Did You Know That Allergy Meds Can Be Addictive, and Have Severe Withdrawal Symptoms?

Did You Know That Allergy Meds Can Be Addictive, and Have Severe Withdrawal Symptoms?

WARNING: Zyrtec is the brand name for Cetirizine, which is included in many allergy medications.

Do you find yourself getting itchy or, worse, developing hives after skipping your over the counter allergy pill? It might NOT be your original allergies after all!

A friend of ours is going through “antihistamine withdrawal.” I am sharing this with you today because it’s something I never knew existed but it can be extremely dangerous.

I, myself, started taking allergy pills for the first time about a month ago (not every day) because the sniffing and coughing from heavy pollen was driving me nuts. Kleenex is very much appreciating my business right now.

Our friend has been taking allergy pills for over a year. She started because she thought she’d developed an allergy to her dogs. So, she’d start to itch, and take an allergy pill. Her dermatologist back then actually told her she could take four each day instead of the recommended dose of one per day!

She was only taking one pill every other day, thank goodness. However, what she thought was an allergy to dog dander started to come back on a regular schedule. Every 48 hours or so, she’d start itching again. So, she’d take another pill. She kept thinking it was the dogs. She also gained weight over the past year, and didn’t understand why since she had not changed her eating patterns or activity level. Turns out weight gain is a potential side effect as well.

Last week, she found out she was pregnant and, out of an abundance of caution, stopped taking the allergy pills altogether. She preferred mild itching from the dogs to the potential for harm to her baby. After she missed that first 48-hours-later dose, she developed hives all over her body, and started itching so badly that she was crying in the shower, and clawing her skin. She thought she was going crazy. Her husband convinced her to take an allergy pill. Then, he started Googling it. This is what he found

The unbearable pain of Zyrtec withdrawals: Allergy sufferers left miserable and maddeningly itchy when they try to quit the drug

Unbearable itch after stopping antihistamine

Can you go through Zyrtec withdrawal?

Notice there are NO mentions of withdrawal problems on THIS PAGE.

FDA acknowledges Zyrtec withdrawal itch

Pruritus after discontinuation of cetirizine

Quitting Zyrtec Is ‘Total Hell’

“The study and subsequent local response led to a label change for the drug in the country. But no such warnings exist for Zyrtec sold over the counter in the United States.”

Isn’t that horrific? They have to put that on the labels overseas but not in the U.S.? Had our friend known what would happen when she stopped taking the meds, she’d have never started taking them in the first place!!

She visited an allergist this week. He was so unhelpful that she wondered if he’s making money putting people on those meds. He denied there was any withdrawal issues associated with the medication, and, get this, he told her to start taking a pill every day even though he knows she’s pregnant. She asked him about the holistic remedies she’s read about to handle withdrawal (drinking ginger and echinacea tea, drinking lots of water, and taking 2000 mg/day of Vitamin C). He replied, “I don’t know anything about that.”

And people wonder why I don’t trust doctors anymore…

She called her Ob/Gyn from her car after the allergist appointment and that doctor told her to definitely NOT take Zyrtec while pregnant.

Why are more people not talking about this? Are they afraid to admit they are addicted to something, even just allergy pills? Very sad. And, shame on the makers of Zyrtec for not putting that warning on the bottle!!


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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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