How Long After ZYRTEC Can I Drink Alcohol?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on October 26th, 2023

When you consume both Zyrtec (cetirizine) and alcohol, the interactions can produce enhanced side effects. The central nervous system gets doubly depressed when these are mixed. This can lead to amplified effects on cognition, and focus, and potentially lead to dangerous situations if operating machinery or driving. 

Both Zyrtec and alcohol strain the liver, and combining them can exacerbate this. Hence, if you’ve taken Zyrtec, it’s recommended to wait until the medication is completely out of your system, typically 2 to 3 days, before consuming alcohol.


What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec, known generically as cetirizine, is an antihistamine prescribed primarily for allergies. It combats symptoms like itching, sneezing, hives, and watery eyes. There’s a variant named “Zyrtec-D” which couples cetirizine with pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that alleviates sinus congestion. Though Zyrtec is generally safe when taken as recommended, overconsumption can lead to severe drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, excessive sweating, and other symptoms. 

For adults under 65 and children over six, the advised dosage is 10mg daily, and for younger kids, there’s a syrup form available.

Antihistamine side effects

Antihistamines, while invaluable for treating allergies, aren’t without side effects. Some common ones include sleepiness, reduced coordination, slower reaction times, blurred vision, dry mouth, and even nausea in some cases. These effects can vary in intensity based on individual reactions and dosages.

Are there any major dangers or adverse effects?

Antihistamines, on their own, are usually safe for most individuals. They’ve been available over the counter for years and are widely used. However, combining them with substances like alcohol can potentiate risks. For example, antihistamines can exacerbate conditions like glaucoma, COPD, and an enlarged prostate.

Antihistamine Action

The body releases histamine in response to perceived threats, leading to symptoms like sneezing, itching, and runny noses. Antihistamines block these effects, either preventing allergic reactions or reducing their severity.

Combining antihistamines with other medications

It’s paramount to consult a healthcare professional before mixing antihistamines with other drugs. Some interactions can lead to exacerbated side effects or reduced efficacy of either drug. 

This includes medications like antidepressants, stomach ailment treatments, and other over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Allergy Medicine?

While some believe it might be safer to combine alcohol with certain antihistamines like Claritin or Allegra, the best advice is always caution. Some antihistamines might not have their sedative effects intensified by alcohol, but it’s essential to know how your body reacts.

What Happens When You Combine Alcohol and Antihistamines?

Merging alcohol with antihistamines, especially sedative ones, can lead to heightened drowsiness. It’s crucial to read medication labels and understand potential interactions with food and drink.

What medication should never be combined with alcohol?

Certain drugs can lead to dangerous effects when combined with alcohol. This list includes certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, and others. Always consult with a healthcare provider when in doubt.

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol If You Have Allergies?

In some cases, alcohol can actually worsen allergy symptoms or reduce the threshold for an allergic reaction. It’s essential to know how your body reacts to both allergens and alcohol before deciding to consume both.


The intersection of Zyrtec and alcohol can lead to increased drowsiness and impaired judgment. It’s always advisable to err on the side of caution. If in doubt about any interactions or potential adverse effects of Zyrtec or any other medication, always consult with a healthcare professional. Remember, your health and safety should always come first.


Editorial Staff

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