Zyrtec for Babies and Toddlers


What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec is the brand name for a drug called Cetirizine. Cetirizine is an antihistamine drug and is a sedating antihistamine which means it can make children drowsy.

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Why is Cetirizine (Zyrtec) used in toddlers and infants?

Cetirizine (common brand name Zyrtec) is used as an anti-histamine, so is used mainly for:

  • urticaria (an allergic skin rash) often seen in atopic (allergic tendency) children - read more
  • allergic rhinitis (hayfever)

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What is the dosage of Zyrtec for babies and toddlers?

The dose of Cetirizine depends on age as below:

  • 6 - 12 months of age: 2.5 mg given once daily (maximum dose 5 mg daily)
  • 12 - 24 months of age: 2.5 given once or twice daily (maximum dose 5 mg daily)
  • 2 - 6 years of age: 2.5 - 5 mg given once daily (maximum dose 5 mg daily)
  • Over 6 years of age: 5 - 10 mg given once daily (maximum dose 10 mg daily)

Zyrtec comes in a 1mg/ml solution (so 2.5 mg = 2.5 ml). There is also a 10mg/ml oral drops preparation (so 5 mg is 1/2 ml).

Make sure you check the strength of the solution.

Caution should be used in children less than 2 years of age and Cetirizine should not be used in children less than 6 years who have liver or kidney problems. The dose should be reduced in children over 6 years of age who have liver or kidney problems.

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What are the side effects of Cetirizine (Zyrtec) in toddlers and infants?

The most common side effect of Cetirizine is sleepiness. Children can also cause a dry mouth, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and even abdominal pain.

Serious side effects such as hepatitis or bronchospasm (respiratory distress with wheeze) are rare.

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  • Epocrates. www.epocrates.com


To go to the top of the Zyrtec for babies and toddlers, click here

To go to the Urticaria page, click here

To go to the Medications page, click here

To go to the main Skin Rash page, click here

To return to the Home page, click here

Last reviewed 21 November 2007

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Dr Maud MD

Dr Maud MD (MBChB, FRACP, FRCPCH), a specialist pediatrician, provides health information and medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers. Read more about Dr Maud.

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