna anti-itch lotion, cortisone cream, etc. to treat the reaction—I finally took a Zyrtec out of desperation and the itching disappeared within minutes. Over the next few months, I went from 3/4 of a tab to 1/2. But it took me about 3 years to get to 1/4 tab. If I didn’t take the 1/4 tab, I would begin itching again. Now, after about 7 years of trying to quit completely, I’ve had to stop the 1/4 tab for allergy testing. I’m experiencing periodic itching, but nothing like before. Maybe I will be finally free from this awful med. I hate Zyrtec and what t does to people! I wish all of you going through initial Zyrtec withdrawal the best.

Thank you to whoever put this forum together, and thank you all for sharing your ordeals and how you coped with them.

I live on a remote island that is almost a 12 hr flight from LosAngeles in the South Pacific. A week ago I ran out of Zyrtec, and in the course of 4 days I had experienced some of the worst hives and itchy symptoms in my entire life…Benadryl was my only relief, and working 3 jobs is difficult enough without the drowsy side effects.

Immediately after reading this forum, I ran out to the only place on island that sells Zyrtec, and found instant relief. Thank you all for sharing this information. When I am ready to take the plunge of quitting Zyrtec, at least I have an idea of what kind of punishment to expect. God bless you all. Peace

I kicked heroin and marajuana(was equally hard to quit) yall can kick zyrtec i need my allergy meds or internal hives would kill me

I weened myself off of zyrtec over a period of 3 weeks. I took 10 mg of zyrtec every day for the last 15 years. I started weening myself by taking ~7.5 mg for a week, ~5 mg for a week, then ~2.5 mg for a week. Then i stopped completely. I have been SO itchy. I actually broke down and took a benadryl today because I was about to scratch sores into my skin. I can only hope that this doesn’t go on for too much longer. Its comforting at least to know that other people have this issue as well.

I have found Vicks Vapo Rub can help me with itching skin.
Maybe it could assist others as well?

Last year I had hives so bad that my dermatologist suggested four Zyrtec a day, two in the morning and two at night. They didn’t make the hives go away but kept the itching in check and also kept them off my lips and eye area. Over the course of the year, the hives began to diminish on their own ( a lot of stress was relieved in my life which was probably the cause to begin with), I was able to cut the Zyrtec way back to finally one a day. I have not had as bad withdrawals as some but I do notice that I still have to take one at least one day a week and sometimes more as the hives will return. I am now wondering if this is the reason why. Another interesting thing is that when I was taking 4 a day when the hives were so bad, the pills did not make me sleepy ( a doctor friend of my daughter’s couldn’t believe I could function on that much) now just one makes me groggy all day. I find it all interesting. I’m trying to wean slowly and hopefully it will eventually clear up on its own.

I’ve read all these comments regarding Zyrtec. All I can say is thank God for People’s Pharmacy! I don’t take Zyrtec, but you are a blessing for these people! To suffer like this is a catastrophe and by posting it probably helped many!

Add lyrica to the list of medications that cause unbearable withdrawal symptoms. With the comments I have read about this, and trying to stop other meds cold turkey, I began a systematic campaign to get off lyrica – slowly. Doctors are given samples of 50mg and 75mg caps to start people on this drug. I began accumulating these little bottles/latterly cards of this medication. My dosage was 300mg twice a day. First I worked down the morning dose, reducing 25mg every week. When I got to 150mg and needed a refill, I asked the doctor for 270 of the 150mg caps. Since I was in the donut hole, I discovered that 270 vs 180 caps of the higher dose, actually cost me 50% more. That is how cheap the medication is. My cost was a bit over $600. Went on my credit card balance. I began reducing the night dose the same way, 25mg a week. The burning was worse; but, unexpectedly, I have begun itching too. When I got to the last 25mg reduction, bringing the night dose to 200mg, I could not sleep because the burning and itching were so bad. I tried to stick it out; but a week later, I caved. I went up 25mg at night, not enough. Another 25 and yet another. Now I am at 150mg, still, in the morning, and 275mg at night. And still itching, but I can now sleep thru it. Assuming I can get enough small caps to stay at that dose, next year, there will be no monetary savings (my primary reason for wanting to eliminate this expensive med). Not to mention brain fog. I believe the pharmaceutical industry knows full well how addictive to the body these medications can be, perhaps they even tweak them until they are, and all in the name of obscene profits – based on our terrible suffering.

THANK GOD for this site. I don’t take Zyrtec every day, but I have taken it for nearly ten years. I too questioned my allergies, because away from peak season, my only issue is itchy skin. It kicks in 3 days after my last dose, and is unbearable. So inevitably I take another Zyrtec and relief.
I have brought this up to my doctor and she was baffled. She said I must have some other allergy. But I know my body and this itchiness is Zyrtec withdrawal.. I’m going to try and press through this time now that it’s clear I don’t need this medication and this symptom is real. Doctors need to be made aware of this problem so that when patients bring it up they are informed. And I would never advise someone to start taking it.

Hi, just reading all this info and I totally agree. I’ve been taking Zyrtec for at least 10 years.
What I have realised after many blood tests, tongue scrapes etc is that the bitter taste that occurs in my mouth 24/7 off and on for years is caused by the chemist brand or generic of this medication.

It was on and off because depending on the chemist I was in I would buy Zyrtec sometimes and the generic others. I finally worked it out. This bitter metallic taste was driving me crazy and was the result of 15 kilo of weight gain as the only time I couldn’t taste it was when strong flavours like salt and vinegar chips or chocolate were in my mouth.
I hope if this is happening to anyone else this helps. Generic medication is not the same, it’s made up differently and uses different binding and additives.

I’ve been having the exact same problem (long-lasting bitter taste without any apparent cause) after taking the Canadian equivalent of Zyrtec the whole summer… I stopped taking it yesterday and was curious as to how long it took for you to get rid of that awful taste once you stopped taking it/switched…?

I was using Claritin (with no side effects or withdrawal symptons) on and off for years in response to environmental allergies as needed. This spring, Claritin wasn’t working for me. My allergist recommended Zyrtec in its place and it worked. She advised that I wait until June to stop taking it and then come in for allergy testing.

I have been trying to get off Zyrtec for weeks. The first time I tried, I became itchy and congested in the middle of the night on day 2. It was unbearable and I ended up going back on Zyrtec, upon which all symptoms stopped. I attributed this to my allergies, which I thought were still floating around in my environment and that it wasn’t yet the right time for me to stop.

Two weeks later I tried the same thing, and the exact same thing happened. Once again, I figured that the allergens were still bothering me and I shouldn’t yet stop. Two weeks later I tried again and had the same thing happen Now, it’s mid July and I was convinced that there are no spring allergens left to bother me. I tried once again to quit and this time made it to day 3 before the withdrawal type of symptoms began.

At first I woke up on day 3 with tiny hives – looked almost like miniature mosquito bites (not the more common big warm bumpy hives) on my legs – specifically behind my knees and on my ankles, and one on my arm. I thought I was attacked my some insects during the night, but my husband didn’t get any and I was suspicious that they didn’t really look like bites. As the day went on, I noticed that I was itching my scalp in various places all day. Last night (end of day 3), I experienced that itchy throat and congestion (no additional hives).

Today is day 4 and that’s when I decided to google “zyrtec withdrawal” and found all of these posts. I’m very relieved that I did! I am motivated and determined to stick it out. The itching has not stopped and is now moving around all over my body, but I am fortunate that it does not seem to be as unbearable (yet) as some of the others who have posted.

Check with a doctor metallic taste is a classic symptom of kidney problems.

I suffered from migranes a few years ago, my Dr put me on pitzofen. My migranes went away. But I started itching all over, so my dr told me to take hayfever tablets. There is an antihistamine in the pitzofen, the same as in the hayfever tablet. 7 years on , I’m taking cetirizine hydrochloride twice a week just to keep the itching away. Again with alot of you guys, i’m sure it is an antihistamine withdrawal. I still have no answers and I would like to give this up.

hi all, I started with NSAID induced urticaria 3 years ago, i was given chlorphenamine 4mg, i am now trying to stop taking it, and believe me, the problem is every bit as bad as you all say. I think it can happen with all antihistamines. My doctor doesn’t believe me either, she just says its still the urticaria. I am going mad with this terrible itch, but it is a different itch to the urticaria, its more like prickly heat, and on every part of my body. My skin is so very dry and painful. If i use any type of emollient or dry skin cream it itches more. I just wondered if anyone new of a moisturiser that would help dry skin, without any greasy feeling, and would soak into my very painful skin. Good luck and best wishes to all of you.

I had the itching problem and went to see my dermatologist. She said my skin was dry and the Zyrtec was masking the problem. I have changed soap and shampoo and have found myself able to get off Zyrtec by treating the problem.

Day 5 of withdrawal from the generic form of Zyrtec. The waves of itching EVERYWHERE are torture! Oatmeal bath helped a little, taking benadryl up until the last possible allowable moment before allergy testing tomorrow helped stop the madness and let me sleep for one night. My daughter was taking this briefly as well – no more. I will never do Cetirizine again and am asking the doctor tomorrow what alternatives there are. I’ll take shots before I ever take that again.
On the bright side, I think the CIA has a new torture tool to add to their book of tricks, I would tell them anything to make this STOP!

I, too, am experiencing the itching that results from going off this drug. I’ve been taking 10 mg of Cetirizine HCI for about 2 years. I got a clue a few times when I forgot to take it, and noticed weird itching within about 24 hours, usually the hands and feet. This time it’s much worse, affecting my whole body, since I’m going without it for 5 days in order to prepare for a visit to an allergist for a thorough allergy screening. It’s a real problem and should certainly be recognized by the medical community, the FDA, etc. I’ve seen that some people recommend vitamin C to counteract the affect, and it seems to help. Also, some topical creams might help. Personally, I think a glass of wine or some other alcoholic drink can help a little. Mine seems to get worse in the evening, I suspect because I’m getting tired and maybe my body is less resilient and able to cope with the stress, harder to ignore the itching. I also recommend distractions such as walking, staying active, etc. I will definitely tell my friends and recommend that they slowly reduce their dependency on this addictive drug by reducing over time the amount they take and try to get off of it entirely.

I, too, am experiencing the itching that results from going off this drug. I’ve been taking 10 mg of Cetrizine HCI for about 2 years. I got a clue a few times when I forgot to take it, and noticed weird itching within about 24 hours, usually the hands and feet. This time it’s much worse, affecting my whole body, since I’m going without it for 5 days in order to prepare for a visit to an allergist for a thorough allergy screening. It’s a real problem and should certainly be recognized by the medical community, the FDA, etc. I’ve seen that some people recommend vitamin C to counteract the affect, and it seems to help. Also, some topical creams might help. Personally, I think a glass of wine or some other alcoholic drink can help a little. Mine seems to get worse in the evening, I suspect because I’m getting tired and maybe my body is less resilient and able to cope with the stress, harder to ignore the itching. I also recommend distractions such as walking, staying active, etc. I will definitely tell my friends and recommend that they slowly reduce their dependency on this addictive drug by reducing over time the amount they take and try to get off of it entirely.

Per my allergist’s direction I have been on 1 Zyrtec pill daily for the past four years to help with seasonal allergies. I came off them this January 2015 to be retested by a new allergist. Coming off Zyrtec cold turkey for a few days was a nightmare. I had extreme burning/itching in my hands and feet. The pain was so bad I could not sleep through the night.

The only thing that helped me was cold treatments in the form of cold running water and ice packs applied to my hands and feet. It was a very stressful and painful several days to say the least. After my allergy testing was completed I went back on the Zyrtec and within 30 minutes of taking the pill all of the negative symptoms disappeared! I asked my allergist and general physician about this problem and the connection to coming off Zyrtec and they both denied that my symptoms were in anyway related to coming off or going back on Zyrtec. They said that Zyrtec is a terrific drug and perfectly safe to take daily for indefinitely long periods of time.

Suspicious, I Googled this problem and found lots of info online about other peoples’ similar experience. I stayed on Zyrtec for another two weeks so I could catch up on sleep having not slept for days. I then took myself off Zyrtec with a very gradual taper. I purchased liquid Zyrtec so I could reduce my dosage by 1 milligram every two weeks. For the first two months the taper was no problem at all. I experienced no negative symptoms or problems at all. When I finally got my liquid Zyrtec dose down to 3 milligrams I experienced extreme Vertigo and itching/burning in my hands and feet again. It was excruciating. I could hardly focus to safely drive or walk. Moving my head quickly make everything around me spin and getting out of bed in the morning was very difficult. Additionally, I was having problems sleeping though the night again with all of the itching and burning in my hands and feet.

Determined to never take an antihistamine again I continued tapering off of Zyrtec. The Vertigo and burning persisted. Finally after several weeks of these symptoms I was desperate for help so I went to see a Naturopathic doctor for an alternative opinion. Unlike my allergist and general practitioner, my Naturopathic doctor said she had heard of situations like this before. In short, she said that my body had been producing too much histamine over the years and now that I came off the Zyrtec the excess histamine was causing a lot of inflammation in my nervous system and my body. She recommended I take daily vitamin B pills as well as get vitamin B injections weekly for 6 weeks. Additionally, she suggested I take D-Hist to naturally help manage the histamine in my body. I did not take the D-Hist as I wanted to do one thing at a time to clearly see what what causing what outcome. I did get weekly Vitamin B injections and take daily vitamin B pills.

The Vitamin B injections and pills have helped me tremendously. My Vertigo is at a lower level and the burning/itching had also decreased to a lower level. Wanting to be off of all medications, I stopped taking the pills and injections after several weeks and within days the vertigo and burning symptoms came back. It was clear to me that the Vitamin B is really helping calm my nervous system and it is going to take a long time to heal. I share my experience so those who are struggling with this nasty problem can consider a more natural approach to helping their body heal. Stay strong and know that coming off Zyrtec or any antihistamine is the right choice in the long run! Good luck!

I am in a protracted withdrawal from benadryl. I have been suffering from severe itching and insomnia. I have also gone off of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in the past year. Benadryl was the last thing to become free of. I don’t think I’ll ever trust another doctor or take another drug if I can help it.

I just stopped taking Benadryl for an allergy test a couple of days ago. I have been itching since yesterday. I found this article and thought maybe that since Zyrtec is an antihistamine that maybe stopping Benadryl (an antihistamine) can cause the itching too. I am so glad I saw your comment. I am not going crazy!

I’ve been taking Cetirizine Hydrochloride twice a day for chronic urticaria since 2012. I’ve tried coming off it a few times, but 38 hours after my last dose is as long as I’ve managed. After 38 hours I get sick at both ends and start to itch. These are the same symptoms I began taking the medication for.

I have autoimmune issues, many, and I’d had hives and a swollen face for 6 months when I went on the medication. My story is similar to others here. I was hospitalised at one point because I had chest pain, and the urticaria was in full bloom. The immunologists shrugged their shoulders and had no interest in testing me for allergies but put me straight on Cetirizine Hydrochloride. Later I had IgG tests done and came up with a host of triple plus bad foods that are everyday staples. Cutting these things out of my diet helped enormously, but still I can’t come off the medication. I don’t understand people being surprised their symptoms return when they go off the medication. How is that the fault of the medication? My current issue is that I seem to be developing a resistance to it. For the last week I’ve been getting itchier and itchier, even while taking it, and I’m worried it’s becoming less effective.

My husband is a doctor and when I went through this crazy itching I got the impression that he didn’t believe that zyrtec caused it because a. it didn’t happen to him and b. it isn’t written in their literature!

I agree they should at least put it in the info so that when people go through this they don’t think they’re crazy! I was actually checking the bed for fleas or bedbugs. I just started taking it again because it does work for my allergies. The itching is nasty and I as miserable but I think if I really wanted to stop I could have lived through it knowing that it wasn’t my mind, bugs, or something else nutty and that there would be an end in sight. Good luck all. You aren’t crazy!!!!!! :)

So glad I found this. Every time I stopped taking Zyrtec (or Reactine, another brand with Cetirizine in it) in Autumn, when my hayfever was over, I had this unbearable iching allover my body. Made me crazy. I shared my suspicion (that is was a withdrawal effect of Zyrtec) with my GP but she never heard of it and didn’t believe it. She thought I suffered eczema and prescribed cortisols and the like. Since that did not help at all and it kept coming back every time I stopped the cetirizine, I started searching the Internet and finally, after searching in English instead of Dutch, found the hundreds of reports of people with exactly the same experience! I’ll take a printout to my GP next time.

I have been taking Zyrtec (and the generic form) for almost 6 years now. I went to my doctor 6 years ago with minor but annoying spring allergy symptoms. My doctor told me to start taking a 24 hour antihistamine, either Zyrtec or Claritin. I took Claritin first but found no relief so I began the daily dose of Zyrtec (Which took away my allergy symptoms).

I went into it thinking that Zyrtec was just a minor non-threatening medication. 6 years later I entered my first year of college. When I came back from spring break I had only 1-2 more pills left and decided to wait until my prescriptions were ready before walking 15 minutes to the nearest CVS. I thought it would be no problem being off of my allergy medicine for a few days. About 3-5 days later I began feeling itchy on my arms and legs. Today, I am excruciatingly itchy EVERYWHERE. I literally mean everywhere. I thought it was dry skin from the recent Winter season so I started putting lotion on every few hours. Nothing was helping though, warm showers, lotion, and actually scratching the irritated skin. Finally I started getting tiny red bumps all over me. That’s when I decided to research the issue. That is when I came across this website with so many others going through the same problem as I am. I’m so glad I finally have a reason for my suffering! I am going to slowly decrease the amount of Zyrtec that I take to slowly get myself off of this medicine. I don’t ever want to feel like this again! If anyone you know is taking Zyrtec, warn them about the potential withdrawal symptoms.

A doctor told my son to start taking Zyrtec for some allergy problems. My son started taking them and couldn’t stop. Every time he tried, he would have terrible itching especially on his head. He couldn’t sleep so we would put him back on. This went on for 3 years. His mood got worse and worse and he was impossible to wake up in the morning. We finally realized that he was very depressed. When he nearly jumped out our 8 story window because we were trying to wake him up, we realized something was very wrong. I searched Zyrtec and depression and I couldn’t believe it. It seems along with the itching withdraws, depression is a common side effect. He tried another similar product and the depression got even worse. I saw some studies saying over 10 percent have depression on Zyrtec and very few get over it. He, like some studies suggest, has not improved much at all over the past 3 or so years. He is trying to go to college and hold a part-time job, but can’t do either due to the depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Why weren’t there any warnings? My son’s life has been ruined by this drug and you can still buy it and eat it like popcorn. Does anyone know of a way to get past the depression Zyrtec causes?

I had taken Zyrtec, or the generic kind, every day for about 13 years and I’ve finally managed to quit, which is a gigantic relief.

I had tried on several occasions to go cold-turkey, but found that I could only hold out for 4-5 days at most, before it became unbearable.

The clue is to decrease the dosage gradually and test your limit at each time and stick with it for a few days to build up your tolerance. It’s important to be patient, especially if you’ve taken it for a long time. It took me about 3-4 months to quit altogether, but in the end it was totally worth it.

Another tip would be to perhaps supplement your decrease in dosage with an anti-inflammatory such as Dispril just to take some of the edge off.

I taking cetirizine in 4 year every 2 or 3 days after I need citirizine I want to stop citirizine plz help me.

Been on Zyrtec for over 10 years now and have just stopped. Been itching for a week uncontrollably. Does anybody have a solution?

I have been taking Zyrtec for many years and now I’m trying to wean myself off of Zyrtec. My body is itching all over, this drug couldn’t be good for our body. I had to stop taking it because I was so dry and I was drinking a 16 oz bottle of water during the night while trying to sleep. I know that I will need it again once Spring arrives for my seasonal allergies. But, physicians and medical staff should be aware of this condition when trying to stop taking this drug and they should have an alternative for those who need to stop taking Zyrtec. The first time I tried to stop, I was instructed to because I needed to have my allergies tested. Who do we contact to get help? The itching must stop, I did try taking a Benadryl before going to bed and that helps until the following day.

Histamine that has built up over the years, that you did not feel as you were on this drug, that you have to flush out and heal over.

I have taken Zyrtec for many years in the spring for allergies this year every time I try to stop taking it I itch uncontrollably. The doc has put me on 2 other antihistamines so now I take 3 different ones everyday. Yesterday I ran out of Zyrtec and didn’t have any to take this am so I figured since I had the other 2 I would be ok, but to my surprise here comes the itching.
After going to the store and taking my Zyrtec the itching is just about gone now. I read this and I am thinking this is my problem also. Does anybody else notice when you touch something to your skin our just lightly scratch your skin when your not itching that it turns bright red. This happens when washing in the shower and drying off.

I have been taking Zyrtec daily for about 8 years. 2.5 years ago, I tried to quit for 5 days to undergo allergy skin testing. On about the third day, the itching was so intense, I was squealing and crying… Trying not to claw my skin off. I called the EENT that ordered the tests, and he told me to take Benadryl, then resume the Zyrtec. I had to forego the allergy testing because I couldn’t go 5 days off of it. I thought the itching was due to allergies, not withdrawal- as suggested by my doctor.
Two nights ago, I decided to stop taking the zyrtec since it’s off season for my allergies. This morning I awoke to the unbearable itching again. I now know that the withdrawal is what caused the symptoms the last time. The last time, the itching stopped about 30 minutes after taking 2 Benadryl, so I’m considering trying an alternative antihistamine to get me through this; one with no withdrawal symptoms.

After taking Zyrtec nearly every day for 5 years, I weaned myself off… 1 pill every other day for 3 months. The itching the 2nd day was horrible, but I got used to it. Then half a pill for a month, finally off totally almost a month ago. Holy crap.. I have bruises, scabs, and there have been times I felt as though my skin was on fire. I have been taking Benadryl at night and someone just recommemded Qucertin. I feel all your pain, I will never go back.

I tried everything to come off the tablets, but just couldn’t hack it as the itching from head to toe got unbearable. Now, I am off citrizine completely after years of trying to work it out. Doctors were useless. What was the culprit? Caffeine. I found a different forum with just one sufferer that mentioned it. It seemed to make sense, so I switched to decaf tea & coffee & stopped the chocolate. A week went by with no citrizine and the itching was getting less everyday. It’s now been a month. It’s great. I also lowered my sugar intake. I hope this helps people.

I have decided to go cold turkey off of Cetirizine HCL (Zyrtec). Today is day 6 of my withdrawal.

The symptoms that I have been enduring are intense itching all over my body in intervals, which includes rashes and hives.

Itch Scale will be a number from 1-10.

Days 1-5 I had mild to heavy itching (3-5) I started getting hives in random places on my body. I mostly got hives on my chest and on my back. Those have gone away today.

Day 6 I have been continuously itchy all over my body and look like I’m on crack or something because I am constantly itching myself. Today has been the worst the symptoms have ever been. The itching is so bad (9) that it is becoming painful. My incessant scratching is only making it worse. The webpage, IFLScience, states, ”After investigating itching in mice, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that scratching causes the brain to release your “happy hormone” serotonin, which actually makes the itch worse” (Alford. Para 2).
So clearly it is a bad idea to scratch an itch, as it will only make it worse. I just endured an hour-long itching spell that was terrible (8-9). I had intense itching on my legs, face, stomach, and arms. I applied some Fluocinonide Ointment USP, 0.05% to the rash areas. It continued to itch for about 5 minutes and seemed to quell the itch sensations. My eyes itch a lot as well and I cannot apply this ointment to any open orifice of my body (not that I would want to).


Alford, Justine. “Why Does Scratching An Itch Make It Worse?” IFLScience. IFLScience, 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 05 Nov. 2014.

With a diagnosis of CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome), I was having recurrent sinus infections and pneumonia. I did have seasonal allergies, which here in Florida the “season” can last nearly all year! My doctor had recommended an antihistamine to decrease the post nasal drip, because excessive mucus can contribute to bacterial infections. I tried several different ones and settled on Zyrtec because although it did not make me drowsy per se, it did seem to quell my anxiety (related to, “omg my SSDI was denied and I’m too sick to work a regular job, how am I going to survive?!”), as one might expect from a cousin of phenothiazine sedatives.

It seemed to work very well at first, and I only took it during “allergy season/s,” although over time I noted that the “seasons” seemed to last longer, and eventually I ended up taking it every day, because whenever I failed to take the drug, I had terrible rhinitis, sneezing and skin itching. After 13 years I was having significant weight gain and my hair was falling out in clumps until I was nearly bald and had to wear a wig. Having done some study of holistic medicine, I decided to detox from all my prescriptions. The withdrawal from Zyrtec was unexpected, hellish and reminiscent of what I had read about heroin withdrawal. First, my allergic symptoms were so overwhelming I could barely breathe, and my skin broke out in hives.

So then I decided to taper off by taking increasingly smaller doses over time, but it was still difficult. I had the worse allergy symptoms ever. My eyes watered and nose ran constantly, and I felt like there were insects crawling underneath my skin. I was very anxious and saw demonic things in my peripheral vision. I had crying fits, headache, insomnia, muscle cramps, nightmares and night terrors. I thought I was losing my mind. After a couple of weeks the symptoms gradually abated and for the first time in years, I felt wide awake and had more energy; I had been sedated for years. With the drug effects finally gone, my allergies also settled down.

Amazingly, I was able to clean the chicken coop without any allergic reaction whatsoever! My energy level improved significantly, my weight returned to normal, and my hair began to grow back. Eventually, in retrospect I realized that the medications had actually exacerbated my CFIDS symptoms as well as my allergies. Is Zyrtec effective for allergies? yes! It is also helpful for anxiety. But there is a price to pay: You trade allergic reactions and anxiety for dependence on the drug, and if/when you withdraw, the allergies and anxiety will rebound tremendously. At least, that was my experience. Nowadays I will take Zyrtec on very rare occasions for severe acute allergic reactions and/or insomnia, but NOT on a regular or daily basis.

I have been on Zyrtec for about 6 or 7 years and if I forgot to take one I immediately started itching. I thought it was due to allergies so I would run and take a Zyrtec. I was so happy to see this because I stopped it 2 days ago and I’m itching so bad I can hardly sit here at work. Thanks for some of the ideas to relieve this and I won’t be taking any more drugs to try to quit this one. The natural way will have to do for me and I’ll try the vitamin c and eating vegetables to see if it helps. I have been drinking a lot of water and that does seem to help too. I know tapering off would be better, but too late now. I’m already 2 days into this and I’m riding it out.

How is the cold turkey approach working? I have taken myself down to 1 pill every other day – for the past 3 months, but that 2nd day is still a challenge with all the itching. I really want off of this stuff. Keep us updated.

Roughly twenty-four months ago I started taking fexofenadine for a sudden onset of physical urticaria. When Spring came around I found I was beginning to become extremely allergic to outdoor allergens and pollens and even my cat, for the first time in my life (I’ve always been around cats since I was a child, so this was a bit bizarre). So I switched to cetirizine.

I wasn’t taking it religiously every single day – I was taking fexofenadine when I felt the hives, and certirizine when I was sneezing and my sinuses were playing up. Eventually I stopped the fexofenadine altogether because I felt it wasn’t working on the hives anymore. But still, I wasn’t taking certirizine religiously every day. So I still had to fight off the unbearable itching every now and then. I put it down to uticaria and just learned to deal with it, unpleasant as it was.

Now that I’ve read all of these reports about the itching side effect of certirizine withdrawal I’ve decided to stop taking it for good, but I’m somewhat used to the itching as I’ve been suffering from it on and off for two years now. I went to the doctor twice in that time, incidentally, and all she did was prescribe prednisolone and a topical steroid. The prednisolone make me very, very ill, to the point where I can only take an eighth of a pill and only rarely. So it was either be very, very ill, suffer intense itching for what I thought was uticaria, or take the certirizine every day.

Now that I know what’s going on I think, like everyone else here, that the manufacturers of antihistamines should have to answer for all of this.

It’s been just over a month now and the itching was finally letting up a bit, until I started eating sugary breath mints. Then the itching came back with a vengeance. I noticed that someone else here mentioned caffeine, chocolate and sugar as triggers, well I absolutely agree 100%. I can say with certainty that sugar and chocolate definitely make it worse, however I don’t notice anything with caffeine personally. I also think that while you’re getting zyrtec out of your system you might become hypersensitive to things you were already sensitive to before. But it’s better than being a slave to a drug company for the rest of your life and suffering the dreaded itch when you try to break free.

was wondering if anyone had taken Benadryl when they stopped the Zyrtec – if that stopped the itching?

OMG I’m so glad I found these posts about Zyrtec. I’ve been taking Zyrtec for many many years but this past year I’ve found that if I forget to take it for a couple of days – my eyes itch, get red and my face starts to swell. I started to research whether taking this medication actually reduced the natural immunity your body has built up to allergens – when I found this site/info. This is crazy, not sure I want to go through the withdrawal process and symptoms as my allergies trigger my asthma. Thanks for the posts – at least now I know what is causing this.

I have been on Zyrtec for many years. I too have tried multiple times to withdraw from Zyrtec and the itching was very bad. This last time, I weaned myself off gradually and have been off it for 2 weeks. I have occasional itching, but every day is better. I will never take this medication again. It is wonderful to be off of it!
Connie Fisher

I have been on Zyrtec for seasonal and household allergies for a year. I was literally getting dried out. At my recent physical, my doctor told me to switch to a nasal spray rather than dray out the whole body. While Zyrtec stopped my sinus infections, I was always thirsty, woke up at least twice during the night to use the bathroom from all the water I drank. In fact, I had two UT infections this year, a rarity in my life.

So, I stopped taking the Zytec cold turkey and have awful itching, fist on my extremities, then on my arms, back. I woke up last night itching terribly under the arms. It’s awful. Why don’t doctors tell you. My ENT told me take it everyday, that it can’t hurt you. I’m making an appt. with him this week. I’m going to try natural remedies. Antihistamines are excessive.

I started taking the generic for zyrtec about a year ago due to seasonal allergies, and attempted to stop in the spring of this year. Lo and behold, I woke up on the 3rd day with my hands and feet itching like crazy. I had no idea what this was from, so went ahead and took by anti-histamine, cetirizine!
Of course the itching stopped, and I went about my day. I tried several times to stop this drug with the same results… Just a warning for the lay people out there, I have been a nurse for almost 10 years, and there is absolutely NO literature out there about this withdrawal reaction!!!
Decreasing the daily amount seems to be the only way to come off of this med…will be contacting the FDA thru their online site,

I am so glad I found this site because I now know that I am not crazy. I have been using Zyrtec or meds related to it for about 6 years for allergies. I tried several times to stop the use of this allergy drug, but would experience severe itching all over my body. I went to my allergist and explained to him my situation. Due to all of my allergies he said I had to continue using allergy medication. He said he had heard that Zyrtec can cause this reaction so he prescribed, Levocetirizi 5 mg. He said this should be easier to stop in my non-allergy season without having the itching. I have been trying to stop taking this medication since it is summer and allergens are not very high, but the itching returns very quickly. I don’t want to be on this drug (or any drug) for the rest of my life. I am going to try 1/2 of the pill every other day to see if I can start getting off of it this way by taking less and less.
If it doesn’t work then I will try to take Allegra or another allergy drug. I do give my kids children’ s Zyrtec during allergy season, they do not seem to go through this withdrawal when I stop giving it to them. Either way I will no longer give them Zyrtec or any generic form of it. Aside from the withdrawal effects I hope I don’t find out later in my life that this drug had caused some other health problem.

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