an itchy man scratching his back

Cetirizine (Zyrtec) is an antihistamine often used to treat allergies, nasal congestion or hives. It is considered a second-generation non-sedating antihistamine. In other words, it doesn’t make you drowsy the way diphenhydramine (Benadryl) does. Other second-generation antihistamines include fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin). For reasons we cannot explain, we have received a number of reports about a post-cetirizine itch. It’s almost like a Zyrtec withdrawal reaction. Readers have been complaining about this reaction for a few years now. 

Where Does the FDA Stand on Zyrtec Withdrawal?

About a year ago we contacted one of the highest officials at the FDA. Here is what we wrote:

“Dr. Woodcock,

“As you probably know, cetirizine (Zyrtec) and levocetirizine (Xyzal) are very popular OTC antihistamines. Several years ago we became aware of a withdrawal reaction (pruritis) when these antihistamines are stopped suddenly. Since then, our website has become a place where people who experience this reaction can report their experiences. Over the last eight years we have accumulated over 700 comments about this problem. We suspect that is substantially more than the FDA’s MedWatch program. 

“There are no warnings or guidance with regard to this phenomenon. Given the widespread availability of such products it would seem prudent for the FDA to investigate this withdrawal reaction and offer health professionals and consumers some information about 1) the possibility and 2) how to discontinue the drugs safely.”

On June 3, 2018 we heard back from another high official at the FDA, Dr. Gerald J. Dal Pan, Director, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology. He said:

Dear Mr. Graedon,

 “Thank you for your email of May 15, 2018 to Dr. Janet Woodcock regarding cetirizine (Zyrtec) and levocetirizine (Xyzal) and withdrawal reactions (pruritus). Dr. Woodcock has asked me to respond. We appreciate your interest and perspective regarding this issue. The FDA strives to keep drug prescribing information (labeling) up to date with important safety information so that health care professionals and patients can make informed treatment decisions.

 “As stated on the FDA website ‘Potential Signals of Serious Risks/New Safety Information Identified from the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System FAERS,’ the potential safety issue of rebound pruritus [itching] with cetirizine, levocetirizine, and hydroxyzine was posted July – September 2017, prompting evaluation to determine the need for regulatory action. 

 “As a result of this review, the prescription levocetirizine Prescribing Information was revised to include the following information about pruritus after discontinuation of cetirizine in the Adverse Reactions-Postmarketing Experience section (6.2):

 “Rebound pruritus- pruritus within a few days after discontinuation of cetirizine, usually after long-term use (e.g. months to years) of cetirizine.

 “FDA plans on publishing the results of the review in a peer-reviewed journal to further disseminate the information.

 “In addition, FDA continues to monitor and assess serious adverse events for all approved products reported by healthcare providers, patients, and others.

 “Best regards,

 “Gerald J. Dal Pan, MD, MHS”

What’s Happened on the Zyrtec Withdrawal Front?

We continue to search high and low for the article that Dr. Dal Pan alluded to in his response. As far as we can tell, there has been no FDA-written article in a “peer-reviewed journal” to disseminate information about Zyrtec withdrawal itching. 

We could find nothing in the prescribing information or on the OTC label about Zyrtec withdrawal either. We admit that we could be dense, but we suspect it is hard to find if it exists at all. As a result, we suspect that most people are unaware of this potential problem.

Reader Share Stories About Zyrtec Withdrawal:

One of the few ways people can learn about such reactions are on this website. They learn from each other. The FDA doesn’t seem to place much stock in such “anecdotes,” but we think they can be helpful. Here are just a few:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another reader shared this story about her cat allergies:

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

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

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

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

Connie did well for a few years and then…Zyrtec withdrawal hit

“I have taken Zyrtec for years for hay fever every spring. Once the pollen season was over I stopped the Zyrtec with no side effects.

“This year was different! I normally took 5 mg every night…say for 5 to 6 weeks. This year, within 3 days of stopping Zyrtec I cane up with a terrible rash over most of my body. The itching is from hell. I went to the doctor and he advised me to continue with Zyrtec! Medical professionals have no clue. I am on day 7. The itching and rash are very bad. I will hang in there and will never take Zyrtec again!”

Suzanne reports that even after months of gradual tapering, the itching returned when she stopped Zyrtec:

“My doctor put me on it about five years ago for itching. One vacation I forgot to take it for three days—and experienced terrible, incessant itching. Within 10 minutes of taking a tablet I was fine.

“I talked to her about it and she acted like I was insane. I later found an article about the itching and took it to her. I decided to take myself off the drug by taking less and less ever so slowly. I started with 3/4 of a tablet for several months, then 1/2 for several months more, then 1/4 for several months more. I have been weaning myself off for about nine months!

“Two days ago was my 1/4 last pill. Within 24 hours the itching started. Right now I am itching like crazy; today I am calling my doc to see if she will give me anything for it. I am determined not to ever take this Zyrtec again.”

It’s not just Zyrtec. We have also heard from readers who experienced withdrawal itching when they stopped levocetirizine (Xyzal). 

Kim in Dallas shared this story about Xyzal:

“I was shocked and relieved to see others going through the same reactions as myself.

“I’ve been on Xyzal and Benadryl for years. After deciding to go to an allergist and being told to go off any antihistamines for 7 days before testing, I quit cold turkey, not expecting much more than stuffy nose and watery eyes.

“By day two I was experiencing the expected allergic reactions to cat dander and my other pollen and mold allergies. Then came the entire body rash and itching. Hands, feet, and arms first, then all over my body. I was scratching so hard it led to welts and swelling.

“:I still have 4 days to go before my testing. I refuse to go back on any oral allergy medications again. I will ride this through and hope that the allergy shots will help. I had no idea that I had become so dependent upon my allergy medications and what they have been doing to my body.”

Share your own story below in the comment section. If you experienced Zyrtec withdrawal we would like to hear from you. If you were able to stop Zyrtec without any symptoms we would like to learn about that too. This Zyrtec withdrawal reaction may be incredibly rare. That’s why we need to know how many people have done well stopping this antihistamine.

Revised 6/6/19

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  1. Hope
    GA
    Reply

    I also had the terrible itchy feeling after stopping Zyrtec. I weaned myself off of it by taking it every other day, then skipping two days, etc. until I am finally off of it.

    You are right. This should come with a warning.

  2. robert l.
    TX
    Reply

    I was a regular user of Zyrtec (Z) due to the high pollen and spore problems we have in Houston. In March this year I went in for surgery and stopped taking it. In May I went back to taking Z and developed an itch over my upper body. I thought it was a reaction to the surgery and tried skin ointments with not much success. I went off Z for a bit and then went back with the pollen increase. The itch was back and work. It was demanding to the point that there were scratch marks all over my upper body. After scratching, it was ecstatic even to the point I was breaking skin or ripping off the small scabs. I’m going to quit taking Z and bite the bullet and see if I can cure the itching and scars.

  3. Sharon
    Arizona
    Reply

    I was advised by my vet to give my dogs (a golden retriever and a pug) Zyrtec for their skin allergies. They were taking a low dose…5 mg a day. For several years all seemed well, and their allergy symptoms, chronic itching, hot spots and ear infections, were minimized or nonexistent.

    Then one morning, without warning, my dogs started vomiting and were unable to walk. Their legs were shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t support their weight. I had not changed their diet or activity levels. I called the vet and was advised to immediately stop the Zyrtec. Their symptoms were lessened by the next morning, but it took several weeks for them to get back to normal. The vet apologized for suggesting they take it. He had more than a few complaints that this was occurring to pets in his practice, so he did some reading and found anecdotal evidence that this side effect had been observed in dogs and cats. He was in the process of advising his pet owners to discontinue this antihistamine when they brought their pets in for their annual exams/vaccines.

    If this antihistamine does this to dogs and cats, why are we even thinking of taking it ourselves? My husband has taken Zyrtec for years and refuses to stop even after seeing what happened to our pets. Now that I’ve read about the terrible withdrawal symptoms, I’m not sure he should ever stop taking it.

  4. Joseph M.
    Ohio
    Reply

    I too was thinking of leaving the Ceterizine, but now I’m wondering if I should after reading what I’m going to experience. Has anyone other than Jackie gotten off of ceterizine by going onto something else like Benadryl, Allegra, or Claritin without having the itching?

  5. Greg
    Texas
    Reply

    I had the exact same experience with awful itching after discontinuing use of Zyrtec. My PCP has no clue what might be causing it. I went to my Dermatologist, and she had me take Allegra, and it went away almost overnight. I then read these stories and realized what caused it. Never taking it again.

  6. Paula
    Charlotte
    Reply

    Same issue with Zyrtec. I was miserable, full body hives. My doctor thought I was crazy. I switched to Allegra and then tapered off the Allegra. I still take Allegra now and then, but have found Nasal Crom (recommenced on this site) to be the most beneficial. It takes some planning. Now I use it starting before the Spring & Fall allergy seasons. My hay fever has never been better.

  7. Gerry
    FL
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with angioedema in year 2000, very serious tongue swelling, throat clogging up (anaphylaxis) and rxd to take zyrtec and benadryl every night, which I did up until a year ago. I also found info on salicylate allergies which I think caused the tongue swelling in the first place; since salicylates are in many foods I have a chart showing low, medium and high salicylates, plus msg, food colors and dyes that also bother me. Am following this for the next 15 years. I no longer have the tongue swelling.

    I decided to go off zyrtec and just take benadryl; immediately started a groin itch which I continue to have; the other body parts not so bad, but an OTC commercial products helps the itch. Food chart was from New Zealand Public Health site. I wrote an article about it which I would be happy to share if anyone is interested.

  8. Bert
    NC
    Reply

    I do NOT recommend taking this antihistamine! I took Zyrtec for 4 years for seasonal allergies. I stopped cold turkey last July in an effort to isolate why I was feeling so fatigued. The severe deep itching started in a few days and lasted for about 2 months. Deep pins and needles (some describe as bug bites) lasted for another 2 months. My skin was sensitive, and it was difficult to wear clothes, and I had photosensitivity and couldn’t be in the sun. My scalp and the area between my shoulder blades burned.

    It’s been 6 months, and I am just beginning to get through the withdrawal. I still have some scalp itching and burning and some sensitive skin. Many people have hives, anxiety, water retention, and many other symptoms. My allergist said I would itch for a month, and my dermatologist said she doesn’t take anyone off Zyrtec cold turkey, but they refused to believe it could last longer than a month. Zyrtec withdrawal is a real thing.

    There is a Facebook group for those who experience the withdrawal, many who experience it for several months and longer. The FDA doesn’t seem to be interested, and most doctors don’t believe it’s possible. Please stay away from this drug.

  9. Anne
    CO
    Reply

    This drug causes extremely dry eyes. I have dry eyes already, but this made it unbearable. I quit the drug, and then the massive uncontrollable itching started. Twitchy eye muscles were also a problem (probably due to extreme dryness). Then the migraines and weird dreams started. I think there should be a warning on this drug. I am off it day 6 now. The itching is improved but I still have a slight headache. I rarely had headaches before this. My doctor didn’t know about any of this, but the pharmacist knew it.

    • Anne
      CO
      Reply

      update: about 15 days off Zyrtec. The swelling in my eyes went down. 8 months of twitchy eye muscles has stopped. The itching has greatly improved. My eye doctor wouldn’t believe me. My doctor friend won’t believe me. I will never take this pill again EVER. There should be warning labels on this drug. I had a slight headache yesterday, but no headache today. After going off this drug I had a headache for 6 days straight.

  10. Deb
    NC
    Reply

    I don’t tweet, but it’s Like a #me2zyrtec moment. I was getting very concerned about my health due to the extreme itching, nausea, fatigue, and flu-like feeling. The itching awakened me at night so I know I wasn’t resting well. My body has scratch marks and bruises all over due to the extreme scratching. After 20 years of Zyrtec or its generic form, I simply ran out. No other allergy med or homeopathic remedy helped me as much as the cetirizine – so I’m very grateful for that. I don’t like taking medicine but due to inherited arthritis with the inflammation and pain – I finally cried “uncle”. So when I ran out of Zyrtec and was busy with my New Year’s resolution of organization and cleaning, I decided that one less pill a day couldn’t hurt.

    I don’t even remember the exact day I stopped the Zyrtec, but it has been at least 7 days. So much for my cleaning and organization, as I have felt horrible. The weakness, fatigue, headaches and nausea have physically halted any activity. I don’t experience all the symptoms at once necessarily or a full 24 hours of them. BUT, this excruciating itch never seems to stop and has affected me emotionally as well as physically. Trying the “mind over matter” approach with this itch has been an epic FAIL, as there is NO way to ignore it. Topical creams and lotions from goat’s milk to prescriptions also get an “F”. I haven’t been out of the house to be exposed to any bugs so I retraced almost every move, considering Christmas gifts, laundry detergents, cosmetics, soaps or anything that has changed – nothing.

    Today I was making my shopping list, as I have to go out anyway to an orthopedic doctor’s appointment, and there it was: the empty Zyrtec bottle I had left out as a reminder to get more. Light bulb! Finally I had found something that changed with my body recently. I immediately searched he web about Zyrtec withdrawal and now feel so relieved, yet saddened, that I’m not the only one suffering through this.

    I haven’t even mentioned the itching to my family, as it is so severe and widespread that I was afraid they’d think I was crazy – especially since I had the same thought myself. I mean, who scratches their body into red, raw streaks and bruises? Thank you for this forum, and my prayers and best wishes go out to everyone suffering with this. I do feel better since I’m convinced this withdrawal is the root of my recent health problems. Zyrtec improved my quality of life for years but this withdrawal presents a very real dilemma and must be addressed.

  11. Jessica
    CA
    Reply

    I’m a writer looking to hear from people who have suffered adverse effects upon stopping regular Zyrtec use, in particular, the chronic itching that seems very common. Interested in being a part of my article? Please contact me here! https://www.jessicamisener.net/contact/

  12. Pat
    Evans, GA
    Reply

    OMG….thank you SO much for this forum. Over the past couple of years I have been popping a zyrtex to help control the constant sinus issues which cause me also to cough. I have mild asthma which is mostly seasonal. About a month ago I decided to just use the asthma meds and get off zyrtex, as I hate taking meds anyway. All of a sudden it seemed I was getting bit by something…often at night. Swelling of the “bites” was more hyper than a normal bug bite. I was also not feeling quite right…sometimes dizzy, naseau…then these bite like things popping up in places on my body. I have not been to a doctor about this…but, it appears that if I do they are just going to think I am crazy if I say it is zyrtex withdrawal. Topical cortizone creams and spray on benadryl seem to help. This is so disappointing, as the zyrtex really did help my asthma symptoms…but it is very scary to think I am hyper allergic now. Wonder how long til I can rid myself of this?

  13. Tara
    New york
    Reply

    I’m on day 4 off of Zyrtec. I quit cold turkey. I was on it for twenty years. I have all the classic withdrawal symptoms. I’ve been taking one Benadryl at night to sleep. Do you think It’s a bad idea to take the Benadryl? Seeing that it’s also an antihistamine. I would like some opinions on this.

  14. Tim
    Reply

    Wow, this is a real thing…. Zyrtec Withdrawal = severe Constipation and minor itching for me.

    I have been taking Sams Club Cetirizine for over a year with good results for preventing nasal allergies turning into sinusitis and decided to stop taking it a week ago. I am now Constipated horribly, my intestines are in knots, it really hurts badly. This sucks. For all my life (40) I am regular like clockwork, until this week. Hope it doesn’t last long.

  15. Nick
    Omaha nebraska
    Reply

    I’ve taken Zyrtec now for over a year. I always stopped taking it come fall weather. Every time I stop taking it my head starts to get real weazy for weeks and it make you nauseated this is definitely a withdrawal so don’t be alarmed if you have same systems they will go away i would recommend going to a doctor for nausea medicine you will need it trust me.

  16. lars
    chicago
    Reply

    I had been on Zyrtec for at least 10 yrs for hives (although I have read that it does not help hives, it greatly helped stop the itch) and miraculously found I had been allergic to rare ingredient in some of the foods I had been eating which I eliminated from my diet – I stopped Zyrtec cold turkey and had zero withdraw symptoms to the extend that I never even thought about it. I came across this site while searching for something else about Zyrtec for my cat and wanted to pass along that it must depend on the person as I took it almost every day – 10mg doe 10 yrs.

  17. Will
    DC
    Reply

    I took Zyetec for several years but recently decided to stop due to my having developed an enlarged prostate (BPH) over the years and was told that decongestants could further aggravate this condition. Unfortunately, I stopped cold turkey about a week ago, resulting in severe itching and red welts and hives on my forearms and neck after two days of having stopped the medication.

    This lasted about a week, followed by flu-like allergy cold symptoms, including sneezing, constant runny nose, body aches and fatigue. I just had a thorough physical prior to stopping the drug and I was fine. I am convinced my symptoms are due to stopping the Zyrtec, as that is the only change I have made in my diet / health routine.

    The allergy cold seems to be getting slightly better after 12 days now. This withdrawal has been quite an ordeal. Like so many others here on this blog, I am glad I stopped taking this medication – who knew?!

  18. Sally
    East Troy Wisconsin
    Reply

    I had started Zyrtec, as I have constant runny nose, throat drain cough, and breathing problems. I have seen many types of doctors and was just told I have COPD and put on inhalers etc. The Zyrtec dried up the drip and some drainage so kept taking it. I noticed itchy scalp at first and now also arms. I have been having long strange dreams too but never connected it all up. I tried stopping Zyrtec and got all stopped up, having more trouble breathing! I read the other reviews and see I am not alone! I will try cutting the pills in half and see what happens!

  19. Raquel
    MI
    Reply

    This is a real thing! I tried to tell my allergist about this when I stopped taking Zyrtec, which I had been taking daily for 20 years, so I could get an updated skin test. He denied it and said the Zyrtec was masking the itch. I said, no, I didn’t itch before taking it. Obviously, he never acknowledged the fact that Zyrtec withdrawal is a real thing and that is very concerning. A year and a half later, I’m weaning myself so I can attempt the skin test again. I will never take Zyrtec again and advise anyone who’s considering it to try a different antihistamine.

  20. Cynthia
    GA
    Reply

    I posted back in March when I decided to get off of Zyrtec after over 20 + years of taking it daily. I reduced from 10 to 5mg. I had terrible migraines for 3 weeks. Then after a month I reduced to 2.5 then 1.25 using the Children’s liquid. I have been totally off for 7 days. This week I felt like I had the flu, nauseated, itching, welts but it is getting better. I am taking the natural supplements Gueticin, Stinging Nettles, Saline spray (for congestion), Vitamin C, Magnesium, Seabreeze and itch cream for topical use. I am very glad to be off this poison finally! I have read that the itching continues for awhile but it is worth it to finally be off Zyrtec!

  21. Jojo
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Reply

    Hi, I’ve been taking Zyrtec for 18 years, ever since our family got a kitty cat. When I moved out on my own with just a small Chihuahua, I thought to discontinue the antihistamine. The reaction was typical to everyone else’s, unbearable itching everywhere. Rather than quit cold turkey, I decided to wean myself off Zrytec. I cut a 10mg dose in half for 3 weeks.

    Then, took half a pill or 6 weeks every two days. 10 days ago, I quit completely. The first week was miserable!! On the 9th day, it was much better, still a little itchy but so much better than the first week. Please Google high histamine level foods. I noticed it helped avoiding strawberries and tomatoes, and I will continue avoiding these foods for a few more weeks. Please stick with it! I feel much better now!

  22. Cheryl
    Winnipeg
    Reply

    I am getting an asthma lung test tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. My respirologist instructions was to stop at the antihistamines 3 days before. So I stopped 4 days before. I’ve been using cetirizine for 10 years plus. After 24 hours of my last dose, an overwhelmong feeling came over me. I felt like my whole body was burning. My face was on fire with itch and hives. I felt nauseated.

    Today is day 4 off of cetirizine. My withdrawal symptoms are just as bad. My face feels like leather. My head and my neck is the main point of attack. As bad as my allergies were, they were never like this. I’m so thankful I know what’s going on. I will not take this poison into my body. I will continue to fight. Thanks for all your comments. It helps to know I am not alone.

  23. David
    MS
    Reply

    I have launched a formal complaint with the FDA because these withdrawal symptoms are absolutely UNBEARABLE !!! Please contact me for the FDA form so that we can file a substantial number of complaints if not nothing will be done.

    • Candith
      FL
      Reply

      Hi David,
      How do I get the form? I have stopped taking it 2 days ago and this itching is driving me up the wall! I am having a test next Wednesday to see if I’m allergic to penicillin. Think I may cancel for now and try to wean myself off slowly. Didn’t know this could happen and it is really horrible! I seem to have all the symptoms as others, with the itching moving around on my body. Impossible to get to sleep
      Thanks

    • Shannon
      Charlottesville, VA
      Reply

      David – I would like the form as well, please.

    • MARCIA
      Harrisonburg va
      Reply

      I WOULD LIKE THE FORM ALSO!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Jenni
    PA
    Reply

    I took Zyrtec daily for a little over one year for my environmental allergies, until I had to stop taking it in order to have allergy testing done. 48 hours after stopping Zyrtec I began to experience unbearable itchiness. Initially it was just in my groin, but then spread over my whole body. One moment it was my palms, then my leg, then my scalp, then my feet etc.

    Scratching would relieve it for mere moments before it either started up again or moved to another spot on my body. I did not have any sort of rash or hives. It kept me awake at night and at times was so unbearable that I felt as if I were going insane, just sitting on the couch frantically scratching one spot and then another, unable to get comfortable or relax.

    Shortly after the itchiness began I did a search online, wondering if Zyrtec could have anything to do with it (being an antihistamine), and discovered hundreds of stories of people experiencing the same thing that I was going through. It gave me some comfort, but not much as accounts of how long it lasted varied greatly. For me the worst part lasted about 6 months, and got progressively better.

    However, my body still seems to be hypersensitive to histamine. Merely getting one bug bite seems to trigger the transient generalized itching, as does close contact – at times I can barely stand physical contact with others because it triggers the itchiness all over again.

  25. Anastasia
    Livermore, CA
    Reply

    I also had this reaction when I tried to stop taking Zyrtec. It was worse at night and I would itch everywhere and have awful welts in the morning. A dermatologist told me I had dermatographia, which I just took this info with a grain of salt. So I started taking the zyrtec again, thinking I just had really bad allergies. Well I am glad to know it is not severe allergies, or hives, but a withdrawal symptom. When allergy season is over, I am going to try to taper back on the medication or try something else. I thought I would be taking this forever.

    I thank you all for sharing your stories. I would’ve never known.

  26. Anna
    clinton, ms
    Reply

    When I was a little child, I tool cetirizine over the counter for my pollen allergies, for several years. i started when I was three, but I recently stopped it, at age thirteen. I dont know if this is connected, but I have Barlow Syndrome (mitral valve prolapse) and it has always been under control… until I stopped taking Zyrtec.

    After a year, at age fourteen, it has continually gotten worse, and i’ve done some research and found that Zyrtec has couple of ingredients that have a calming affect on hypotension. for whatever reason that is, I believe stopping Zyrtec and having a cardiac condition was probably not the best idea.

    I started back taking it two weeks ago, still 14, and my heart rate has dropped about 45 beats a minute, now around 80, and have not had nearly the amount of complications. let this be a warning to whoever… those of you with heart conditions- if you need an allergy medication, dont take zyrtec (or anything cetirizine or levo-cetirizine based), and if you already take it, do not stop taking it.

    • Cynthia
      Reply

      I just took my last dose 7 days ago. I weaned off it for 3 months. I had been on Zyrtec for over 20 years daily. Even though I had reduced down to only 1.25 mg per day, I have felt like I have had the flu this week: chills, itching, hives, nausea, etc. Nettle leaf, vitamin C, Guavarin, and itch cream have helped! I also read that Magnesium can help too. I am so glad to finally be off this awful medication. Buyer beware!

    • Jackie
      Ebensburg Pa
      Reply

      I stopped taking zertex after a year because of feeling tired and constantly hungry. This is Day 3 and I decided to take Claritin d which my other specialist told me to take. I took this because after stopping zertex I was so itchy everywhere I couldn’t stand it. The itch is gone but I feel like I have a cold and flu. Very nauseous. I hope that I have the strength to stay off of zertex. I have lost faith in this allergist. I am thinking about stopping the 2 shots he gives me also. It is a trade off no sinus infections for fatigue and weight gain.

      • Lucy
        Reply

        I feel same way about allergists. They don’t do anything except give me antihistamines and allergy shots. The allergy shots work for a while and then quit. I been through 2 courses of allergy shots. The 2nd time, the allergy came back faster. The nasal sprays also work for a while, and then they stop working.

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