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Avatar universal

addicted to zyrtec?

i started taking zyrtec about 6 months ago for post nasal drip and watery eyes. i took it almost every day and felt much better. i figured i would stop and see if my allergies were better. bad idea. after 48 hour without zyrtec i start to itch everywhere. it starts between my fingers and wrists and feet and ankles and ends up everywhere. i take a pill and it goes away. i have tried to stop many times but the itching is just too bad. i have been able to cut my pills in quarters and it will keep the itch away. my friend goes to an allergist and she asked about my symptoms. the doctor said it wasnt the drugs fault and it was just my symptoms returning. zyrtec isnt habit forming. i have never had itching as an allergy symptom before. has anyone else had this problem? tell me i am not nuts!
23 Responses
563773 tn?1374246539

You are not addicted to zyrtec.It is just that you are having an allergy or some systemic disease which is not being able to be controlled by zyrtec.

Itchy skin can be caused by dry skin. ). Dry skin usually results from environmental factors that you can wholly or partially control. These include hot or cold weather with low humidity levels, long-term use of air conditioning or central heating, and washing or bathing too much.Apply hypoallergenic moisturizer to the body part where you itch.application of calamine lotion is also helpful.It soothes the skin.

Other conditions cause itchy skin as well. Skin conditions like psoriasis,dermatitis,lice,scabies and hives, internal diseases like liver and kidney disorders, iron deficiency anemia, irritation and allergic reactions to chemicals,wool,soaps,cosmetics and certain foods  can cause itchy skin.

You can apply an anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area. Oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl or Claritin can also be used. You should take a comfortably cool bath and wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. Covering the affected area with bandages and dressings can help protect the skin and prevent scratching. You should choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes and use a mild, unscented laundry detergent when washing clothes, towels and bedding.

Sometimes double conventional doses of these non-sedating antihistamines such as Cetirizine, Loratadine, Acrivastine and Fexofenadine may be needed to get symptom relief. Sedating antihistamines such as Chlorphenamine or Hydroxyzine are used at night to get urticaria control. Short courses of oral cortisone or steroids are taken for short periods (one to three days) to settle more severe symptoms.
You may take Vitamin C along with the prescribed treatment. Vitamin C is a general anti-allergy supplement. It helps stabilize mast cells so they are less likely to release histamine.

If the itching does not stop after 6 wks also then pls consult a dermatologist as it may be a case of chronic urticaria and may be due to auto antibodies.

I hope this helps. Please do keep me posted.

Horrible recommendation. Do not take extra doses of the antihistamine if you've already experienced terrible effects of withdrawal. You are in the <1% of the population that likely experiences these effects, but they won't go away -- you'll be addicted to Zyrtec for life. Best to taper off and quit.
Avatar universal
i do not have dry skin and there are no visible reasons for the itching except stopping zyrtec. i already take vitamin c for an unrelated condition. up until  now i have never had all over itching in my life. i have googled zyrtec itch tonight and found sites full of people with the same problem (whos doctors dont believe them). supposedly the itch goes away in around two weeks. this may not be documented by healthcare professionals but there seem to be lots of people with the same problem. too many to write off as dry skin or masked allergies. this is the number 1 allergy medication and they probably dont want people to know discontinuing it can cause itching.
1446570 tn?1284562176
Definately Zyrtec is addictive, I have been taking it for the last 8 to 10 years, in the beginning it was prescribe by my dr. which I was paying through my insurance $30.00 a month to get it, now it is sold over the counter.  I have been trying to get off it for so many years, but have not been successful.  I go crazy after the 2nd day I do not take it, with itching all over, hands, arms, legs, head, everywhere you name it.
I Really want to break this addiction, I feel like a junky in drugs.

I stopped taking on Monday, today is Wednesday and I am going crazy, but I will try my hardest to break this habit.  Hope it does not torment me too long.

Hope you were able to get off it, and if so, how long did it take you before you were free? I believe since I have been on it for so long, the torture will be longer.

Wish me Luck,
From: Ity(Junky)
Avatar universal
I could not believe I found some one else with the exactly the same problem as me! the burning itching with hands & feet & then spreads all over, All from not taking Zyrtec(or the generic version Cetirizine Hydrochloride) after using it for over six months. I have a doctor & I will be just paying the $25 co-payment for him to tell me stop taking it. well duh!  Its a catch 22 situation for me...there is no other allergy meds that stops my nose n eyes watering, some can put up with it but I work in cosmetics and I have to always look my best...nothing worse than a make up artist with smudged mascara and a sniffly runny nose doing your make up. I try to not take it as much and like you take a half or quarter of the pill, I'm not taking it now for allergys bit now to stop the withdrawal.
I feel like a junkie trying to get off drugs...and I have searched and searched all over the web on the side effects and there is absolutely nothing mentioning this problem. so what else to do? I'm at a loss.  
Avatar universal
OH my God!!! i have the sameeeeee problem!!
i have been taking Zyrtec over 2 years now!!! the minute i stop i start getting rashes.. itchiness !!!
i always tried getting out of this but every time i do i fail!!
it gets me crazy!!
After reading these complaints i think Zyrtec is the reason for this!!
my Doctor had advised me to have it  for two weeks and after that wen i stopped my condition was worse .. and whenever i tried to fix it .. Zyrtec was helping me and that's by taking a pill every night!!

- Mona
Avatar universal
I have seasonal allergies, and I had a dog for 13 years.  I am moderately allergic to dog based on skin testing.  For the past two years, I took Zyrtec (generic version) everyday because of closer proximity to the dog due to a smaller apartment. My dog was recently put down due to health issues.  I decided to switch from Zyrtec to Claritin because my mild asthma symptoms diminished and Claritin packs less of a punch.  I started developing mosquito-like bumps on my hands and wrists.  My doctor and I ruled-out scapies, bed bugs, posion ivy, fungular folliculitis. I had forgotten to mention that I just recently stopped taking Zyrtec. My doctor thought it was eczema. She prescribed predisone and a topical ointment.  That was about 8 days ago.  The predisone helped, but I took smaller than the predscribed dose and still have had itching and random itchy bumps with itchy redness, especially if scratched, on my elbows, knuckles, and knees.  Even so, I have considered my history and know there's definetly a corelation.  Has the Zyrtec keep a condition at bay?  I doubt it. My hunch is that my body developed a vulnerability to the Zyrtec.  I've done some cursory research of the academic literature on anti-histamines. The mucous in the intestines may be affected. I think the body develops a celiac disease type of response.  I have been tested for gluten and wheat allergies with no indicators of a reaction.  I think the drug companies and/or FDA need to create longitudinal or clinical trials.  If these trials have already been done, the studies may need to be repeated because of the high number of self-reporting on Zyrtec withdrawal symptoms.  Best wishes to those of you who are itching. I am hoping for relief soon as my body will hopefully readjust and heal.  I also cut out coffee because of the possibility of a combined effect.    
Avatar universal
I have the same problem.  I have been taking Zyrtec for many years and for the last few have had the "addiction"...itching, often mixed with a burning sensation, starting with my palms and the soles of my feet then moving to every other part of my body.  It is terrible and nearly debilitating.  This used to take a couple of days to start, but recently I start itching about 36 hours after my last dose.  I am currently on day 7 of a juice fast.  Amazingly enough, I am able to go several days without any itching!  I took half a Zyrtec the first night of the fast.  By day 4 I ended up taking another half b/c the itching became unbearable.  I haven't taken another one and tonight the itching is starting to get worse, but it's not too terrible yet so I'm going to try to tough it out.  Someone in a previous post mentioned it taking 2 weeks to recover, so hopefully I can last that long.  It's very interesting that someone else mentioned the gluten issue, as well.  I went on a gluten-free diet for 1.5 months, but, unfortunately didn't think about that helping with the Zyrtec issue, so I don't think I tried not to take it.  However, during the current  juice fast I'm not consuming any gluten (just juiced organic fruits and veggies), so it's something to think about.  I'll bookmark this page and try to remember to post my progress in another week.  Best of luck to all of you suffering!
Avatar universal
I too believe I am addicted to zyrtec or the generic anyway. The problem is that it's the only med. that helps keep sinus infections away! Plus, I am allergic to all types of fruit, but while taking my daily dose of zyrtec I can eat fruit again. I develop a horrible itch all over my body if I don't take it and it can start patches of a rash too. I've been taking it for a little over a year now. And at first when I ran out of hem and tried taking benadril or claritin but they were not as effective. And I even thought the itch was an allergy, even though I had never had that before. My best bet is I'll keep taking zyrtec since nothing will make the itch go away. :/
Avatar universal
so..what's the remedy? what should we do to get out of this cetirizine addiction and most importantly avoiding this brutal itching problem???
Avatar universal
I have been taking Zyrtec for over a year everyday  and If I try to stop I"ll get the same symptome you described . the itching is unbearable! and Ive never itched before, nor do i have dry skin or any of the symptoms described by the previous post. my friend ask her doctor about tmy problem and he said my body has become dependant on the Zyrtec   and the bad part is they dont help that much for the watery eyes or seasonal allergies anymore did anyone find a solution to the problem
Avatar universal
I have the same trouble with getting off the Zyrtec. The itching is worse at night. I take Benadryl and it seems to help. What a nasty drug, Zyrtec is.
Avatar universal
I am going on 3 years.  My advice is to call McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and bother them until they report this to the FDA ( who probably wont do anything about it anyway). They will initially tell you they have never heard of this occuring, but that is a lie their lawyers came up with. If they dont admit to it they dont have to report it or list it as a potential side effect. I have reported it and know of a couple of others. My initial calls were dealt with by people who committed to nothing and wouldnt give me their names. Eventually I looked up the President, General Council, Senior Martketing guy for Zyrtec, and their FDA liazon, only then did i get a call back.  Also, every Doctor / Nurse i have ever told about this addiction doesnt really believe me and seems unconcerned (???). Good luck
Avatar universal
I have the same problem!  I forget to take zyrtec one day and I'm itching all over! It's like a freakin withdraw! How do I stop taking this medicine?  Dr's are stupid if they say zyrtec isn't habit forming!
Avatar universal
I have been on Zyrtec for at least 5 years.  I too felt like I had an addiction.  The day I stopped taking it I had itching all over and I was told it was a reaction because my body was used to the medication.  I took one benedryl each day for about 5 days and the itching is gone and no more Zyrtec.  However, the problem is runny nose and other allergies symptoms.  Not sure what to do?  I am definitely a nicer person when I take Zyrtec.
Avatar universal
Dear friends,

I am living in chennai,its a one of the biggest city in india.

I have itching problem for every 2 days.So i am always taking citrizine tablet whenever itching occurs.

who are all affected this itching problems.pls dont take citrizine medicine always.

Please take the following HOMEOPATHY medicine

Step 1: Take Nux Vomica - 200 - 5ml (liquid).Add one drop in water take 4 times per days.(Morning,afternoon,evening,night).You should take for 2 days.It will clear previous medicine chemicals in your body.

Step 2:Take Apis Mellifica - 30 - 5ml (liquid) .Add one drop in water take 4 times per days.(Morning,afternoon,evening,night).You should take for 2 days.It will helps to prevent itching & swelling in your body.
Step 3: Bio Combination Salts -No. 20 - 100 grams
For Adults : 4 tablets every three hours or four times a day.

Children : Half of the adult's dose.
It cures:

Acne, chaps and cracks, whitlow, eczema, eruptions on the scalp, seborrhoea, psoriasis, herpes, and similar eruptive diseases. It is also indicated in post-operative adhesion and sycotic excrescences.
After taking the above medicines.
Finally you will be cured permanently without taking citrizine.

Homeopathy is the slowly curing medicine.But its give permanent solution.
Dear friends

Pls pass this information , who are all affected by itching, swelling & Citrizine users.
Abdul kadhar.
Country : INDIA

Current city : Chennai
Avatar universal
Thank you for your post! I have been taking Zyrtec for one year. I stopped taking it this past Sunday (5 days ago). I have itching so bad I can't sleep. I wanted a more natural remedy for my allergies, so I switched to Triease gel tabs from Doterra (www.doterra.com). I have to take 2 every 4-6 hours to keep the itching at bay, but I have no other allergy symptoms so I know the itching comes from the Zyrtec withdrawal. I will try taking the Benedryl for a few days when I go to bed to see if I can actually sleep longer than 4 hours at a time. Yes! Night time is far worse in the itching category. During the day I can take 1 Triease gel tab every 4-6 hours and subside the itch just enough (although the itch never completely goes away). I am hoping once the Zyrtec gets the HELL out of my body, I will only have to take 1 Triease per day. I am also going to do an allergy bomb with Essential Oils I ordered from Doterra. I'm hoping someone will read this and understand how amazing Doterra has been for my life. They are on the expensive side, but last a long time and have saved my life!
Avatar universal
I can't believe there's so many other fellow itchy people out there! I've been taking Zyrtec for about 6 years. I started because I had hay fever type symptoms and would sneeze a lot and would always be congested. The Zyrtec helped stop the sneezing but not so much the congestion. Somewhere along the line, a doctor put my on Avamys nasal spray (prescribed) and said this would prevent me from being so sensitive, rather than dealing with the symptoms. Sounded good to me! It seemed to work, so I tried to stop Zyrtec. Couldn't!! Seemed my allergies were solved but suddenly I was ITCHY EVERYWHERE! I've never been itchy before, and was allergy tested and was negative to everything (despite the hay fever symptoms.) So I kept taking it. I can usually go 48 hours without it. I've tried several times to stop taking it and it drives me crazy with the itching so I give in. 10 days ago, I decided enough was enough. I stopped!!!! I thought I was actually going insane on about day 4, I itched to the high heavens, to the point where I was actually in pain from itchiness if I didn't scratch. Anyway, I'm definitely through the worst of it! I'm still a bit itchy but I've learnt not to scratch, and I'm toughing it out. I feel like I should be also doing a juice cleanse or something similar to detox my body of this awful drug. I also have felt like a crazed junkie. I'm going to look into contacting the drug company because this is obviously a problem to many people. Keep going people!!!! Let's get off this thing
YES! Please tell me you are off still!!! I have taken it for more than ten years. My symptoms are also horrible bouts of sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. I NEVER had itchy watery eyes with allergens, or runny nose for that matter. It was all sinus stuffiness.
Avatar universal
Zyrtec withdrawal is the REAL deal.  Stick it out!  There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Here is my experience:
Avatar universal
I have found two things that help me get past the terrible itching in hands and feet.

1. hydrocortisone (topical) – I was so desperate I stole some of my cat’s “hot spot” spray. It worked.

2. hand-held vibrating massager – numbs the nervous system.

Hope this helps someone. The itch is TERRIBLE.
Avatar universal
Hello all,
So sorry to hear so many people are experiencing what I have been experiencing. I was forced to stop taking zyrtec (after a year of taking 1/3rd of a pill trying to wean myself off) and it is awful. Icing the itchy spots has gotten me through the worst of it. One week later I am still itching but it is slowly getting less severe. Good luck to everyone trying to cut this awful drug.
Avatar universal
Try alternative medicine NAET and/or BRT. Body restoration technique with a chiropractor that does applied kenisology,  AK technique.  

Both NAET and BRT are NON invasive and a higher level of accupunture without NEEDLES.  

There is another method that might be harder to find. BAX 3000 and BAX AURA.  This is also NON INVASIVE and a higher level of accupunture.  Also done with a chiropractor.

Any of these methods will help you with specific issues and improve your quality of life.  

Good luck
Avatar universal

This has been reported in the journal Drug Safety - Case Reports December 2016. In  the  period  from  October  1989  to  June  2016,  the Netherlands  Pharmacovigilance  Centre  Lareb  received  12 reports of unbearable pruritus after withdrawal of cetirizine or levocetirizine, similar to what some have posted. This thread was used as a reference as well.
Avatar universal
I began taking Zyrtec in August of 2008 for itching of all things. I went to my APRN for itching  related to having had surgery that went a tad worse than we suspected with antibiotics, morhpine and finally healing. The itching was awful! She wanted me to take Zyrtec, an allergy med and so I began taking it. Sure enough, it got rid of the itching but I found out later on that when I attempted to quit it, the itching would come back much worse. I thought I was still having the original problem but here it was years later. In 2017 I did some searching online related to the multiple attempts I had taken to get off of Zyrtec and I was having some issues with itching more intense than usual. By now I was only using a half tab and had been for several years, trying to wean myself from it. My body had adapted to the drug and it was not doing it's job any more. Ugh! I had to find something else to take. I found Xyzal but after reading on it I found that it was addictive as the Zyrtec and was basically in the same class of drugs, literally. I cut the Xyzal in half and take it each night. It has worked and I am still searching for methods of getting off of this drug! I work night shift and I stay away from home for two days when I do so since it is closer to stay at my mother's house than to drive home. I forgot my med! Friday night was the last night I took it and I left for work Saturday afternoon! It is now 0300 AM Monday morning and I am itching, itching, itching! I am a nurse and when I read what doctors say about Zyrtec not being addictive...they only wish. Yes, I firmly believe that people are getting addicted to the meds they are prescribed and this one is not a nice drug to be taking. I am going to begin weaning myself down even further than I have and get this thing out of my body. I commend all of you for your stories and the anguish you all have had associated with taking this drug. May we all be free of it, sooner rather than later. If any of you have results, by all means share them! It will help others out there hopefully.
Hello and welcome to Medhelp's forums.  We are glad you have joined the site and look forward to your future posts.  Thank you for sharing your experience with this medication.  There is evidence to support your experience and that you are not alone.  This article, for example.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5124431/.

Have you ever been able to be drug free for a period of days to see if the withdrawal and itching goes away at that point?
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