Levocetirizine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

levocetirizine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Xyzal
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Highlights for levocetirizine

Oral tablet
1

Levocetirizine is used to treat the symptoms of seasonal and year-round allergies. It’s also used to relieve itching caused by hives.

2

Levocetirizine comes in the form of a tablet and a solution. Both forms are taken by mouth.

3

Levocetirizine is available as the brand-name drug Xyzal. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include tiredness, dry mouth, and sore throat.

5

Don’t drink alcohol or take other medications that may cause you to feel tired while using levocetirizine. It could make your tiredness worse.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Increased tiredness

This drug can cause tiredness. Don’t drive, use machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you. Also, don’t drink alcohol or take other medications that may cause you to feel tired. It could make your tiredness worse.

Drug features

Levocetirizine is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a tablet and a solution. Both forms are taken by mouth.

Levocetirizine is available as the brand-name drug Xyzal. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Levocetirizine is used to treat the symptoms of seasonal and year-round allergies. It’s also used to relieve itching caused by hives (patches of red, swollen, itchy skin).

How it works

Levocetirizine belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

More Details

How it works

Levocetirizine belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. 

Levocetirizine works by blocking the release of a chemical called histamine from the cells in your body. This helps relieve symptoms of allergies, such as sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, itchy eyes. This drug also helps relieve itching caused by hives.

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levocetirizine Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

Side effects of levocetirizine can vary according to age.

  • In adults and children ages 12 and older, the more common side effects that can occur include:

    • tiredness
    • dry mouth
    • sore throat
    • nasopharyngitis (redness and inflammation in the nose and throat)
  • In children ages 6–11 years, the more common side effects that can occur include:

    • fever
    • cough
    • sleepiness
    • nose bleeds
  • In children ages 1–5 years, the more common side effects that can occur include:

    • fever
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • ear infections
  • In children ages 6–12 months, the more common side effects that can occur include:

    • diarrhea
    • constipation

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • swelling of your lips, tongue, face, or throat
  • Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble urinating
    • changes in the amount you urinate
    • blood in your urine
  • Blurry vision

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug may cause drowsiness. This occurs more often during the first few hours after you take the drug.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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levocetirizine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Levocetirizine can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. 

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

Levocetirizine can cause drowsiness. The use of drinks that contain alcohol raises your risk of drowsiness. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. 

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antibiotics

Taking certain drugs used to treat bacterial infections with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • azithromycin
  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin

Antifungal drugs

Taking certain drugs used to treat fungal infections with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • ketoconazole
  • voriconazole
  • itraconazole

Asthma or COPD drugs

Theophylline is used to treat symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Using this drug with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects.

Decongestant drugs

Pseudoephedrine is used to treat nasal congestion. Using this drug with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects.

HIV drugs

Ritonavir is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Using this drug with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects.

Pain drugs

Antipyrine is used to treat pain. Using this drug with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects.

Stomach acid drugs

Cimetidine is used to treat problems with increased stomach acid. Using this drug with levocetirizine can cause increased amounts of levocetirizine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with kidney disease

More of this drug may stay in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Don’t use this drug if you have severe kidney problems or are on hemodialysis.

Pregnant women

This drug is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things: 

  1. Research in animals has not shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

For children

It isn’t known if this drug is safe or effective for children younger than 6 months of age.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: 

  • rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • swelling of your lips, tongue, face, or throat 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or cetirizine before. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take levocetirizine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Seasonal and year-round allergies

Generic: levocetirizine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 2.5 mg/5 mL

Brand: Xyzal

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 2.5 mg/5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one 5-mg tablet once per day in the evening.
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 2 teaspoons (10 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one 5-mg tablet once per day in the evening.
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 2 teaspoons (10 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one half-tablet (2.5 mg) once per day in the evening. 
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 6 months–5 years)

Oral solution: The typical dosage is one half-teaspoon (2.5 mL) once per day in the evening.

Child dosage (ages 5 months and younger)

It hasn’t been confirmed that Xyzal is safe and effective for use in children younger than 6 months of age.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: The typical dosages for people with kidney problems include:

  • Mild kidney disease: 2.5 mg once per day.
  • Moderate kidney disease: 2.5 mg once every other day.
  • Severe kidney disease: 2.5 mg twice per week (taken once every 3–4 days).
  • End-stage kidney disease and on hemodialysis: Do not take Xyzal.

Warnings

Don’t take more than the recommended dose of Xyzal. There is an increased risk of sleepiness at higher doses.

Chronic itching

Generic: levocetirizine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 2.5 mg/5 mL

Brand: Xyzal

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 2.5 mg/5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one 5-mg tablet once per day in the evening.
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 2 teaspoons (10 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one 5-mg tablet once per day in the evening.
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 2 teaspoons (10 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)
  • Oral tablet: The typical dosage is one half-tablet (2.5 mg) once per day in the evening. 
  • Oral solution: The typical dosage is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) once per day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 6 months–5 years)

Oral solution: The typical dosage is one half-teaspoon (2.5 mL) once per day in the evening.

Child dosage (ages 5 months and younger)

It hasn’t been confirmed that Xyzal is safe and effective for use in children younger than 6 months of age.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: The typical dosages for people with kidney problems include:

  • Mild kidney disease: 2.5 mg once per day.
  • Moderate kidney disease: 2.5 mg once every other day.
  • Severe kidney disease: 2.5 mg twice per week (taken once every 3–4 days).
  • End-stage kidney disease and on hemodialysis: Do not take Xyzal.

Warnings

Don’t take more than the recommended dose of Xyzal. There is an increased risk of sleepiness at higher doses.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you’re taking this drug to treat allergy symptoms, these symptoms may not be controlled or may get worse. These symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, itchy eyes.

If you’re taking this drug to treat itching caused by hives, this itching may not be controlled or may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • increased drowsiness (adults)
  • agitation and restlessness, followed by drowsiness (children)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

If you’re taking this drug to treat allergy symptoms, these symptoms should improve. These can include sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, itchy eyes.

If you’re taking this drug to treat itching caused by hives, this itching should improve.

This drug is used for short-term treatment of seasonal allergies and long-term treatment of chronic itching.

Important considerations for taking this drug
take this drug with or without food You can take this drug with or without food
timing You should take this drug in the evening. This can help prevent daytime drowsiness
cut or crush the tablet You can cut or crush the tablet
storage Store this drug carefully See Details
medication is refillable A prescription for this medication is refillable See Details
Travel Travel See Details
Clinical monitoring Clinical monitoring See Details
not usually stocked Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
prior authorization Insurance See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store this drug at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may monitor your kidney function to make sure it’s safe for you to take this drug. If your kidney function gets worse, your doctor may have you stop taking this drug. They may switch you to a different medication.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does levocetirizine Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for levocetirizine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 2, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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