Zyrtec is an antihistamine drug with fewer sedative effects compared to other drugs of the same class. It works against allergy reactions whether environmentally caused or triggered by substances such as pollens, animal hair, dust, food among many others. Physically irritating symptoms caused by these allergens are easily cured by Zyrtec.
With your physicianís recommendation, the drug is safe for use for children as young as six years old and even adults. It comes in 10 mg and 5 mg tablets. The drug is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or lactating moms. The dosage of each person could vary depending on gender and weight that is why it is a must that you must with a physician before using. When taking in Zyrtec be aware of possible side effects such as drowsiness, headache and dry mouth. As with all other drugs, you are strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol whilst under Zyrtec medication.
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Zyrtec is fourth one of drugs belonging to the new generation of drugs known as non-sedation antihistamines. These new forms of antihistamines have less of a sedating effect that the preceding forms. Continue reading...
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Drug of the third generation, does it exist?
In the recent years, there was an increase in the frequency and severity of allergic diseases and allergic reactions. This was caused by environmental pollution, increasing concentrations of ozone in the atmosphere, and lifestyle changes.
Mediators with various chemical structures, existing in the air, play a significant role in the development of allergies. However, in the recent years scientists managed to synthesize and test new drugs with anti-mediator effects. The most widely used in clinical practice are drugs with antihistamine action.
The efficiency in fighting various allergic diseases is based upon the efficiency of counter-acting a wide range of histamine effects. Histamine can affect respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and smooth muscles.
The first drugs that could block histamine receptors were introduced in clinical practice in 1947. They were classified as H1-blockers, blockers of H1 receptors, or antihistamines. In the recent decades, new drugs that could not only block H1 receptors, but also cure allergies, have been synthesized. According to the results that they provide, they are divided into three generations.
Third generation antihistamines have significant selectivity and affect only peripheral H1-receptors. These drugs do not pass the blood-brain barrier and therefore have no side effects on the CNS. In addition, modern antihistamines have some significant anti-allergic effects (Canonica W., 1994).
Third generation antihistamines are especially effective in the treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, chronic urticaria, atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and atopic syndrome in early children.
Pharmacokinetic properties of antihistamines are very different from one generation to another. Most drugs of the 1st generation have short duration of action (4-12 hours) and require multiple dosing. Modern antihistamines have long duration of action (12-48 hours) that allows you to administer them 1-2 times a day (Ament P., Paterson A., 1997).
Zyrtec (cetirizine) is considered to be the most promising oral antihistamine. Zyrtec (cetirizine) is the drug that has proven effective in treating mild asthma, particularly in young children. Long-term administration of cetirizine in children with early atopic syndrome can reduce the risk of progression of the atopic state in the future.
There were many clinical trials that proved the effectiveness of this 3rd generation drug. In 2010 there was an open clinical study on Zytec conducted by Chinese scientists. Patients aged 12 and older with perennial allergic rhinitis were divided into 2 groups. One of these groups took Zyrtec 5 to 20 mg and the other one took placebo. The group that underwent Zyrtec treatment showed significant reductions in symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis for up to 8 weeks in duration (Fang S.Y., Perng D.W., Lee J.Y., Lin D.Y., Huangs C.Y.,2010).
Another 4-week clinical trial was conducted on patients aged 12 to 16 years with chronic idiopathic urticaria. They were also divided in two groups, one of which underwent Zyrtec treatment and the other one took placebo. The first group showed significant improvement of symptoms of chronic idiopathic urticaria in most patients, while the second one showed no changes.
One more open study was conducted on 333 patients with allergic rhinitis (AR) and urticaria (236 and 97 respectively). They underwent Zyrtec treatment (AR patients for 2-4 weeks and urticaria patients for 2-6 weeks). At the end of the trial the results were evaluated:
-70-75% of AR patients and 60-80% of urticaria patients showed improvement of individual symptoms;
-44% of patients with AR and concomitant asthma showed significant improvement of the asthma symptoms;
-50-70% of patients preferred 3rd generation drug to previous therapy;
-quality of sleep and daily activities improved in 50%-74% of the cases;
-50-65% of the patients stated that the results were very rapid.
The results of this study indicated that 3rd generation drugs are effective in the management of allergic respiratory and skin diseases and have no or very few side effects.
Here is another example of clinical trial conducted by Marcucci F., Sensi L.G., Abate P., Allocca G., Ugolini E., Di Cara G. and Incorvaia C. in 2011. 40 children allergic to house dust mites with persistent rhinitis were separated in two groups. One of these groups took the non-sedating third generation antihistamine and the other one took placebo. After one month of treatment, the results were evaluated. Patients that underwent treatment had a significant improvement in nasal symptoms. Placebo treated patients reported no changes in their condition. The results show that nasal symptoms improve due to the antihistamine action of this drug. After 3 months of treatment, there was a significant effect on eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) in nasal mucosa and on nasal eNO in patients who underwent treatment with the 3rd generation drug. Therefore, 3rd generation drugs also have effects on allergic inflammation. However, it takes more time to achieve the results (F., Sensi L.G., Abate P., Allocca G., Ugolini E., Di Cara G. and Incorvaia C., 2011).
Despite the fact that antihistamines can cause such side effects as dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, nausea, nervousness, sore throat, trouble sleeping, the side effects of Zyrtec are a lot less powerful. Thatís why it is prescribed for children, as it is considered to be rather safe. Not long ago it was sold only in the USA and Canada but now it can be found all over the world. In 2008 it recorded the highest sales of the non food products ($315.9 million).
Known by the brand name Zyrtec and having the generic name Cetrizine hydrochrolide (HCl), Zyrtec is a drug of the 3rd generation of non-sedation antihistamines. The fact that it is one of the most effective drugs in the management of perennial allergic rhinitis, chronic urticaria, and mild asthma was proved by many clinical trials. Very few side effects make it safe even for children and given that it is taken properly. And it can help rather rapidly.
Ament P. and Paterson A. (1997), Drug Interactions with the Nonsedating Antihistamines, American Family Physician. - v.56. - N1.- p.223-228.
Berman S. (1991) Pediatric Decision Making. Second Edition. Philadelphia.
Canonica W. (1994), Mechanisms of Anti-allergic Treatment, ACI News, US, pp.11-13.
Davies R. (1989), Rhinitis: Mechanisms and Management, Royal Society of Medicine, London. Peggs J., Shimp L. and Opdycke R., (1995), Antihistamines: The Old and The New, American Family Physician. USA, pp.593-600.
Fang SY, Perng DW, Lee JY, Lin DY and Huangs CY., (2010), An open-label, multicentre study of levocetirizine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and urticaria in Taiwanese patients., The chineese journal of physiology, Taiwan, Republic of China, pp. 199-207.
Marcucci F, Sensi LG, Abate P, Allocca G, Ugolini E, Di Cara G and Incorvaia C.(2011), Anti-inflammatory activity and clinical efficacy of a 3-month levocetirizine therapy in mite-allergic children, Inflammation Allergy Drug Targets, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialty and Public Health, Institute of Pediatrics, Perugia, Italy.