How Long After Taking Zyrtec Can I Drink Alcohol?

May 2, 2023

Antihistamines are a type of medicine used to treat symptoms of allergies, such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and hives. They work by blocking the action of a chemical called histamine that triggers these symptoms.

Certain medications can interact harmfully with alcohol. To find out which ones, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of allergy medications, especially Benadryl and Claritin. But some of the newer, second-generation antihistamines - such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and loratadine (Claritin) - have less drowsiness than Benadryl.

Zyrtec is a once-a-day tablet that relieves allergy symptoms for up to 24 hours. It's for adults and children aged 6 years or older.

The usual dosage for adults and children is one 10 mg tablet once a day. Older adults and adults with chronic illness may need a lower dose. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the right dosage for you.


Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, loratadine, cetirizine, and others) are popular over-the-counter medications used to treat seasonal and year-round allergies. They can also help ease itching and reduce inflammation.

Taking these drugs with alcohol can increase their side effects, including drowsiness and dizziness. It is usually best to avoid alcohol while you are taking Zyrtec and other allergy medications.

This is especially true if you are older, as it can affect your motor skills, judgment, and balance.

Another common side effect of Zyrtec is drowsiness, which can be serious if you are driving. If you experience this, it is best to stop drinking and rest until the drowsiness goes away.


Allergy medications, like Zyrtec, can cause a rare side effect called constipation. This occurs when a drug blocks certain neurotransmitters that help the body move bowels.

This can result in you having less than normal stools or even diarrhea. You can treat your symptoms by drinking clear liquids (water, broth, or sports drinks) and avoiding foods that make you sick, such as juice, soda, and alcohol.

The other drowsy side effect of antihistamines is dry mouth, which occurs when the mucous membranes of your mouth become more drier. Drinking water and switching to an alcohol-free mouthwash can help reduce this symptom, says allergist Megan Boomershine.


Many people who take Zyrtec have a hard time passing stools (constipation). This is usually normal for occasional constipation, but it can be chronic (lasting more than 3 weeks).

Your doctor may order tests to find out what’s causing your constipation. These include lab tests and physical exams to look at the way your intestines work.

You can treat mild to moderate constipation with self-care methods, such as drinking more water and eating more fiber. If those don’t help, your doctor might recommend laxatives. These are available over the counter, or with a prescription. These medications come in various types and strengths, so talk with your provider about which one is right for you.

Severe allergic reaction

Zyrtec (cetirizine hydrochloride) and Claritin (loratadine hydrochloride) are both antihistamines that reduce the body's response to minor allergies. They are effective and safe for most people with mild allergies.

They work by blocking histamine, which is the chemical in your body that causes sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

These antihistamines work best when you have a reaction to a small amount of a common allergen, like pollen or dust mites. If you have a severe allergy that causes hives or other symptoms, call 911 and seek emergency medical care immediately.

If you experience a severe allergic reaction while taking Zyrtec, call your doctor right away and stop using the medicine. Your doctor may prescribe epinephrine to treat the reaction.


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