What To Buy? Zyrtec R, Zyrtec D & Zyrtec.

Zyrtec®, Zyrtec D®, and Zyrtec R® are all brand names for the medication cetirizine dihydrochloride, but they may be formulated differently depending on where you live. We clear up the confusion behind the different types of Zyrtec®, their different names, and what should be used when.

Zyrtec® R

 Zyrtec® R contains a single active ingredient:

  • Cetirizine dihydrochloride 10mg 

Zyrtec-RCetirizine belongs to a group of medications frequently prescribed for allergy, called antihistamines.

 

Antihistamines are medicines that act by blocking the body’s response to histamine in different parts of the body. This reduces the severity of the reaction and eases the symptoms of allergy.

 

Zyrtec® R is used to treat symptoms associated with allergic conditions and hypersensitivity, such as:

  • Nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis / hay fever)

  • Hives (urticaria)

  • Red, itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)

  • Eczema (dermatitis)

  • Asthma

  • Generalized and skin reactions to bites and stings

Zyrtec® R is the replacement / new version of original Zyrtec®, which is no longer available in Singapore under that brand name.

Zyrtec® D

Zyrtec®-D contains two active ingredients, namely:

  • Cetirizine dihydrochloride 5mg (immediate release form)
  • 120 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (prolonged-release form)

Zyrtec_DCetirizine belongs to a group of medications frequently prescribed for allergy, called antihistamines.

 

Antihistamines are medicines that act by blocking the body’s response to histamine in different parts of the body. This reduces the severity of the reaction and eases the symptoms of allergy.

 

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant, that shrinks blood vessels. Decongestant drugs cause the mucous membranes in nasal passages to contract, which decreases swelling and secretion of mucus. 

 

Zyrtec® D is used to treat symptoms associated with allergic conditions and hypersensitivity, such as:

  • Blocked nose / nasal obstruction

  • Nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis / hay fever)

  • Hives (urticaria)

  • Red, itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)

  • Eczema (dermatitis)

  • Asthma

  • Generalized and skin reactions to bites and stings

Zyrtec®

Zyrtec®, in its original form is no longer available in Singapore, and has been replaced by Zyrtec® R.

 

Zyrtec® contained a single active ingredient:

  • Cetirizine dihydrochloride 10mg 

Frequently Asked Questions

Studies in adults show that about 14% of patients experienced drowsiness or somnolence whilst on Zyrtec®.

 

Studies in children show that about 4% of patients experienced drowsiness or somnolence while on Zyrtec®. 

 

While everyone reacts differently to medication, drowsiness may occur with Zyrtec® and may lessen over time.

Zyrtec-D contains a decongestant, pseudoephedrine, which may make it MORE EFFECTIVE in patients who have predominant symptoms of a BLOCKED NOSE

 

Zyrtec-R will likely be MORE EFFECTIVE than Zyrtec-D for the FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: 

  • Nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis / hay fever)

  • Hives (urticaria)

  • Red, itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)

  • Eczema (dermatitis)

  • Asthma

  • Generalized and skin reactions to bites and stings

If Zyrtec is available, it can be taken in place of Zyrtec-R.
 

Pseudoephedrine (in Zyrtec-D) needs to be used with caution, especially in older patients. Some side effects of pseudoephedrine include:

 

Common Side Effects

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Palpitations (feeling like your heart is racing or pounding)
  • Fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Tremor (involuntary shaking)
  • Urinary retention (having trouble urinating or emptying the bladder completely)

This list of side effects is not exhaustive. If in doubt, please contact your doctor.

Zyrtec®-R Film-Coated Tablet 10 mg

  • Children aged from 6 to 12 years: Half of the tablet twice daily.
  • Adolescents  12 years and above / Adults:  1 tablet once daily. Half of the tablet starting dose may be  used if this leads to satisfactory control of the symptoms. Do not take more than one 10 mg tablet in 24 hours.

Swallow the tablet whole, with a glass of water. The tablet can be divided into 2 equal doses. Zyrtec®-R film-coated tablets are not recommended for children under 6 years, as the formulation does not allow for appropriate dosage adjustment.

 

Zyrtec®-R Oral Solution 1 mg/mL

  • Children aged from 2 to 6 years: 2.5 mL of oral solution (half of a spoon) twice daily.
  • Children aged from 6 years to 12 years: 5 mL oral solution (1 full spoon) twice daily.
  • Adolescents 12 years and above, and adults: 10 mL of oral solution (2 full spoons) once daily. 5 mL oral solution (1 full spoon) starting dose may be used if this leads to satisfactory control of the symptoms. Do not take more than the recommended dose.

Please check with your doctor regarding side effects and drug interactions before starting the medication.

Zyrtec®-D Tablet

Adults and Children aged 12 years and older: 

One tablet twice daily (morning and evening)

 

Children under 12 years of age: 

Zyrtec-D is NOT TO BE ADMINISTERED in children under 12 years of age

 

The tablet should be swallowed whole with some liquid, and must not be broken, chewed or crushed. It may be taken with or without food. After consultation with the doctor, duration of treatment should not exceed the period of acute symptoms, and should not exceed 2 to 3 weeks. After improvement of nasal symptoms, treatment should be continued only with cetirizine, where appropriate.

Zyrtec® Tablet 10 mg

  • Children aged from 6 to 12 years: Half of the tablet twice daily.
  • Adolescents  12 years and above / Adults:  1 tablet once daily. Half of the tablet starting dose may be  used if this leads to satisfactory control of the symptoms. Do not take more than one 10 mg tablet in 24 hours.

Swallow the tablet whole, with a glass of water. The tablet can be divided into 2 equal doses. Zyrtec® tablets are not recommended for children under 6 years, as the formulation does not allow for appropriate dose adaptation.

References:

Zyrtec®-R Patient Information Leaflet

Zyrtec®-D Patient Information Leaflet

 

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