The People's Perspective on Medicine

Itching from Cetirizine Withdrawal

Stopping cetirizine can lead to unbearable itching that may last for several weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

Horrible Itching

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 several weeks, the itching slowly recedes and eventually disappears.

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

Several people indicate from their own experience that if you can get through the first month, the itching disappears within six weeks of stopping the drug. Please share your story of getting off cetirizine in the section below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Hi Guys,
I have finally gotten over the withdrawal phase and thought of sharing the experience in case it can helps anyone.

I started getting hives in Oct 2017 and doctor prescribed Cetirizine to me, one pill a day. It gave me an instant relief, and I took it for a month or so. But as soon as I stopped, the hives were back. Doctor had no solution, and I went to see a reputed allergist. She conducted skin prick tests, and I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies (about 30 allergens including very common items like spices & cereals). She asked me to take the pill only if it was necessary and to work on eliminating allergens completely. The problem was that it was nearly impossible to eliminate all the allergens especially when I was traveling as part of my job and eating out most days.

Every time after taking the pill, 2 days would pass normally, and itching would be back from third day. I would take the medicine by third day evening, and cycle would repeat. If I waited till night, itching would simply go to unbearable levels, and the night would pass like hell. It would take at least a few hours for me to be normal and to fall asleep after taking medicine at night during this phase. I followed this routine for about 1.5 years. Drowsiness from the pills were affecting the work, and I was getting paranoid about so many medicines going into my body.

After reading extensively through various forums on allergies and hives, I came across one of the suggestion to use aloe vera gel & cold press on the hives. Cold press didn’t help me much but aloe vera gel gave instant relief for a few hours. This helped me in pushing my medicine frequency by few hours on third day though not significantly and to have an instant relief before medicine started acting.

Through my online research I came across various forums including this one talking about withdrawal symptoms of Cetirizine, Levo-cetirizine & Allegra. I checked with the allergist, and she said the medicine is completely safe. I thought it’s just in my mind, and the medicine is the only thing helping me out through this phase. I came across a few blogs suggesting lifestyle tricks to cope with food allergies. I reduced my junk food consumption significantly and started following a healthy diet. I also started doing a fast for 2-3 days to eliminate food (& food allergens) completely from the body. Despite all that, there was no relief and that’s where I got skeptical about Cetirizine & Levo-cetirizine. I read all the forums and each comment talking about withdrawal symptoms. Experiences were so similar that I felt they were talking my story.

I decided to go cold turkey and couldn’t pass through even the third night no matter what I did. I read other solutions for tapering off the dosage. I started by reducing the dose to half. In a few weeks the frequency was un-altered, but consumption had halved. This gave me some psychological relief. Then I reduced the dosage to one-fourth and slowly to one eighth. Process took me about 2 months to reach the dosage from 1 to 1/8th. Then I decided again to go cold turkey. Those were the most painful days of this phase. Third night was torture, and that was only the beginning. I watched Netflix the whole night to distract myself. Aloe vera gel helped a lot. I had a stock of 3-4 units at every point of time. It was cheap (little more than a dollar) and extremely effective. Allergist had given various expensive creams but those never worked. I really wonder why doesn’t the medical community suggest natural and superior solutions?

On fourth night I applied Aloe vera gel every 30 minutes from head to toe. Though following nights were not any less, but I was learning to deal with the itching. I think the peak was on 8th day when I bit my lips so badly that it started to bleed but from there it kept reducing. All this while, I had 1/8th portion of Levo-cetirizine in my wallet but every-time that urge came I applied aloe vera gel and asked myself to wait for few more hours. In 3 weeks, itching was drastically reduced and after 4 weeks it was completely gone. I am still allergic to dust-mites and couple of food items, but the itching is very rare, and nothing compared what you get from Cetirizine. Getting rid of antihistamines, I feel energetic throughout the day and trying to build a healthy life-style to avoid any medicine in future. I am sure the pharma companies and doctor communities are well aware of the withdrawal symptoms patient get but they will not admit it for commercial reasons.

Hi guys,
I am 25 & have been dealing with allergies since I was 20. The doctor prescribed me levocetirizine & some nasal shots. I stopped using it after a few weeks in March, 2019 & had unbearable itching all over my body. I continued taking levocetirizine unaware that it was the reason for itching. Then at the beginning of June I stopped using medicines & switched to yoga & breathing exercises. Surprisingly, this has not only reduced my allergy symptoms but also my itching is completely gone. I would totally recommend you all to at least try yoga/breathing exercises for a week & continue doing it if it helps you.

I stopped all my allergy meds (Zyrtec and Singulair) 4 days ago in preparation for my allergy testing tomorrow. I was starting to think that my allergies were gone, as I wasn’t sneezing or having a runny nose. Then on day 3 the itching started. Figured it must be my allergy symptoms returning. Tonight I decided to Google it. Here I am. My itching isn’t as severe as I’ve read here. But definitely itching!! Hands, arms, legs. Used some Benadryl cream last night to save my hands! I’ve always noticed about 6 pm I start itching, thinking “Well, my medicine must be wearing off”. This is so irritating that it was just withdrawal symptoms!! I will not be going back on it. I started with Claritin years ago and then changed to Allegra for a few years then went to Zyrtec because I was thinking that I should change up the types I take. I’m curious what the doctor will say tomorrow.

I am going for allergy testing tomorrow. I’ve been itching for 3 days! I thought it must be an allergic reaction because I went off all my allergy meds (Zyrtec and singular). So I googled it and found this! I will not be going back on Zyrtec! Sounds like the doctors aren’t aware of this symptom. Curious about what mine will say tomorrow.

My itching isn’t severe like has been described here. But enough that I’ve been thinking that my skin is allergic to something! Used Benadryl cream last night because I was clawing the crap out of my hands! How irritating that we had no idea about this side effect!

I am 46 and have been taking Zyrtec for over 10 years and Claritin before that. I started taking antihistamines for hives that appeared while in a hot shower. My GP said to just take Claritin, and that would help, and it did. In 2002 I noticed Claritin wasn’t working so well so I made an allergy appointment. 4 days without any antihistamine med in me was terrible! Itching all over my scalp, hands, feet, arms, torso. Raised bumps wherever I itched. The allergist said it was just from my allergies getting worse.

After seeing an endocrinologist and an immunologist I then went on Zyrtec till this year. I noticed some break-through itching, and again when I went off this med the same unbearable itching happened. This time I googled the issue, and the internet was exploding with people having the same problem. I am currently on day 15 without any Zyrtec. Day 5 was awful, and I wanted to go to the hospital. I took a short-acting Benadryl, and it helped. The itching is slightly better at this point but I still react to scratches on my skin. I will keep you updated.

I have been taking ceterizine since I was 30. I am now 39 years old.
I started getting allergies when I was in my early 20’s and was prescribed loratadine.
I tried to stop taking the cetirizine a couple of times but always got this uncontrollable itching after 48 hours. I always thought it was my allergies acting up and continued taking the cetirizine.

This week I needed to come off of it for a whole week to have some patch tests done on request of my dermatologist. On day three I felt like I was losing my mind with the uncontrollable itching. What I noticed is that wherever pressure was applied to my skin it got hives and itched in that area.

In order to cope I wore light clothing and stayed in bed and did not touch anything. As long as I didn’t put pressure on the skin the itching was bearable. When I have to bathe or get dressed I have to focus and control myself not to scratch. I feel like I am losing my mind. I also have motion sickness-like symptoms.

I started googling what was happening to me and came across many people with the same withdrawal symptoms. I was shocked to learn that this drug that was freely prescribed to me by different doctors has such horrible withdrawal symptoms. I am determined not to go back on it and hope my symptoms won’t last to long. I bought Quercitin to help me cope with the itching yet I haven’t used it yet. Tomorrow is the last day I was asked by my dermatologist to stay off the drug during the testing.

I also contacted a holistic doctor to assist me in finding out what is causing my initial allergies separate from cetirizine. I read that the cause can either be leaky gut syndrome or an over-production of candida. From here on I am determined to treat the cause and no longer just the symptoms. Medical doctors have no clue how to treat the origin of allergies, and I will no longer go to them for it.

I hope to get help shortly so I can go back to living a normal drug-free life.
By the way, every allergy test my Dermatologist did cane back negative. Seems like all these years what I thought was allergy was the withdrawal symptoms.

What we go through doesn’t matter to the pharmaceutical companies. I hope one day that they do put the side effects of antihistamines in their brochures so we know what we are getting ourselves into.

I have been taking Zyrtec for about 5-6 years. I noticed the itching but never associated it woth the Zyrtec until one day it dawned on me the days I forget to take my Zyrtec the itching starts probably the 30-40 hour of not taking it. I actually have scratch marks. The only thing that will stop it is ice which is only for Alittle while and then the itching starts. It can literally be anywhere. Usually my legs. But i cant believe that. I asked my allergy doctor before she told me to take this. I just decided to google this and to my surprise alot more people apparently have the same problem.

I took Zyrtec for two or three days. I found it caused a sense of anxiety, which went away when I stopped taking it. I won’t take it again.

I too am experiencing extreme itchy arms, legs, feet, head enough to keep me busy with the agony. What are we to do? It doesn’t end even after I stopped taking it for 3 months. Finally I gave up. All I was doing was scratching. Couldn’t concentrate because it was that severe. Any ideas?

I stopped 16 months ago. Still have sporadic outbreaks of itching lasting a few days to a few weeks. Worst itching took place during first 6-8 weeks.

The only itch control method that seems to work are hot showers as often as it takes to arrest the itching.

Concerning Jim from Pittsburgh: I had a problem with showers for 2 years after a Niacin product. I now open the shower to no spray (like out of a faucet) and cool water and solved my itching problem.

I have been taking citrezine tablets for several years for hay fever and now I have hives. If I miss a tablet the itching starts and the hives are really itchy. I am seeing an immunologist on Monday and was told by the hospital receptionist to stop taking my medication for five days before the appointment.

I did stop and within a few hours the itching started absolutely unbearable covered myself in camomile lotion and wet fragrance free wet wipes to cool my skin. It is driving me crazy. Don’t know what to do with myself. I do want to withdraw from this drug but have broken my wrist and the itching under the plaster cast is driving me crazy. Not sleeping either.

So glad I have realised not going mad it is the drug. Will cut down and try to come off them and cut down eventually ridding myself of them I cannot wait to do this. it has been a nightmare!!!!!

Get liquid Zyrtec! You can get the generic form for children in liquid at Costco, so you can very slowly reduce the dosage like you’re unable to do with a tiny pill. I also had intense, unbearable itching trying to stop taking Zyrtec, and my doctor said that was simply my allergies making me itch and evidence that I needed to keep taking Zyrtec, but I knew the itch was much different, very deep, scratching didn’t help, and it was too much torture not to take another Zyrtec. I was able to cut back from a whole pill (10mg) to 1/2 a pill (5mg), without itching, but when I tried to go to 1/4 pill, the itch was too bad. So I got liquid Zyrtec and decreased my dosage by 1mg per week, and it worked! If there’s any breakthrough itching, I found ice packs on the itch also helped.

I have been taking Zyrtec for 2 years now everyday due to the intense allergies I was enduring during the spring and summer months. A couple weeks ago I decided to stop taking it because the temperatures were basically zero and I didn’t rhink I would need to take Zyrtec in the winter because of how cold it was. On day 2 I noticed some brief itching but wasn’t able to connect the dots but on day 3 the itching was so bad that I couldn’t think in school and couldn’t stop scratching. I looked up Zyrtec as a possible culprit and low and behold it was. I’m now on day 6 and the itching is still extremely distracting and almost torture like! I’m really upset that the FDA allows such drugs than can be so addictive without any warning. I’m now taking Allegra every other day in hopes that the itching will just go away after time but honestly I don’t know what else to do except wait it out….

I have taken zyrtec for years and recently decided to stop. Anytime I have gone more than 24 hrs without the pill I would start itching like crazy. Recently, I decided to stop using zyrtec and the withdrawl symptoms are very similar to someone who is in detox. I am literally going crazy with withdrawl affects that cause me to itch all over my body in a manner that can not be soothed. I caved in and had to take another pill – as if I was addicted – and I am not sure how to wean off this horrible drug. The FDA should ban this drug or at the very minimum make them place a label on it that says withdrawl from the drug can lead to severe and uncontrollable itching.

I’ve been taking Zyrtec for about four years or so, due to really intense allergies. About a year ago I began noticing that if I ran out of my Zyrtec or forgot to take it, I would begin to itch. Mostly the itching would occur on my hands, feet, and scalp. I went back on it immediately and didn’t really give it a second thought until recently. I ran out again about a week ago and was extremely sick at the time. I didn’t have the time or the energy to go purchase more. I’m on day 6 now and, although I’m no longer sick, I refuse to go buy any more. The itching I’m experiencing now is excruciating. I forgot how much I wanted to be off of this medication for this reason exactly. I took an Allegra today, hoping that maybe this would relieve some of the itchiness. I am hoping I can get through this withdrawal period, because I have decided that I do not want to go back on this medication. Any allergies I can handle better than I can handle this intense itching.

I have been gradually reducing the amount of Zyrtec I take little by little over the course of a year. I find that the itching is more easily tolerated in cold weather months vs. the heat of summer. For some reason, if my body heats up the itching gets worse, and that includes if I get too hot from too many covers in bed.

I am keeping my bedroom cool and my body as cool as possible. My itching is on my feet and hands. When it gets to be too much now, I’m rubbing calamine lotion on them as a temporary solution. I am only on day 3 of total withdrawal, but I am NOT going back to this pill. Luckily it is November now in Chicago, so I should be ok with the colder temps.

This Zyrtec withdrawal is the worst phenomenon ever!!!! I cannot even go 24 hours before the intense itching starts. I have tried to wean several times so I can get allergy testing, but I CANNOT do it. I get crazy and feel like a substance abuse patient in extreme detox. It is miserable!!!! Nothing works!!! I don’t know what to do. I need that allergy testing! I saw an idiot EENT/allergy specialist yesterday and told him about the Zyrtec Withdrawal and he said “Well, sorry, I guess we can’t test you then” Loser!!!! ?

Omg. I am so relieved I cry. I was feeling absolutely crazy about this.

I have been taking ceterizine everyday for 8 years. 8 years ago my spring allergies were really bad so I was taking Reactine everyday. When they let up I stopped taking it. A day or 2 in (and I remember this day so clearly .. it was honestly traumatic) I was at a friend’s house when I became unbearably itchy. I was scratching everywhere. Bumps and red marks were growing. I wanted to rip my skin off. I went home and had a shower. It didn’t help. I lay in bed scratching and crying. I didn’t understand what was happening. Finally I decided to take Reactine – I thought maybe I was having an allergic reaction to something. A few minutes later the scratching stopped. Since then I’ve tried to quit taking ceterizine multiple times but each and everytime it is beyond anything I can handle, and I end up taking another pill.

I don’t want to take it anymore !!!!

Why hasn’t the FDA researched the withdrawal affects ???? How is this okay!!!!! No one should have to go through this. No other allergy meds have done this to me.

So, I found this site while searching for itchiness while trying to come off Benadryl (diphenhydramine)! I seem to be going through the exact same thing as I try yet again to come off Benadryl!

I’ve been on 25mg/day for about 2 years to help with sleep and I really need to come off it now for many reasons. Other withdrawal symptoms have largely disappeared but this itchiness is insane! And I know that if I just take one Benadryl, the itching goes away! But then, I’m right back on it.

Has anyone heard of this same issue with Benadryl/Dipenhydramine??


I also have taken xyzal for over ten years for seasonal allergies. After receiving treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma and successfully finding myself in remission, I decided to rid my body of unnecessary meds. I went off of xyzal over six weeks ago, and I’m still getting extreme bouts of itching in both of my lower legs, often accompanied with a small rash or hives. Nothing relieves it. Absolutely nothing. It’s unbearable. The itching sensation comes and goes. I broke down once and took a Benadryl. It helped but I soon realized that was not the right thing to do, as it surely put me behind in the withdrawal process. I’m determined to get through this but not sure how much longer I can put up with the itching. Fortunately I’m off for the summer (I’m a teacher). I will give it until mid-August. Hopefully the itching will be gone by then. There’s no way I could be dealing with this while trying to teach.

I’m going off an antidepressant (Pristiq) which I have used before without incident. When I went on it again, I developed symptoms that I later realized were due to the Pristiq. I decided to withdraw from it, first by cutting the dose in half and so on. Not a good idea! Very bad itching and a total body rash. The PDR says it could last up to 4 months. Withdrawing must be done over several months, tapering by a small amount each week. I was reading that sometimes withdrawal symptoms are worse for a time after one is completely off the drug. Swell.

So I was googling to find out if Benadryl might help. I’ve used it once long ago and was sleepy. I could take it at night, I guess. Or go to the doctor for steroids. My experience with Zyrtec was that it helped my allergies tremendously, but occasionally (like on a trip) I would forget to take it along. In a few days I would have terrible internal itching without a rash. The first time it happened, it took awhile for me to connect it with the absence of Zyrtec. Taking one solved the problem (and the allergies). Recently, I noticed that I hadn’t been taking Zyrtec and I couldn’t remember when I had stopped it or why. I remembered my terrible allergies which seemed to be less than I remembered (cured by Zyrtec?–kidding). I also hadn’t had withdrawal symptoms this time. Weird. I thought I should go back on it because the prior allergies were so bad. I went back on it and saw no change in the allergies, so I stopped it again. No withdrawal symptoms! But then I went off Pristiq and am itching from that. I suppose “irony” is the nicest word to describe that.

I know that occasionally allergies can spontaneously go away (rare). Usually they go away when one has cancer or AIDS or other diseases that affect the immune system.
I have had cancer between the last two episodes with Zyrtec. Fortunately it was caught early so the risk of metastasis is low. I know my immune system is okay, though, because of the rash I have developed from Pristiq and also because I just saw the surgeon recently and she thought I was fine cancer-wise. So I don’t know what could have caused the lack of withdrawal symptoms from Zyrtec last time.

To some of the comments above. Benadryl is safe. It has been around for ages. Lots of people use it as a non-addicting sleeping pill because it can make one drowsy.
Rarely, some people develop a paradoxical reaction and become agitated. I learned this when I gave my then toddler son a test dose of Benadryl. He flew around the house for several hours. I had given him that because we were taking a looong plane trip and I wanted him to nap a bit more than usual. I was really glad that I had done a pre-test. It would have been awful if I had given him that dose just as we were taking off!

Also, you can build up an allergic sensitivity to something over time. You use a product for years and one day, with no warning, you get a massive allergic reaction. The only example I can think of off the bat is the old formulation of Tide detergent. It would cause (with a time delay) a terrible skin rash (contact dermatitis). I don’t know if there was itching. The new Tide apparently doesn’t cause this.

Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are all long-acting antihistamines. There are some others, too. Usually, if you have trouble with one, a switch to another one does away with the problem. Allergy medicine prior to Claritin had to be taken several times a day and usually caused drowsiness. So there can be real benefit to these drugs, because life without them, if you have severe allergies and/or asthma is a challenge.

Finally, I get it. I had plastic surgery and stopped the Zyrtec for quite a few days and boy was I itchy. I’m still so itchy that I’m on prednisone, Benadryl and Zyrtec.

I’ll call my allergist in the morning but thanks to this website, I understand why I’m so itchy and miserable. It should be on a WARNING that withdrawal is worse than the original allergy…

I too took Zyrtec for 3 years for skin allergies. I’ve completely rid myself of all exposures of allergens to my skin and decided to go off Zyrtec. The itching was insane it felt like it was in my bones it was all over my body. I read Allegra helps with this. I’m on my second bottle of 30 day Allegra & just stopped it cold turkey. I lasted 3 days with no itching but couldn’t take it and took a pill. I’m going to see if I can now get myself off Allegra. Anyone else have an issues getting off Allegra?

I had a similar experience with my toddler daughter about 20 years ago, when she was prescribed otc Benadryl for a severe case of sea lice. Her father and I watched in shock as she darted back and forth across the living room like a ping-pong ball.

Around the same time, I developed chronic sinusitis and was treated for 3-4 years with antihistamines, allergy shots, steroid sprays, and frequent antibiotics for associated infections. I have remained on 5mg daily of Zyrtec since then and have experienced severe itching whenever this regimen is interrupted for over a day. It took me awhile to connect the dots, and when I went without for 2 days or more, I also developed sporadic heart palpitations and muscle twitches (most notably my eyes).

I have mentioned this more than once to more than one doctor. The best response I got was “do it more gradually.” NEVER any validation of my symptoms being connected to this readily available etc (i.e. “safe,” non-addictive) med that can cause so much agony without any warning, even while under professional medical care!

I am going to try the liquid Zyrtec option, as I have tried halving my dose for a week (I.e. 2.5 mg) and had to take 10 mg today to relieve my misery!

Has anyone else experienced the twitching/arrhythmia?

I’ve been on zyrtec for 3 years. I know the reason I got on it was because of allergies from the state I was living in and now that I have moved back home I wanted to get off Zyrtec since I never had allergies here. If I forgot even one day I was itching like a maniac. I decided I was going to get off this drug no matter what. I am using a tapering off approach. I did a week of 3/4 pill, a week of 1/2 pill, a week of 1/4 pill and am now on day 4 of no pill. Yes, I’m itching, but not nearly as bad as when I went off cold turkey before. Every step down I would itch but after a few days it was like my body adjusted and I wouldn’t itch anymore. I’m hoping the itching stops soon. It is definitely getting annoying, but I do have hours now where I don’t itch so I know it’s getting better. Hoping all of you can find your way off. This is ridiculous!

I took levocitrizine dihydrocloride with some other tablets 5 years back with doctor’s prescription. I used to had rashes in my thighs. After few weeks the rashes are gone but able not able to leave the citrizine. Till now every 3rd day I have to take 5mg Levocitrizine or my whole body starts itching horribly. I was not knowing what’s happening to me. I consulted to many doctors but they don’t seem to show interest, for them it’s like am taking something. Now I seen this post & got to know that there is a withdrawal to this medicine. Now still am very afraid to go through the process. Let’s see.

I have a blood cancer, myelofibrosis, platelets over 1 million and fibrosis in the bone marrow. I take a lot of medications and the disease does cause itching. Ive have been on Allergra for years and it also causes weight gain and dries out my nose. Sometimes i try to stop taking it but after day 2, the itching comes back ten times worst. How long does it take to feel normal again?

I too am dealing with the itching of stopping antihistamines. I have taken them all at one time or another. My allergy doctor is insisting that I continue to take Xyzal and montelukcast sodium, steroid nasal spray, Symbicort, and inhaler daily. However, my allergy tests showed no reaction. I have had two sets of allergy testing, about 5 years apart. Neither series showed reactions. I am concerned about the amount of medication in addition to the cost, so I am tapering off. I don’t think I need to take that much medication. I am also considering another allergy doctor. I feel much better without all the medication. The fatigue and dullness is gone. I am left with the itching. The pediatric dose of Claritin seems to help control the itching and I will be tapering that dosage. Spring is coming and I will see what happens then. I think I would rather have seasonal sneezing instead of all the side effects of the meds.

I had heat rash problems from working in the summer sun for too long. The dermatologist gave me prescription for XYZAL 5mg four times a day for a week..then three times a day..for a week..twice…then 1 pill..a day for a month..and Topicort spray for the rashes…and CeraVe cream. I noticed strange red steaks in my skin after taking a warm shower. I called the 800 number for Topicort and talked to a pharmacist there. She said it was the XYZAL my body’s reaction to it. I used both pills and Topicort for a month as directed. Immediately after stopping both I have red patches that flare up in different parts of my body through the day..neck..back…and severe itching. When I come out of the shower (using warm/mild water it is worse). I called the doctors office. They advised me to drink a lot of water to flush it out of my system and use the Cera Ve to help (it does). It is five weeks since I stopped taking the pills and using the spray and still having withdraw problems. I read somewhere it takes at least six weeks to get free of it. My original problem was BETTER than the “CURE”(?)… Anyone experiencing this? How long does it take? In short I think a lot of these drugs are poison, pushed by drug companies only interested in profits..and drs..who are the same.

Nine weeks and still having problems, Get “flare ups” out of blue. All of a sudden will feel intense itching in an area on my neck.. it is red streaking. Put Cere Ve on it…and it helps but later the same thing will happen. After a warm shower same parts of my body will be red… Use the same cream. Not as bad as it was two months ago…but after NINE weeks! Give me a break.

Like so many of you I’ve been taking Zyrtec and Cetirizine for so long, probably 10 years. About 4 years ago I had my first itching attack when I forgot to take it for a couple of days. The itching was was bad I was scratching my skin raw!!!! I was to the point of wanting to rip the flesh off my bones!!! I kid you not! It happened again but not as bad.

I just started itching the other day and googled it and ran across all these threads. I started weaning off it and then decided to just go off it and use Allegra. Nope, after 2 days I started itching like crazy this morning!!! I took 1 Cetirizine and will start the long process of weaning off again. Now if the Citirizine would just kick in and the itching would STOP!!! I wonder if you could stop taking it and just take Benadryl until the itching stops? Has anyone tried it? I’m actually scared to try it, this is torture! They should use itching as a form of torture! Seriously! Oh by the way I also have had a lot of weight gain and developed tinnitus…. hmmmm, makes you wonder…

I have taken Zyrtec or generic cetirizine daily for at least 10 years. I have severe seasonal and environmental allergies and Zyrtec has worked pretty well to help control my symptoms. However, I have gained a lot of weight over the last decade, and also developed tinnitus. I wonder if this could be related to long-term Zyrtec use.

I recently moved to another state, and my new allergist here wanted to retest me. I had to stop antihistamines 4 days prior to testing. Because I had read about histamine rebound with Zyrtec, I tapered it off gradually over a week. I took half a pill daily for a few days, then every other day. As soon as I cut the dose down, I started itching everywhere. My allergist suggested I take Zyrtec with Zantac to fight the itching. I tried to explain that Zyrtec was what was causing the itching. He didn’t seem to believe me.

I have started taking Allegra, and still itching, but it is a little better every day. However, Allegra doesn’t seem to control my allergies as well as Zyrtec did. I’m going to try Claritin next.

I’ve been off Zyrtec for nearly six weeks now. Still itching, but bearable. My tinnitus is still there too. I hope it eventually goes away.

I am worried that if I have to take Allegra or Claritin every day, I could have withdrawal symptoms from them down the road. Has anyone out there had the same kind of itching problems when stopping Allegra and Claritin?

I thought I was nuts. I, too, have tried to stop taking xyzal after taking it for over 10 years and every time I try to stop taking it I itch like crazy breaking out in hives when I never did before. and
I am petite and have gained over 15 lbs since I have been on the medicine. It has been a steady weight gain over the years and I really believe its from this medicine. Is there any way to ever be free of taking this medicine. Every time I try to stop I feel like I can’t live without it. HELP!!!

Not with Claritin. I will never take a Zyrtec in my life again! These doctors give you meds that cause other problems. If I knew I would have never taken them at all. Itching like crazy the second day off the drug.

Yes, it can happen with Claritin as well. I am dealing with that now.

I’ve been on zyrtec for as long as I can remember. The only time I went without it was when I lived in the Philippines for 9 months, and I didn’t itch at all! Strange, right? Now I can’t go a day without taking it.. or else I’ll itch! I did cut the dose down to 1/2 a pill.. and I’ve been taking 1/2 a pill for about a year now. When I first started taking 1/2 a pill, I still had itching and little rashes on my body. But they were bearable.. now I ran out of Zyrtec, but I just got some Cetirizine from Sam’s Club.. I’m still gonna try taking 1/2 a pill of it and see how it goes. Hopefully I’ll be able to cut the dosage some more off my zyrtec.
I’m also debating on switching to allegra.. any thoughts on that? I’ve read people switching to claritin.. But I have allegra in my house. Are there any withdrawal symptoms i should be looking out for if i switch to allegra? Thanks so much.. This sucks balls. :(

So many people are suffering and none of the doctors are listening! I mentioned it to TWO of my doctors, and one looked at me like I was stupid and the other said she never heard of it. :(((

There’s some kind of new manufacturing ingredient that wasn’t in it before. I’ve taken generic Sudafed for years for the very little sinus issues I have. But yesterday, on my way to the store at 1:30 p.m., and not having dosed yet (only took 5 pills over 3 days) my hand and wrists started itching something terrible. Lasted about 2 minutes.

Same. Exact. Story. So happy I found this site! Any luck switching to Allegra or Claritin?

Hello, I’ve just discovered this site after taking Zertek every other day for 14 years! And on the second day of not taking a tablet the itching begins. Reading here has now opened my eyes as to the cause of the problem.

I took my last tablet 6 days ago and I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far but over a number of months now (for another reason) I have increased my mineral water, vitamin c and natural salt intake and maybe that’s helping to keep the itching within a tolerable level. I’m just going to take it day by day but I’m determined to kick this drug!
I have also purchased this week a natural antihistamine that I’m hoping will help me come off zirtec…it’s called Quercetin 400mg + Bromelain 100mg Capsules. I’ll update everyone with my progress in a few days.

I too have had withdrawal symptoms from Zyrtec. In the past I have taken Zyrtec for seasonal allergies for a day or two maybe using a total of 4 pills a year. But, last year (November) out of the blue I had really bad itching.

I took a Zyrtec to get rid of the itch and all was good. I took it for about a week or two straight but every time I would go off the itching would come back. I thought it was my soap – detergent – something I ate – something in the air. I really had no idea. With the holidays and things being so busy, I hoped it would go away… But it didn’t. Every few days I would wait for the pill to wear off so I could see if I was better and every time this intense itching would come back, worse than the last.

Finally in January I went to the doctor. She said the same thing… Most likely environmental. She told me to take Zyrtec 2 times a day for a month and then see if the itching goes away. Well I didn’t follow her instructions and I’m glad about it now!! I only took 1 pill every other day. Why? Because by now I knew that by day 3 the itch would return.

I knew something was wrong and I started thinking it was something major. The dr didn’t seem to be concerned So I googled the heck out of it. That’s when I came across this site! It all made sense. It like I didn’t know when the original itch stopped and the withdrawal itch started but because itching was my original problem, it made me think it was the same issue, not my medicine causing something new.

I just knew I had to quit cold turkey. That lasted about 4 days. The 3rd day the itch kicked in and by the next day I thought I was going to die. I gave in and took a pill. It went like this for months. I would try to stop but I never made it very long. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced. Like bugs under your skin and when you itched, it never fixed the problem. It only made it hurt and itch at the same time. I would get raised marks where I scratched and I looked like I got clawed by an animal.

Finally I decided that what I was doing wasn’t working so I needed to try something else. I read that someone stepped down slowly so I thought I’d try that. On day 3 when I got itchy again instead of taking a whole pill, I took half. The itch went away. To my surprise I was still able to go almost 3 days again on that half pill and I forced myself to make it to the end of day 3 before giving in. I did this for a few weeks. Then I tried to go a little longer… 4 days then 5… Until I made it up to a week. All still on a half pill.

Once I got to a week I waited another few weeks before doing the next phase: switching to Claritin. I began taking a half pill of Claritin which only got me through 3 days tops. It’s better for you than Zyrtec though so I did the process again until I was down to a half pill every week. Then I switched to a quarter pill. I was able to go about 5 or 6 days before the symptoms returned. Some weeks were better than others and some weeks I needed another quarter after 4 days. It was totally random. It was like my body didn’t know what to do.

Finally I tried going off completely and if I began to itch I’d take a few crumbs of a pill – I did this maybe 3 or 4 times until I woke up yesterday wondering when the last time I took a pill was. I’m not exactly sure but I think it’s been about two or two and a half weeks!! I get some mild itching almost every night but nothing bad and I put peppermint and tee tree oil on it and it takes some of the itch out. When I wake up the itch isn’t there. I am keeping it up and hopefully the minimal itch will disappear and I can go back to normal. It’s been almost a full nightmare year but hang in there guys!! You can do this!

Thanks for others sharing their experience on Zyrtec. I had the same experience of having difficult to get rid of Zyrtec. This is the worst drug I ever used. How could it be there without any warning!!!

I was prescribed to use Zyrtec because of my food allergy. I had seafood allergy since I was a child but I had never used Zyrtec. This time the doctor somehow prescribe Zyrtec. My food allergy usually will be well in a few days to 2 weeks with other medicine such as Bendral. Now it’s been 4 weeks, every time I tried to stop it, the hive and itch were worse than my original food allergy. I am lucky in a way that I know something is abnormal this time so I started doing research tonight. If I haven’t found this website, I could have suffered this for years without know it is Zyrtec causing my problem. I will share the info with anyone I met. Hopefully together we can raise a louder voice about this drug. Now I need to figure out how to get rid of Zyrtec with less suffering.

before i was diagnosed with dermatitis, back in 2014, i was suffering strange rashes which i thought were hives. so i went out and bought loratadine, tried for 2 days (caused too many side effects. constipation,drowsiness,vivid dreams), then i bought 14 pills of ceterizine(zyrtec) which was 6dollars, when i almost ran out, decided to buy diphenydramine, and fexofenadine(last one did nothing.

At that time i did not connect the dots, but unknowngly stopping the short certerizine may have increased itching,of my dermatitis rashes which made my rashes worst. Sometime later in jan 2015, i had health scare(sudden loss of smell and development of widespread neuropathy went to the ER found nothing) this was taken with 1 pill of diphenhydramine, and non-drowsy medication(aceto,dextromorphin,phenyleprine).

I completely stopped all antihistamines at that point, and some how my dermatitis stabalised and nasal allergies disappeared until the summer, in which case my dermatitis was flaring up, i then started taking fexofenadine, but had no effect. I then spent 20 dollars on a 70 ceterizine pills, still uknown to me, my dermatitis worsened, itching was so intense, i scratched til it bled, and became bruised skin,i still did not correlate ceterizine was the cause. Until this year, when i ran out of ceterizine(70pills) and i was already takinig daily diphenhydramine(which helps fight itching) my scalp and torso started to itch so intensely, it gave me more dermatitis rashes. i stupidly decided to order a whole years supply for less than 20dollars of ceterizine, and have been taking it to combat my nasal allergies and regular itching.

Ever since i stopped it a few weeks ago, my itching and rashes returned with a vengeance at the same time my dermatitis decided to flare up. So it would seem ceterizine withdrawal itching is a reality. Also i noticed if you are taking daily ceterizine, it will make build tolerance to other antihistamines, making them very ineffective, so be warned. ceterizine in my opinion should be used sparingly, rotating between different anti-histamines each few weeks, not good if you something like chronic allergies, that trigggers any kind dermatitis. Best medication for short term are drowsy pills benadryl and chloropheneramine.

I was prescribed a strong corticosteroids for my rashes, it did little but delay the rashes from dermatitis, which almost always come back worst. best way to treat it is with allergy relief lotions(pricey), and some moisturizers. Do no take ceterizine, because it intensifies itching, only 1st generations antihistamines are powerful enough to combat itching from non-hives.
right now suffering from several weeks of itching withdrawal which has several affected my damaged skin, from dermatitis.

Itching to death!!! I tried to come off this medication a few months ago with no luck. I had severe withdrawls from stopping the medicine cold turkey. Went back on the medication 5mg per day till I split the 5mg tablet in half and took 1/2 each day till last Sunday. Stopped all together buy, slowly I’m having new symptoms arise daily. I started taking Zyrtec daily but, I’m beginning to loose my voice, itching all over, skin is crawling, I’m burning up from the inside, red rash all over my chest, feels like bugs are crawling all over me, red itchy eyes, sneezing, watery eyes, you name it is have it right now!!! I would never recommend anyone taking this. I refuse to take it even again. Even if I itch myself to death!!

Oh my goodness. Thank you!
I started itching 3.5 days ago and have been scratching (haha) my head trying to think what I ate, what I put on my skin . . . was it the oil my masseuse used on my four days before the itch started . . . am I all of a sudden allergic to my cat?

I’ve just stumbled across all these many links about Zyrtec withdrawals. I take ‘Zetop’ which has the same ingredients but ran out of it last week.

Now I must make the choice. Continue with the itch and hope it eventually stops or keep up with the pills . . . I really don’t want to be reliant on drugs but dear lord the itch is awful!

Will talk to the Dr this arvo.

Oh dear….I can’t believe that immunologists continue to prescribe this drug. (Anyone notice that they sell them in packs of 70 now!) I have been taking Zyrtec for over fourteen years. I cut back to a quarter a day 8 years ago when pregnant with my daughter as was concerned it would harm my baby. i was unable to come off it because the withdrawal symptoms were so bad. Symptoms were nausea, intense dizziness, light headedness and crazy itching and huge angiodemic hives. I really want to come off them now as believe they are a contributing factor to fatigue….and tinnitus. I feel dismayed though there don’t appear to be many solutions here. i will post if I find any…I do remember getting some acupuncture once and that did relieve my symptoms. I will also read the blogpost Itchyanna

Oh my gosh! I know this thread is old but I Hv been suffering from itching for months and thank God I stumbled upon these 2010 postings. I’ve been to Dr’s for this cuz I’m rubbing myself raw. They’ve put me on creams, antibiotics, etc. It just occurred to me tonight when I took a half Zyrtec FOR itching, Gee could it be from the Zyrtec? Dear God, now I know. I itch as I sit here texting! Now all I Hv to do is get the heck off it somehow!

I also wanted to say, Susie in PA again, I have had two weird episodes I have been doctoring for. One time I was sitting at the movies. All of a sudden I had creepy crawly feeling starting at my knees, then up my thighs, I got hit, shaky, blurry . I had to quickly leave the movies. I net home and didn’t feel good for 2 hrs. Second time, I was sitting at table after eating leaning up against wall and felt same sensation up my back, I just had blood work, normal. My PCP did a 3D echo with contrast. That was fine.
Anyone Hv these symptoms? Maybe that was a day ir two I didn’t take a Xyrtec and was going through withdrawal. OMG I can’t believe this! Here U’m doctoring and it’s probably this damn Zyrtec!!!! Anyone with these symptoms or had them please let me know. I am flabbergasted. I can’t believe this nor the fact that I found this site.

I am a 47 year old woman. About 18 years ago I moved to an area of the U.S. with high seasonal allergy issues which greatly affected me at least 6 months out of the year. My doctor prescribed Zyrtec and Flonase. This was back when both were prescription only. I was told to take Flonase in the spring, but to take 1 zyrtec (10mg) everyday , year round.
So I have been on Zyrtec for at least 10 years.

Because of weight gain and brain fog I decided to stop the Zyrtec and learn to live with my allergies. Little did I know what a nightmare it would be to stop this drug from Hell.

I stopped (cold turkey) zyrtec on March 14, 2016. The intense itching started around day 3. Itching everywhere. Scalp, underarms, inside ears, arms, legs, back….everywhere.
It seemed to lighten up after week 2, but then came back intensely during week 4.
It is now week 5 and the itching is at about 90% where it was in week 1.

This really sucks. But I am determined to ride it out. I will NEVER go back on the ZYRTEC POISON.
I know the medicine is out of my system by now. What I believe is the antihistamine effect has thrown my body out of whack. My body , after taking zyrtec for 10 years, doesn’t know how to handle histamine at all.
The question is: is my body ever going to be capable of handling histamine normally, or will I suffer from this effect for years or forever???????

I am noticing that almost all posts on here are in the time frame of the first 1 to 4 weeks of stopping zyrtec. I am hoping this means past say 4 to 8 weeks at most, most people have minimal to no noticeable itching.???
I wish more people would come back on here and post a follow-up. When and if the itching stopped. This would greatly help those of us suffering from the itching right now.

On a side note: my husband was on zyrtec for about 2 years. He stopped (cold turkey) on March 14, 2016. Same as I. His itching was intense for 2 weeks, but has subsided to about 20% now 4 weeks later.
Maybe the length of withdrawal itching is related to how long you took the drug?
I will tough this out. Again I state..I will NEVER take ZYRTEC again.
Everyone…PLEASE report when and if the itching stopped. It would help all of us.

Hello again. It’s been almost two months since I took my last zyrtec. I wrote few posts ago. I have to tell you, that probably thanks to DAO enzyme i went through this surprisingly well, especially when I recall previous incidents. I took DAO for about 10 days. After that I decided to try without it. And I never took it again. I still have ocasional itching from time to time, but I can stand it easilly. There are days completely free of any symptoms. In my previous posts there is more detailed information. You could try this method to alleviate this horror. I do not know if it can help other people. I never heard or read about anybody trying this for zyrtec withdrawal symptoms, only for histamine intolerance. I just inferred it myself and decided to give it a try with a great success.

Reactine is the worst pill to try to come clean of. I have been on prescription strength 20mg since it came out. My insurance provider stopped paying for the 10 mg when it came out over the counter….so if I wanted it without the cost I had to get the prescription strength 20mg. I have been over 20 years a Reactine/cetirizine junkie. The side effects trying to get off of it are horrible to say the least. Unbearable itching,burning,welts,hives. I have been 7 days without now and am still having terrible itching. I get the itch all over…but the worst for me is on my hands and feet. The allergy specialist told me I would have to take it forever due to the itch. I refuse to be held prisoner to this drug. I have read that vitamin C,A ,and E can help….I also just started that with Benadryl cream when the itch is unbearable.

I am writing to tell people not to take this drug for allergies. Your allergies are your least problem in comparison to the withdrawal symtoms you encounter. STAY CLEAR of it!

I got off Zyrtec after taking it every day for ten years. I have done it a few times before, but only when I switched to Claritin. I probably should have switched to Claritin this time, and then weaned off the Claritin. I’m sure that would have been better. This time, I skipped a day of Zyrtec, then took half a Zyrtec and then skipped a day, and then I took half a Zyrtec for a few days as the itching was pretty bad. I wasn’t alarmed because I had read about this problem with Zyrtec withdrawal. I thought about taking Claritin, but I needed to get off long acting antihistamines. So I started taking a Benadryl at night, when the itching was usually it’s worst. It’s normal for itching to be much worse at night. This is due to the body’s cortisol rhythm. Cortisol rises in the morning, eases in the afternoon, and has a little rise again toward evening and then drops off in the evening so you can sleep. Except with all that itching, who can sleep? The Benadryl worked amazingly well with the evening itching, and it also makes you drowsy so it really helps at night. I found that only needed 12.5mg, which is one quarter of the adult dose – half of one tablet. I took the Benadryl at night for a week, and then stopped. It’s been a month since stopping the Zyrtec completely. The itching is still there a little bit. I’m not sure if it’s normal to still have some itching this long after stopping. It’s MUCH better than it was. I only have itching on my hands now, and only notice it two or three times in the evenings. It seems to happen when I use my hands for some rough task, and the skin gets activated by the contact. If I put lotion on and don’t scratch, it goes away.

I forgot to add that I am also on a quite strict diet. I eat vegatables, some fruits, meat, eggs and fish, coconut oil and olive oil. No grains, no dairy no legumes. I am not sure if it helps, since I’ve been on this diet for a long time, and in the past when I forgot Zyrtec, the reaction was almost immediate and very severe, despite the clean way of eatting.

I was on Zyrtec for about 15 years, maybe more. I started taking it due to hives and I thought would be sentenced to it till the rest of my life. Whenever I forgot a pill, a terrible bout of hives appeared. I thought it was my primary allergy, so took another pill and everything was back to normal within a half an hour.

I had only one 10 days break, since I went to hospital for diagnosis. This was the worst time of my life. I had terribly itching hives most of the day. I scratched myself till bleeding. Of course they didn’t find the reason and sent me back home and told to carry on with zyrtec. Then I thought that perhaps I am just histamine intolerant and started digging in the subject.

This is how I found this thread and also many, many more. I realized that my hives might be the side effect of withdrawal. May primary hives were completely different, and never so acute and permanent. As far as I know antihistamines block the receptors, so the brain cannot see the histamine in the system and make mast-cells to produce even more.

I believe that after some time mast-cells become hyper-reactive, so when you stop zyrtec, the symptoms occur almost immediately. There is just way too much histamine to be broken out. So I inferred that perhaps I may need more DAO enzyme in my system to get rid of excess histamine. A week ago I took my last dose of Zyrtec, a half of pill and started taking DAOsin. I can hardly believe it, but I can function quite well. I do have some really slight itching occasionally, but I can stand not touching it, and it goes away within few minutes.

I hope I will be able to stop DAO ofter some time. I take 4 -6 capsules a day. Also at the same time I started taking Vit B injections twice a week. It may help also, since it calms down the whole nervous system. I cannot tell, which one helps more, maybe they act synergistically, but I am doing almost normally. My sleep improved tremendously, I am not brain-fogged in the mornings, no puffiness on my face and more energetic during the day.

I still fear that the symptoms can occur in their full “beauty”, but I hope it won’t be tha case. Perhaps my experience might be helpful to some of you, I’ve been there, and I know how miserable the life is without Zyrtec once you get used to it. If something changes, I will update. Good luck to you all.

It is somewhat of a relief to have found this Website. Several months ago I began developing a strange case of hives that was determined to have resulted from a reaction to high doses of Aspirin. I had been through two knee replacements and wanting to get off of the Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen I began taking just two of the 500 mg super aspirin, from a well known manufacturer, when the pain became too much. After a few weeks of this I experienced the first episode of hives.

A visit to the doctor resulted in a prescription for Levocetirizine and Prednisone . This combo did stop the hives, however, once they were gone and I stopped taking them within three to four days the rash and itching began. Palms were first and then the rash began spreading over the upper part of my body. After many applications of Cortisone 10, which was about the only thing to stop the itching for a few hours, I had a scheduled appointment with a dermatologist. I mentioned that I had looked for side effects from Levocetirizine and found that what I was going through was indicated in several articles I had read. It didn’t really seem to register with him but after seeing the rash he said it sure was hives and suggested taking Zyrtec, 10mg, in the mornings and Benadryl before bedtime. This did, of course, stop the hives and itching, however when I stop taking the Zyrtec the itching begins again withing three to four days! I can totally empathize with the people here going through this withdrawal. Unfortunately I don’t have any solutions since my case is more recent but I am going to continue looking for results. Systematic reduction of the Zyrtec seems to be a good way to start and including Vitamin C might help also.

Holy crap! My entire body has been itching like CRAZY today and thought it might be allergies because I ran out of my generic Zyrtec. I’ve only been on it about 3 months. Now I’m starting to think its withdrawal from the medication! I don’t think I’m going to pick up my refill!

Same symptoms as most everyone else. Used Claritan D for years, no issue when I needed to stop for testing or end of allergy season. A doctor recommended that I switch to Zyrtec to see if it worked any better. Been on Z for a couple of years, and decided to reduce the amount of medicines I took. The itching and scratching was insane. Tried multiple times to stop Zyrtec cold turkey, not possible. I stepped down the dose over a period of about 7 weeks. Still had some itching here and there, but was able to manage it fairly well. During the last couple of weeks I took maybe an 1/8 of a pill every few days, then less and less. The last “dose” was a little of crushed dust from where I was cutting the pills. Multiple ENTs and Allergy docs I have spoken to play completely dumb or are ignorant to Zyrtec withdrawal . I will never be taking this med again.

After taking Zyrtec for several years, I stopped and experienced a week of itching and hallucinogenic dreams. I could bear the itching, but the freaky dreams were awful. I dreaded going to sleep at night. It must be what the “DTs” are like, and I never want to go thru that again.

I have tried to stop taking cetirizine for over a year. I went to my allergist and asked if cetirizine could be the issue but he said it has to be something else and told me to take that every night and Claritin every morning until my hives and itching was gone for 3 months. Then he said I could try again to stop taking it. What dumb advice. I did this for 2 months and then tried to stop taking it again, after 1 day I started getting hives again.

It isn’t something I had symptoms of prior to taking it. I had seasonal allergies. If I had known I could become dependent on it and have horrible hives all over my body as well as itching bottoms of my feet I would never had taken a single pill.

I have been off of it for 8 days and in that time I have only been able to get relief with benadryl which I try to only take a half dose when symptoms get unbearable. I am also taking a Quercetin blend and don’t know if they are helping at all. Hope this gets out of my system soon, I have never had itching this bad on the bottom of my feet. It almost hurts.

Every time I quit taking cetirizine my hand palms start to not only itch but really burn. I’ve spent nights holding anything frozen just to find some reliëf. In addition my whole skin itches (foot soles!) and I get rashes, mainly in my neck, behind ears, and on my arms. But when on cetirizine I feel more and more drowsy, have trouble concentrating, and a constantly dry mouth. So, we’ll see what happens when tree pollen start hitting the air again. Hope that by changing my diet I can stay off anti-histamine. Good luck all!

I am on Cetrizene (5mg) since 4 years (I am 48). I started on it because of an itching bout. I have to have a pill every 4 days. On the 3rd-4th day itching starts usually at the wrists and ankles gradually coming over everywhere I touch. After the pill the itching stops within hours. Yet there have been times when I have gone without the pill for 2-3 weeks without the itching symptoms showing up. I have never taken a pill unless the itching sensations start – everytime I take one I feel this would be the last time before the symptoms disappear.
The longest I was without the pill (and without itching) was 7 weeks in June-July last year (2015). Such periods have been infrequent – 5 times in 4 years. Then suddenly I started to itch again and have to start taking centrizene every 4 days.
During the no pill-no itch period I am sure there has been no significant change in my diet or other medications. Sugar is normal – Blood pressure is normal – Slightly underfunctioning liver. I have been wondering what changed in me or my diet for those periods that I dont have to take the pill. So what is going on here.? Do any of you’all have these no pill-no itch periods? Any enlightenment would be appreciated.

I am devastated that this is what is happening to me….and after bloodwork, internists. Etc etc…. No one had figured this out. Now what do I do? If I stop taking it, within hours, I am itching nonstop. Please, if someone has an answer, share it with me.

I agree with everyone who has written so far. Horrible medicine I was prescribed it and after a few days I started itching horribly. I am still itching but have not taken Zyrtec for about 10 days. Hope it stops soon.

I have been suffering with intense itching (without irritation or inflammation) for the last several months, I’ve discussed the issue with several doctors (e.g., PCP, dermatologist, psychiatrist, and gastroenterologist). I switched to hypoallergenic everything, and the only thing that helped the itch was taking Zyrtec. During that time I’ve also experienced worse drowsiness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and inability to focus then ever before in my life. Last night I was looking to buy more Zyrtec on Amazon and a reviewer perfectly described my symptoms after he discontinued use. Then I began researching the issue and came across hundreds of testimonials describing the same thing. I’ve decide to try quitting cold turkey. I’ve contacted my PCP and dermatologist to their opinions, but I can’t justify taking another dose. I’m angry at the manufacturers and the FDA for not do anything, but I’m so thankful for all of you who have shared your experience.

It’s been 60+ hours since my last Zyrtec, and I feel exhausted, itchy, and unable to concentrate. I hope the symptoms get better (I will update here).

I have been taking zyrtec for over a year after the allergist recommended it for an allergic reaction to antibiotics. I have weaned off to the point of taking 1/2 of a pill every 3 days. By the end of the third day, I can feel the itching slowly overtaking me – I feel it in my tongue, my ears, my hands – anywhere.

I have been on Cetirizine for more years than I can remember. I suffered terribly with Hay-fever. As a teenager (I am now 36) I went to my GP who stated that they recently come back from a seminar where they were told that Cetirizine tablets could be taken in 3’s for bad cases of Hay-fever without any negative side effects.

As I was told this information by my GP I had no reason to question it and have been taking between 1 to 3 tablets a day. I never realised the extreme itching I experienced when I forgot to take a tablet had anything to do with the tablet itself. I even went to the doctors last year and said to them that when I stopped taking the tablets I itched so unbearably and came out in lumps.

The doctor prescribed me some aquacaous cream and told me to keep taking the tablets. It wasn’t until a few nights ago when I was in bed and the itching started and I realised I’d missed a tablet that day that I thought to google it. Now I am fuming. I feel like an antihistamine junkie!!!

I so want to come off these tablets. The itching for me is that bad I can not last more than 10 minutes when its starts. I try not to scratch but sometimes you do it with out thinking and once you start you cant stop. I haven’t taken a tablet today. I have inside got some other antihistamines for when the itching starts. I hoping they will keep the itching at bay so I can come off the Cetirizine. However I don’t want to actually take any medication at all. Whilst typing this I can feel the pin prick itching starting in a number of places. If this method doesn’t work I’ll try the weaning method. I am determined to get off these tablets. Wish me luck.

Was told to stop taking cetirizine because I have restless legs syndrome and was given a Beconase for my allergic rhinitus. Within 4 days I had a terrible itching that is worse in the morning but goes on all day. Night are fine. In the morning it is in legs and arms but in the evening it spreads to face and head.

I have been taking Cetirizine (generic brand from London Drugs) for approx 2 years. Initially the doctor prescribed me this because I had itchy eyes and runny nose, and I thought I had allergies.

So I started taking this and it didn’t really help but those allergies or whatever they were stopped on their own. When I tried to not take this pill I got “EXTREME” itch all over my body in multiple spots at the same time. Everyone around me would notice that I cannot stop itching and my skin gets red and bumpy. I thought that I had some extreme allergies and that I would need to take this pill forever.

I went to several doctors, and all of them told me to just keep taking it if it works stops the itch. Some said it was my soap or detergent or that I should apply some cream to the area. I immediately said no to that because the itch is internal, and it isn’t in a specific spot. It is just triggered, and once I scratch, I can’t stop.

Nobody knew what I was talking about and had never seen a patient like me. I went to the allergist and found out I have zero allergies. I was more confused. Then I went for a blood test, and they told me that the cause of the itch is that my Vitamin D level is low. So I started taking Vitamin D pills regularly, and now my Vitamin D level is normal.

I still itch any time I stop taking these pills. One day, thinking to myself, I realized that the solution to the itch might just be the actual PROBLEM of the itch in the first place. Then I looked it up, and turns out many people had already gone through this. Now I don’t know what to do.

It is literally impossible to stop because 3 days after not taking the pill the itch is so extreme that I can’t sleep at night. The longest I can go is 6 days, and in those 6 days I lose a lot of sleep. There has to be another solution. I tried reducing the dosage of the pill and it doesn’t seem to work for me. I am wondering if there is an alternate (itch relieving) pill I can take for a couple of months until Cetirizine is out of my system. Once it’s gone then I can stop taking the other pill as well.

I too have suffered from Zyrtec withdrawls. After 3 days of being off the drug, at any given time, I itch all over my body, and little bumps appear. I have an allergy test next week and I was supposed to be free of any antihistamine’s for one solid week. I couldn’t do it. I will make sure to tell my allergy doctor of this weird withdrawl. Quite frightning.

While I was researching Zyrtec for my children I came upon these stories of people with horrible itching after stopping this drug. I take Zyrtec every morning for hay fever allergies. Once in a while I would forget to take it and within hours would experience horrible itching everywhere on my body. Then I would remember that I forgot to take my Zyrtec and the next morning would take it and be fine. Then one day I thought to myself, it’s weird that everytime I don’t take it I itch like crazy, what was I covering up by taking Zyrtec everyday? I was afraid that maybe I had an underlying condition that I was ignoring. And now I read that this is a common phenomenon among people who stop taking Zyrtec. I’m appalled and a little anxious about this. After reading this I want to stop Zyrtec, but now I’m afraid to! The itching is so intense, and everywhere on the body it’s horrific! I’m not sure what to do now. And I must say that I am very angry that the company who makes Zyrtec and the FDA seem to want to sweep this all under the rug and ignore the concerns of thousands of people. They always list every possible side affect of a drug, even those that have a one in a million chance of happening, why not mention this “little” affect? Thank you for trying to enhance awareness of this affect. I never would have put it together on my own. Good luck to all those who are suffering with this.

I was on Zyrtec for several months for seasonal allergies with great success, but when I stopped taking it I got intense itching in my hands and feet with no outward signs (no rash, hives, etc). My allergist suggested switching to Allegra and then when I tried to quit the Allegra the same thing happened! The itching is so maddening I can’t bear it. So now after a second consult with the allergist, he suggested VERY SLOW tapering which I’ve seen in other posts here. So right now I am alternating every other day 1 pill and then 1/2 pill. OK so far, no itching. I will then go to 1/2 pill daily for a few weeks, then try 1/4 pill. Good luck to everyone dealing with this issue!

please give me information on getting off of zyrtec. Thank you.

In reference to my previous post, I stopped taking Zyrtec last november. It’s now July, and I’m still itching like crazy. Nine months of not taking these tablets, and it’s made no difference. My husband says I should start taking them again, but I’m determined not to. I think the tablets have altered something in my body, and it’s no longer a case of waiting for the drug to get out of my system. This should have happened by now. I think it’s more a case of them damaging my body for good. I’m so sad and fed up.

I used doxylamine, a sleep aid (antihistamine) for several years and decided to stop my dependence on them for sleep. Well I didn’t sleep too good for sure but started to have incessant maddening itching all over my body. Scratching makes it worse, way worse. It is a rebound effect where the body’s ability to regulate histamine has been compromised by the suppression of histamine production by the antihistamine. It will pass, but it borders on unbearable. Well I took a zyrtec then found your posts regarding the itching. Dang it! I’ll probably have to start the withdrawal process all over again. I wonder if prednisone would get me through the process? Any advice on that?

My daughter started getting heat-and-exercise-induced urticaria when she was about 12 or 13 years old. An allergist prescribed Zyrtec, and indeed, taking one Zyrtec a day kept her symptoms under check. She continued on Zyrtec for five years, and any time she missed a day, she would break out in hives. She was very unwilling to go off the Zyrtec because she is a runner and the hives she would get would interfere with her activities. After reading all the stories on websites about itching due to Zyrtec withdrawal, she tried a very gradual tapering regimen. She decreased the dosage by 1/4 pill each time, and stayed at that dose for a few weeks before decreasing by another 1/4 pill. I think when she got down to 1/4 pill a day, she then decreased to 1/8 pill per day, then 1/8 pill every other day and then finally stopped. With this schedule she had very little itching, and has now been Zyrtec-free and hives-free for 18 months.

I had been given Zyrtec 4 months ago because of a bout of hives. The hives didn’t get better, just worse, and I had to take more and more pills. I had stomach and esophagus cramps day and night, my eyes, nose and mouth were very dry, I was immensely tired and sleepy but at night I could not sleep. The stomach cramps made me feel really miserable so 3 weeks ago I stopped using the Zyrtec. I have been through a hell. My whole body was covered in large and very painful blisters, my mouth and eyes and face were swollen, I looked like a monster. My ankles and hands were swollen too. The itching and burning were unbearable. I fainted and vomited from the pain. After 4 days I thought I could bear it no longer but instead of going back to Zyrtec I took a very light dose of Acrivastine, another kind of antihistamine I had tried very shortly in December. In half an hour everything was ok again. I started then weaning off. In 2 weeks I went from 1 pill to 1/3 pill a day (in december I was using 4 pills a day with no results). I hope I shall finally get rid of the addiction this way. Going cold turkey has been the worst torture I have ever experienced.

Thank you so much for talking about this. I was pretty sure all this itching was from stopping Wal Zyr (Zyrtec), but wasn’t sure. I will definitely never take it again. I took it every day for well over a year. Then stopped when I ran out this last time. I stopped about 2 years ago for a very short period and thought I had lice because my head was itching so bad. This time is worse. It’s all over my body. I’m just going to grit my teeth and get through it.

Having taken Antihistamines for approx 3 years I have tried to stop taking them in the past but only lasting 4 days due to the extreme itching. This time I stopped on 1st November 2014 and it is now 27th December so I’ve been off them for roughly 8 weeks. It’s been incredibly hard so far and the itching has by no means relented. As I type this post I’m on fire which is what prompted me to share this post.
I am however determined to get this under control and to never again take a single antihistamine again. What does concern me is that a previous post States that someone still has ‘itchy’ moments even after 3 years. I would be really grateful if there was someone out there who could let me know if they have kicked the habit with success.

I am so glad I have found this as I’ve been on zertec for 12 years now due to severe allergic rhinitis, I’ve came off them a few times to help with testing for the allergy research unit at my local hospital and i was demented by the itching, couldn’t understand it, even the staff at the centre hadn’t heard of it. I have had to stop helping as couldn’t bare it. I take one each morning and if I forget by evening I am itching like mad, I occasionally got itchy before them but nothing like this. More needs to be done to make doctors aware of this as it’s extremely unpleasant.

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

My story is a bit complicated. I believe that the Antihistamines have damaged my sinuses and my immune system. Anyone out there with a similar experience?
Seven months ago I got a viral infection–bronchities/laryingitis. I had no sinus involvement. I was completely well before this. No allergies. No sinus problems.
Then after a month of the viral infection my nose just seemed to quit functioning. My sinuses were swollen, but no drainage. I assumed that the virus had moved into my sinuses and morphed into a sinus infection. I assumed that I had a sinus infection.
Went to Urgent Care. Diagnosed sinus infection. Prescribed antibiotics, 7 days. No improvement. (I’ve since learned that diagnosing sinsus infection is tricky).
Then I saw an allergist who treated me for a sinus infection with more antibiotics (course 2), a steriod nose spray (flonase), AND antihistamines–Allegra and Zrytec (Allegra doesn’t work well/Zrytec makes me feel awful). Also did predisone course. My nose got worse, not better–less closed of from swelling (probably the predisone) but running nose/sinus spasms started. My face became swollen. Allergist said I might have allergies. Told him this did not act like an allergy
Tried another course of antibiotics (3rd Course). Facial swelling comes and goes Switched to Xyzal (cousin of Zrytec). Everything has made it worse.
4th course of antibiotics. Predisone AGAIN. Continued with Xyzal. Got very depressed and anxious. Crying all the time. Saw therapist. Never connected it with the Xyzal. Then I realized that the Xyzal might be causing the severe depression and anxiety in less than a month.
Next doc visit. Saw the PA instead of allergist. She did note that another patient in the practice the same day complained of the depression and anxiety from Xyzal. Told me to stop the Xyzal. I stopped it that day. My morning depression stopped the next day, but my sinus symptoms worsened.
I stopped Xyzal, but now my nose runs all the time. My sinuses in my nose closes off so I can’t breath. Tried Allegra, no help.
I feel that somehow all these meds the Zrytec, Allegra, Xyzal has damaged my sinuses possibly even the antibiotics.
Had a CT scan. No sign of infection, but my middle turbinators (sinuses) have air bubbles. Apparently many people have this.
Got off the meds. I have constant postnasal drip and terrible pain in the nose on the right side.
Saw ENT. He was horrified at my allergists referral claiming that the air pockets in the sinuses were there before all these events. He said I did not need surgery. He conferred with Allergist’s PA. They decided I needed allergy testing.
Had allergy testing. I am not allergic.
Then diagnosed with Vasomotor Rhinitis. Really this means is that I have a runny nose and they don’t know exactly why–I react to hot/cold air, barometric pressure, and fumes from cooking of spices and onions/garlic. I am reacting to smells–espcially cooking spices, seeming to reinforce their theory. Yet I had none of this prior to the initial respiratory infection AND ALL THESE MEDICINES.
My theory is that one or more drugs has damaged my sinuses/immune system. These violent “anaphylaxis” like reaction to spicy/onion/ garlic smells never happened before. My nose is dry even though it runs. Sounds crazy.
Meanwhile the ENT and Allergist PA conferenced. They concluded I needed surgery to straigthen my deviated septum, reduce my turbinators (middle sinues) and get rid of the air pockets.
Left the phone conference totally bewildered HOW an ENT who told me not to allow anyone to do surgery was now suggesting surgery.
Meanwhile, my nose continues its wild ride of symptoms–closes off, at times when I breath in it feels like the air is super cooled like breathing super glue or some other toxin often for hours at a time. I have postnasal drip causing sleeping problems. Nothing has seemed to help.
Now I am off predisone, antibiotics, and antihistimines but nose pain and postnasal drip driving me crazy.
I was so desparate I took an Allergra. It didn’t help, BUT my face swole up. SO IT IS THE ANITHISTIMINES THAT ARE CAUSING THE FACIAL SWELLING. Then I was worse, so I took a Zrytec. My sinus symptoms went away completely, but my face became MORE swollen and my eyes hurt after just one pill. All this nightmare seems caused by the medicines that were supposed to help me.
After I took the Zrytec with the facial swelling, I decided not to take anymore, but the itching you describe with just one tablet has started.
Has anyone gone for treatment of a viral/cold/sinus infection to end up much sicker because of these allergy drugs? Has it damaged immune systems?

I really do empathize with you. My terrible siege of rashes, hives and unbearable itching, followed by CFS and other horrors, began when I stopped Benedryl cold turkey with no idea what that would do.
I had been taking it for some years, to help me sleep. I was unable to function after stopping the Benedryl, so my allergist put me on Ceterizine. That gave me some relief. When I got ready to stop that, having learned about the dangers of stopping these drugs cold turkey, I tapered off over weeks… 1/2 tablet for about 2 or 3 months, 1/4 tablet for the same length of time.
That was a manageable and effective method. Maybe you would find that helpful too, if you decide to quit taking it. I really do agree with you – I believe these drugs cause the very thing they are designed to cure – at least for some of us, and the withdrawal is awful, although most doctors do not acknowledge that. Good luck! Let us know how you do!

I have uticaria which has become worse after I stopped taking cetrizine. This has given me the itch. I also suffer from swellings to my face and throat which can get pretty serious at times. I have taken anti histamines for over 20 years, up to 5 a day at times which cannot be good for me. I have found out that anti histamines can subdue the thyroid gland which controls the body metabulism. I am also suffering from hypothyroidism and when my level of thyroxine is low I have many more reactions. When my thyroxine level is at the top of the permited chart band then I very rarely have any problems but unfortunately my doctors try to keep my levels in the lower area of the permited band.

I started taking Levocetirizine two years ago for seasonal allergies. My doctor never told me to just take it as needed. I had to get off the meds for a skin allergy test and 24 hours later, my body and scalp was covered with hives.
I called my allergist and she told me to take benadryl. After all the testing, my allergist said that I have auto-immune urticarai (chronic hives). She told me to just continue taking the meds. I honestly think it is taking the allergy meds for two years that caused all these. I don’t know what to do.

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

Just read your article about Citrizine withdrawal symptons. I have been on this drug for 26years but never told why or had any allergy tests. Just been trying to get off this tablet for four days but due to the severe and uncontrollable itching have just taken a tablet. I must say the last two days (apart from the itching) I have felt totally different. Not so lethargic and with definitely more energy. Just makes you wonder what is in this drug. My sister took it for 1 day and it knocked her out she couldn’t stop sleeping for two days. I will definitely try reducing the dose and hopefully will be free of this drug in the not too near future. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Dear LW, I am glad to read your post. I tried going cold turkey me too but I could not bear it longer than 4 days (see my post of today). I was wondering if tapering off would work but now I understand I have to be patient, it’s not a question of days but of months!

Hi stopped have zyrtec after taking it for over 4 years like many others I had no idea of the dreadful withdrawal symptoms. I have had all the horrible side effects but now onto day 9 and the insomnia due to anxiety is my biggest issue at this stage I have only slept a few hours in the last 4 nights.
Could someone let me know if they had this side effect how long did it take to go away? even start to abate, would be heaven to sleep for even 3 hours at a time, so tired I am feeling unwell spaced out. Went to dr but she suggested I take a sleeping pill short term to fix it but don’t want to do that as been doing lots of reading and looks like what ever drug we take to try and fix these issues will have other issues, don’t want another rebound attack.
Once I am hopefully successfully thru this I will post my time line of symptoms and recovery, as reading other success stories has been hugely encouraging to me
Thank you very much, hope I can hang it out!! It’s hell

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

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

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

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

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

Getting off of Zyrtec was horrible. Itching like nothing I have ever experienced. And where I itched there were raised marks like I had been attacked by Freddi Crugger. No lie.
I had been on it for 2yrs. But thought to myself do I really want to be on allergy medication my whole life when I just have seasonal hay fever??? No I don’t. After just being off of it for two days the itching and raised scratches came even just a little scratch did it. :’-(.
Well after about 2.5 months all symptoms are gone and I feel normal again. Now when I start to have my allergy’s come on I just start doing alot of cardiovascular exercise and it goes away almost completely. I don’t believe in a law suit but I believe an apology and bold lettering on there packaging NEEDS TO BE DONE!

You are absolutely correct! I believe it is criminal not to disclose the possible side effects

from cessation of using Zyrtec. I have been in communication with the manufacturer

McNiel Consumer Healthcare. They are big pharma. I always wondered why it was so

expensive compared to most seasonal allergy drugs…well if you stop to think about, if they are creating a dependence on this pill or suffer the agony of traveling itching.

Please take the time to file a complaint with the FDA if you are unhappy with your experience with cetirazine, or you feel that withdrawal symptoms discussed on this forum should be disclosed by the manufacturer.
It takes only about 5 minutes to complete the complaint form, everything can be completed online.

Hello. I’m from Portugal and for the last 10 years I am addicted to Cetirizine (Zyrtec’s generic) due to the itchy withdrawal affects, as for the rest of you in this board.
The itching I’ve been subjected to is unbearable, UNBEARABLE! For several times I tried to stop taking Cetirizine but I just couldn’t handle the horrible skin itching that seemed to get into my bones and burn my skin and eventually had to take the pill again. For those who could overcome the addiction – you are my heroes!!
I will write to Zyrtec and FDA to show my revolt as for the lack of listing the itching as a secondary effect and also to ask them for a solution to our problem. I beg all of you to do the same…

I took allegra for years, and then switched to zyrtec about 7 years ago. Over the years, when I tried to stop zyrtec, immense itching EVERYWHERE — feet, palms of hands, inside ears, throat, private areas, scalp, legs, arms, under arms — no place was immune. I finally found this website about 6 months ago when there was a news article in the paper about withdrawal, and I googled “zyrtec withdrawal”.
I have been weaning myself for 6 months and am almost completely zyrtec free. I couldn’t do the cold turkey because it was publicly embarrassing. As itching would begin at hour 23, I began trying to hold off as long as I could on taking the next pill. Finally got to 36 hours, then 48, 72 hours and am now up to 4.5 days between pills. I do notice my asthma (which had disappeared for years) is recurring more often, but if it gets really bad, I take 5mg of claritin with my inhaler and all symptoms disappear. I think I’ll be zyrtec free within the next 30 days, and believe me, I will never take an antihistamine on a regular basis ever again!

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

Hi everyone,
I have had the same itchy problems as everyone else on here. I’ve experienced it with both zyrtec and allegra. I submitted a report to the FDA about the side effects, and I encourage other people to do the same.
I’m currently taking 1/2 an allegra daily in hopes of weaning off of it completely in the next few months.

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

Hello, I took Levocetirizine because of asthma, tried to stop, very difficult because of itching. I started to lower dose gradually. Started with half a pill and now take half a pill every 5 days. it too a couple of months. The allergist was happy to hear that as he told me he knows it is difficult to stop. I wish he told me that before I have started this medication…
I also exercise Buteiko Breathing Technique which is helping a lot!!!!

The only way I could get off of Zertek was to taper very very slowly. I had a double-whammy: I quit Benedryl cold turkey after years of use and had all of the symptoms you have and more… and then was put on Zertek by an allergist.
When I tried to stop that, it began all over again, and that is when I found this site. It really saved my sanity. That is when I tapered off. No doctor I have spoken to has ever known – or admitted to knowing – about the side effects of quitting. Thank God for people willing to share on here! Best of luck to you!!! I hope you’ll be free of Benedryl very soon.

I stumbled on this site, searching for an answer to the incredible itching/welts I have experienced since discontinuing Benadryl. I have tried to go cold turkey, and am back on the damn things in order to function. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why there is no mention in any ‘medical literature’ of the risk of
getting this dermatological response to discontinuing these kind of over the counter drugs.
I was told by more than one physician that the stuff washed out of your system in 24 hours. Maybe so, but the lingering effects on the release of histamines after using this stuff for a long period of time (for me, at least, I have been using it as a sleep aid/nasal aid for many years) has been unbelievable. I can basically create welts anywhere I scratch, and I have an itching sensation that is hard to ignore. I itch in my sleep, for example, and wake up with welts. I have cut my nails, but even ‘rubbing’ my skin can create a redness and minor welting.
I am going back to the doctor and see if steroids will help, but finding this website has helped. At least now, I HAVE AN ANSWER TO WHAT IS GOING ON.

I have had a bit of a different experience. I am astounding to read all the posts on the itching and hives… and as a NEW user of the generic form, I have taken it every other day (12 hour version) with the “d” version and found it reminded me of taking dexatrim when I was a teenager. I lost 10 pounds, felt energetic and a bit of a “buzz”. I asked my doctor if this was addictive or dangerous given the temptation to take this for other reasons. I don’t have allergies but sinus that were sensitive to extreme changes in humidity or temperature.
In this extreme winter in Chicago with -25 to -45 wind chills, it has helped me with drying up the drainage. For awhile I wondered if I just forgot what it felt like to have clear sinuses that dragged me down, but now thing the drug is a bit of a “pick me up”. I went on a vegetable juice fast for a week and stopped taking it completely and had no withdrawals… except for a bit of “blowback” where the drainage really resumed and my energy dropped.
I was wondering if my withdrawal is similar to when you use nasal spray and your blood vessels are constricted and when it wears off you get a bit of a bad reaction. Anyone have this? With another cold blast I took zyrtec for a couple days but now after reading the potential issues of prolonged use, I will stop now.

I was using nasal sprays of all kinds like Fluticazon etc and it was hard quitting. I started then using a salt inhaler and it helped opening all airways. Good luck.

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

I thought I was the only one (not being dramatic). I have suffered trying to quit for twenty years. I am now trying to wean off. I am going to try half a pill (5 mg) each day (half dose) for first week and then maybe try the same quantity every other day, then keep adding an extra day between doses each week. Maybe this is not slow enough. Any ideas?

To Helen and others who have commented. Please forgive me for saying that I think you have no idea of the degree of horrible itching and burning these people experience. This is not a case of taking a steroid “just for an itch.” My daughter who is 32 suffered for MONTHS with this horrible burning itch that made her think she would lose her mind. The itching was inside her mouth, in her nose and ears, on the palms of her hands and the bottoms of her feet – even inside her private areas!
She felt like her skin was literally crawling off of her body – inside and out. I had to go and stay with her for two weeks to watch her babies while she took steroids, and benedryl and stayed in bed – going through these withdrawals – like a junkie trying to get off hard drugs.
She has rarely been sick a day in her life except that year when she had some mild seasonal allergies. Her doctor gave her the Zertec, and little did she know what hell she would go through trying to get off of it. So please do not scoff at these poor people who describe their suffering, and think they are just talking about a little itch. This is REAL suffering. Unless you have been through it yourself, you just can’t know how horrible it is.

Update: 2 full weeks off Zyrtec. Just to continue with a bit more info. Please add my voice to the others above who say the withdrawal can be done. It’s not over for me, but it’s in the right direction.
Thank you for the nice comments LW.
Today is day 15. As of yesterday, I managed to take only two 75mg doses of Zantac (early morning and just before dinner), which may still be helping or maybe not as a mild antihistamine. Might try skipping tomorrow, if morning itches can be ignored. But the best news is that I took just one 25mg benedryl just before bed, mostly to make sure I sleep through the night without itchies. That means NO other traditional antihistamine all day long!! Next will be trying skipping the night dose too — but waiting until weekend, since I can’t afford a sleepless night during the work week.
It is much better, but definitely not symptom-free during the day. I get bouts of itchiness in random spots, which can last 30-60 minutes. Takes a lot of concentration to not scratch them — but the penalty for scratching is that they spread and get more intense. Very distracting during the work day, but keeping busy helps me to ignore the itch. The itch has been less every day, as long as I don’t scratch. Nighttime has been most frustrating, waking up having scratched in my sleep and my skin in that area is on fire. This wake-up surprise maybe once every three nights.
The anti-itch gel helps (pramoxine), but I’m finding now that generic Aveeno is helping calm the itch too. A bit of itch is from dry skin (normal winter stuff), but the hives and welts is definitely still the withdrawal, and that is most of my problem.
It is getting better; daily progress helping me believe there is an end in sight.

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

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

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

Update: Day 7 without Zyrtec. Posting with some details below but the bottom line is that things got worse before they started to get better.
I had gone 1/2 pills for two weeks, then 1/4 pills for two weeks, then stopped altogether on Christmas day. The itching had been quite bad and seemed to get worse over the first 3 days. Tried to manage with benedryl (12.5mg doses) as best possible, but needed 25mg dose before bed. On day 4, I went to drug store and bought Zantac (per a post above) and the generic itch gel (equiv. to ‘Calamine Clear’).
The Zantac really does work – has a mild antihistamine effect. Taking 75mg doses (1/2 of the extra strength pills), which allowed me 4 doses/day. It would never work to treat my own acute allergies, but it seems to take the edge off the itching. However, after a few days on Zantac, I started getting heartburn, which went away the next day after I cut dose back to 75 twice-a-day. The itch gel helped with flare-up areas, which seemed to appear randomly in patches about 2 inches diameter – more like concentrated hives or welts. Any time these appeared, I took my next 12.5mg benedryl dose, right after putting on the gel. Gel kicks in quickly, and then the pills takeover — at least that’s my theory.
On the fourth night, I woke up at 3am because of the itching. It was bad! Itching isn’t the right description. It felt like everything below my waist was on fire. 50mg benedryl and slathering the worst spots with the itch gel. Fell asleep after 2 hours of laying there and willing myself not to itch. Miserable. But that seemed to be the worst moment of the entire process.
Every day since has been incrementally better. I have managed today with just one 12.5mg benedryl dose (and it’s 8pm now). I’ll take 25mg at bedtime. Today no Zantac either. The borderline heartburn started again — figured better to get of the Zantac sooner rather than later. At rate things are improving, hoping I won’t need a daytime dose at all tomorrow.
The weaning process continues… I am off Zyrtec forever, and it seems like I’ll be able to stop the benedryl dosing pretty soon.

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

Well, all I can say is me too! 1/2 pill for 2 weeks — only a slight bit of itching, but got through OK. 1/4 pill for about 2 weeks, with again only a bit of itching. Some cream and concentrating on not scratching. Now totally off for three days, and the itching is bad. Having to take benedryl to manage (1/2 pills, as needed, but no more than 50mg/day so far).
The good news is that I can report that the 1/2 dose and then 1/4 dose was OK in the sense that I survived without the debilitating itching. So YES the weening process works. It’s the old saying “that last step is a doozie” is where I’m stuck now.
I’m considering the Zantac idea — need to read up on that. I can’t see any harm in trying.
I plan on doing some research on mode of action for benedryl vs Zyrtec. Masking the effect of withdrawal by taking a med on exactly the same targeted biochemical pathway seems self-defeating.
Then: What happens next spring for allergy season? Benedryl makes me too sleepy. I may try claritin, but (as others have said) only as necessary!!

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