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From £1.45 See Prices

Cetirizine tablets relieve symptoms of hay fever and allergy for up to 24 hours. The active ingredients cetirizine hydrochloride or cetirizine dihydrochloride can also be found in branded medication such as benadryl and piriteze, which are usually more expensive.

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Cetirizine PRICES

Medicine x30 Tablets (1 Month) x60 Tablets (2 Months) x90 Tablets (3 Months) x180 Tablets (6 Months)
Cetirizine 10mg Tablets £1.45 £2.89 £4.29 £8.49
Cetirizine 10mg Tablets (Teva Brand) £3.45 £4.89 £6.29  

About Cetirizine

Key points

  • Non-drowsy antihistamine
  • Take one tablet daily
  • Works within 20-60 minutes, lasts for up to 24 hours


What is cetirizine?

Cetirizine is a non-drowsy antihistamine tablet, which is used to treat symptoms of hay fever and allergy. It works by blocking the release of histamine, a chemical released by the body in response to an allergy.

What is cetirizine used for?

Cetirizine is used to treat symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and allergy. Symptoms that cetirizine can help to treat include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • Itchy skin due to hives, eczema, insect bites


How long does cetirizine take to work?

It takes around 20-60 minutes for cetirizine to start working, with the effects lasting for up to 24 hours.

Tip: For long term allergies such as hay fever, start taking cetirizine for 2 weeks before exposure.

Cetirizine Dosage Instructions

Take one tablet daily (with or without food).

Tip: It does not matter what time of day you take cetirizine, as the effects will build up over time. However, it is advisable to take cetirizine at night, in case you experience drowsiness.

Note: Liquid cetirizine is available for children. You should read the patient information leaflet for a dosing chart, which will depend on the age or weight of the child.

Can I take 20mg of cetirizine (two tablets)?

The maximum dose of cetirizine in 24 hours in one 10mg tablet. Taking more than this is considered an overdose. Do not take more than one tablet daily.

Cetirizine Ingredients

Active ingredients: Cetirizine hydrochloride or cetirizine dihydrochloride (10mg)

Inactive ingredients: Lactose, maize starch, microcrystalline cellulose, colloidal anhydrous silica, talc magnesium stearate, hypromellose, sodium citrate, titanium dioxide (E171) and macrogol 4000.

Note: Whilst the active ingredients will remain the same, there may be differences within the inactive ingredients. Read the patient information for a full list of ingredients.

Cetirizine Side Effects

Like all medication, cetirizine can cause side effects. Side effects of cetirizine include:

Common (affecting up to 10% of users):

  • Sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea


Uncommon (affecting up to 1% users):

  • Skin irritation
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Stomach pain
  • Extreme tiredness


Seek medical attention if you experience signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • Swelling of the throat, eyes, nose, or mouth


Does cetirizine make you drowsy?

Cetirizine is a non-drowsy antihistamine; however, drowsiness is a side effect which can affect up to 10% of users.

Tip: If you are taking cetirizine for the first time, take a tablet at night to assess your response.

Cetirizine Warnings

Do not take cetirizine if:

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • You have stage 4 kidney disease


Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking cetirizine if:

  • You have kidney problems
  • You have problems urinating
  • You have epilepsy
  • You are due to have an allergy test (you will need to stop taking cetirizine a few days before your test)

Cetirizine In Pregnancy

Cetirizine is safe to take in pregnancy, however, other antihistamines such as loratadine have more evidence to support use during pregnancy.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you wish to use cetirizine whilst pregnant.

Cetirizine In Breastfeeding

Cetirizine is usually safe to take whilst breastfeeding if your baby is healthy.

Small amounts can pass through the breast milk. If your baby is not feeding as normal, seems more tired than usual, or displays any other unusual behavior, stop taking cetirizine and speak to your doctor.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you wish to use cetirizine whilst breastfeeding.

Cetirizine Interactions

Cetirizine is safe to take with most medication. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking:

  • Betashistine
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Phenelzine
  • Tranylcypromine


You may still be able to take cetirizine, but your dosing regime may need altering.

Can you take cetirizine with alcohol?

Drinking alcohol while taking cetirizine can make you feel very drowsy.

Cetirizine Alternatives

Cetirizine hydrochloride vs cetirizine dihydrochloride

  • Both are the same compound, with the same molecular weight. There is no difference between the two


Cetirizine vs loratadine

  • Cetirizine works faster than loratadine
  • Loratadine lasts longer than cetirizine
  • You cannot take cetirizine and loratadine together, or one the same day
  • Both are similar in price


Cetirizine vs fexofenadine

  • Cetirizine is more likely to cause drowsiness than fexofenadine
  • Cetirizine is faster acting, taking 20-60 minutes to work
  • Cetirizine is cheaper than fexofenadine
  • You cannot take cetirizine and fexofenadine at the same time, or on the same day


Cetirizine vs levocetirizine

  • Cetirizine is more likely to cause drowsiness
  • Levocetirizine is a prescription only medication whilst cetirizine can be bought over the counter
  • Cetirizine is cheaper than levocetirizine


  1. NHS UK. (n.d.). Cetirizine. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from

  2. British National Formulary. (n.d.). Cetirizine Hydrochloride. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from

No, you should not give cetirizine to your pets, or any animals, unless you have been advised to do so by a vet.

Yes, a syrup form is available for children.

Yes, you can buy cetirizine over the counter.

For as long as there is exposure to the allergen which causes symptoms.

Cetirizine is safe to take long-term and there are no withdrawal effects.

No, weight gain is not a listed side effect.

Yes, however, most NHS doctors will not prescribe cetirizine, and advise patients to purchase it OTC.

Skip the missed dose and ensure the next tablet is taken on time. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

Product Reviews For Cetirizine

Summary For Cetirizine

Medication class Non-drowsy antihistamine
Mechanism of action Stops histamine release
Active ingredient Cetirizine hydrochloride / cetirizine dihydrochloride
Strength 10mg
Effective within 20-60 minutes
Dosage instructions Take one tablet daily
Manufacturer Allacan, Piriteze, Bell’s healthcare, Teva, Galpharm, Crescent, Relonchem
Use with alcohol In moderation


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