The Uses of Cetirizine Hydrochloride

Cetirizine hydrochloride is also called cetirizine HCL, or simply cetirizine. It is a water soluble, white, crystalline chemical compound that is the active ingredient in many manufactured antihistamines, including Zyrtec and Reactine. It is primarily used to relieve the symptoms of a range of outdoor and indoor allergies. Cetirizine hydrochloride is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter medicine; therefore, purchasing products containing cetirizine does not require a prescription.

Allergic Asthma

According to a report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine titled "Cetirizine: A Review of its Use in Allergic Disorders," cetirizine hydrochloride effectively reduces symptoms of allergic asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma, affecting more than 50 per cent of all asthma sufferers. Its symptoms include chest tightness, rapid breathing or shortness of breath and wheezing. Allergic asthma is caused when the immune system overreacts to triggers, including certain foods, animal hair/fur, environmental allergens and pollen.


Cetirizine hydrochloride provides relief against urticaria, commonly known as hives. Hives are red, itchy raised spots on the skin that vary in sizes and shapes. They can occur virtually anywhere on the body, and are less common in men than they are in women. Hives forms due to the release of certain chemical compounds, including histamine, from skin cells. Most hives have no specific cause, while others are caused by allergic reactions to insect stings, medications and certain foods. Hives are medically harmless and tend to disappear with time. Cetirizine HCL provides effective relief against prolonged outbreaks of hives.


Rhinitis is the medical term for runny or stuffy nose caused by bacterial, viral or allergic irritants. There are many types of rhinitis, including infectious, non-allergic, allergic, atrophic, medicamentosa, polypous, hypertrophic and sicca rhinitis.

Infectious rhinitis is caused by bacterial or viral infections. An example of an infectious rhinitis is the common cold. Non-allergic rhinitis is caused due triggers such as temperature changes, dust, smoke and fumes. Allergic rhinitis is caused by dust or pollen. Atrophic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucuous membranes, resulting in redness and sneezing. Medicamentosa rhinitis is nasal congestion due to a prolonged use of decongestants. Polypous rhinitis is due to the presence of polyps, a type of abnormal tissue growth, in the mucous membrane. Hypertrophic rhinitis is a chronic type of rhinitis that thickens the lining of the mucous membrane. Sicca rhinitis is chronic rhinitis that dries the mucous membrane. Cetirizine hydrochloride manages the symptoms of these types of rhinitis and brings about relief.

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About the Author

Natasha Gilani has been a writer since 2004, with work appearing in various online publications. She is also a member of the Canadian Writers Association. Gilani holds a Master of Business Administration in finance and an honors Bachelor of Science in information technology from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan.