VOL: 101, ISSUE: 19, PAGE NO: 55
Generic and proprietary names
- Blocks histamine binding, preventing allergy symptoms.
- Functional: antihistamines (second generation, peripherally selective).
- Chemical: Piperazine H1 histamine antagonist.
- Symptom relief from nasal allergies such as hay fever.
- Symptom relief from insect bites and skin rashes.
- Not recommended for children under two years of age.
- Hepatic disease.
- Renal impairment.
- The incidence of sedation and antimuscarinic side-effects is low, especially compared with older, sedating antihistamines, because cetirizine only penetrates the blood-brain barrier to a slight extent.
- Children and older people may be more sensitive to side-effects.
- Dry mouth.
- Psychomotor impairment.
- Blurred vision.
- Sore throat.
- Gastrointestinal disturbances.
- Extrapyramidal effects.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Antimuscarinic and sedative effects are increased with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants.
- Oral solution.
- Assess symptoms and record baseline before and during treatment.
- Assess respiratory status, such as wheeze or tightness of the chest.
- Cetirizine is good at reducing rhinorrhoea and sneezing, but less effective at reducing nasal congestion.
- Other products such as eyedrops and inhalers may be required to control severe hay fever.
- Evaluate therapeutic response.
- If allergy-testing is planned, medication should be stopped 48 hours before testing.
- Ensure patients are aware that this medication may make them drowsy. If affected they should not drive or operate machinery.
- Alcohol can increase any drowsiness.
- Patients who have missed a dose should take it as soon as they remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, patients should skip the missed dose. Double doses should not be taken.
- Health education advice should be given regarding limiting exposure to allergens.
Nurses should refer to manufacturer’s summary of product characteristics and to appropriate local guidelines