Why is this medication prescribed?
Levocetirizine is used to relieve runny nose; sneezing; and redness, itching, and tearing of the eyes caused by hay fever, seasonal allergies, and allergies to other substances such as dust mites, animal dander, and mold. It is also used to treat symptoms of hives, including itching and rash. Levocetirizine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.
How should this medicine be used?
Levocetirizine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day in the evening with or without food. Take levocetirizine at the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take levocetirizine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking levocetirizine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to levocetirizine, cetirizine (Zyrtec), or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antidepressants; medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures; ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra); sedatives; sleeping pills; theophylline (Theochron, Theolair); and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or ever have had kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking levocetirizine, call your doctor. Do not breast-feed while you are taking levocetirizine.
- you should know that levocetirizine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking levocetirizine. Alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Levocetirizine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- sore throat
- dry mouth
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Levocetirizine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.