medications, Allergies, pregnancy safety, antihistamine

Zyrtec is an antihistamine that helps prevent or reduce the histamine reaction that occurs in response to allergens. The drug has been on the market for more than 10 years, and there have been no reports of negative reactions in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Its generic name is cetirizine and it is in FDA Drug Category B.

Doctors typically suggest Zyrtec for patients with seasonal allergies, but Zyrtec can also be used as a complementary treatment for patients with food allergies and/or asthma. Zyrtec can be taken during pregnancy, but you should contact your doctor/midwife as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

Zyrtec should be taken at the same time each day, but if you miss a dose, take a pill as soon as possible. If you remember near the time when the next dose is scheduled, you can skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses of Zyrtec at the same time.

Keep in mind, Zyrtec can alter thinking and reaction time, so take extra caution when driving or performing duties that require alertness. Clinical studies report altered alertness in some, but not all patients taking Zyrtec. People respond differently to medication and it's important to know how your body reacts to Zyrtec before driving, operating machinery or performing duties that require attention to detail.

In addition, alcohol increases the effect of Zyrtec, so do not drink alcohol when taking this medication. Remember alcohol should not be consumed by pregnant women as it is linked to fetal alcohol syndrome.

Trying to Conceive
: Fertility testing on lab rats showed no effect on male or female fertility when taking Zyrtec.

Pregnancy: There are no reports of negative side effects, pregnancy complications or fetal complications in pregnant patients taking Zyrtec. If you find out you’re pregnant when taking Zyrtec, continue taking the medication as prescribed and let your doctor/midwife know that you are taking it, as well as all over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking. 

Safety During Breastfeeding: Zyrtec passes from mother to infant in breast milk, but there are no reports of negative side effects in breastfeeding infants. Clinical studies in lab rats revealed impaired fetal growth when mother rats took Zyrtec while breastfeeding, but the same effect has not been reported in the human population. However, if you are concerned about taking Zyrtec while breastfeeding, discuss with your doctor.

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Medications During Pregnancy