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How Does Cetirizine Treat Hives

The Causes of Hives

Hives, also known as urticaria, cause individuals to have a severe skin rash with a stinging or burning sensation. Most cases of urticaria are caused by an allergic reaction to poison ivy, foods or medications. Additional causes of hives include:

  • Long-Term Exercise
  • Chemicals in Water
  • Sunlight
  • Cold Temperatures
  • Parasitical Infection
  • Pressure on Skin

Patients can experience symptoms such as severe itching for several weeks that makes a normal lifestyle difficult. Fortunately, there is a medication that is helpful for treating hives. While avoiding the triggers that cause hives is important, medication such as Cetirizine can relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

Best Treatment for Hives

Histamine antagonists are commonly prescribed to treat hives by reducing or stopping the enzymes that lead to itchy skin inflammation. Cetirizine suppresses vasodilation and swelling by blocking histamine from binding to receptors on mast cells, endothelium and nerves. Many antihistamines have serious side effects such as causing drowsiness or dry mouth. However, Cetirizine has fewer reports of these side effects, leading to its availability in over-the-counter medications. The reason for fewer incidences of side effects is that Cetirizine only slightly crosses the blood-brain barrier, leading to many patients not experiencing drowsiness.

Who Should Avoid Using Cetirizine?

Cetirizine is available in different formats, including syrup, capsules or chewable tablets. Because this medication offers long-lasting relief from the discomfort of hives, many patients only require one dose in a 24 hour time period. Classed as a histamine-1 receptor antagonist this medication is sold under several brand-names as either an over-the-counter or prescription treatment for hives. Individuals with health conditions such as coronary artery disease, severe high blood pressure or narrow-angle glaucoma should not use medications that contain Cetirizine states the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth University located in Hanover, N.H.

What are the Side Effects of Cetirizine?

Patients with the following conditions should consult with physicians before using Cetirizine for hives.

  • Enlarged prostate
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Difficulties with Urinating

Women who are breast-feeding should not use this medication because it is transmitted in breast milk. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness or tremors should consult their physician as soon as possible. Cetirizine can interact with other drugs such as diet pills, digoxin or blood pressure tablets, leading to dangerous side effects or reducing the effectiveness of the medication.

How Can Patients Prevent Recurrences?

Allergy specialists are often the medical professionals who treat individuals suffering from severe hives. Seeing a physician for hives can help individuals from having frequent outbreaks that disrupt their lives. An allergist can determine the cause of hives to assist individuals with avoiding triggers. Fast treatment with Cetirizine helps patients avoid feeling intense discomfort from itching with few side effects states John P. Overholt of the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center in Franklin, Tenn. who advises patients that additional doses are often required to control severe hives. He also states that continuing treatment with Cetirizine for two weeks after having hives can prevent a recurrence of the condition.

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.