Levocetirizine (Generic Xyzal)

Relief for watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy skin within 1 hour

Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride is for the treatment of allergy symptoms. It is a non-sedating antihistamine that helps to reduce symptoms of allergic reactions. 

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Information

Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD

Information last reviewed 08/03/20

About

What are Levocetirizine tablets used for?

Levocetirizine is used for the treatment of allergic reactions. Levocetirizine is an antihistamine that helps alleviate allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchiness, rashes, etc. 

How Levocetirizine works

Levocetirizine is an antihistamine. When you come into contact with an allergen, your body produces an excess of histamine. Histamine produces the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, itchiness, sneezing, etc. Antihistamines help reduce the amount of histamine in your system and lead to a reduction in allergic symptoms. 

When is Levocetirizine used?

Levocetirizine is used during an allergic reaction. It is commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Who should take Levocetirizine?

Levocetirizine can be taken by people who have seasonal allergies or other allergic reactions. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Why is Levocetirizine prescribed?

Levocetirizine is prescribed to treat allergy symptoms when over the counter antihistamines are not sufficiently effective. 

How long does it take for Levocetirizine to work?

Levocetirizine starts to work within 1 hour of taking it, but it can take longer to have a significant impact on your symptoms.

How long does Levocetirizine last?

The antihistamine effects of Levocetirizine last for approximately 24 hours, but it can take 40-50 hours to be completely metabolized by the body. 

Ingredients

Active ingredient

The active ingredient in Levocetirizine is levocetirizine dihydrochloride. This is an antihistamine that helps to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Inactive ingredient

Levocetirizine may contain different inactive ingredients depending on the manufacturer. The Xyzal brand of Levocetirizine contains the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, colloidal anhydrous silica, and magnesium stearate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide, and macrogol 400.

Dosage

How to take Levocetirizine

Levocetirizine should always be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Usually, you would be advised to take one tablet once a day. It is advisable to take Levocetirizine at night if you experience side effects such as drowsiness. 

How many times a day should you take Levocetirizine?

Levocetirizine should be taken once a day. Always take Levocetirizine as prescribed.

Why take Levocetirizine at night?/ Why take Levocetirizine in the evening?

Levocetirizine can cause drowsiness. This can affect your ability to undertake daily tasks, including driving. Therefore it is recommended that you take Levocetirizine at night, so you will not notice the drowsiness as much, and it may even help you get some sleep. 

Do I need to take Levocetirizine with food?

Levocetirizine does not need to be taken with food. You can take Levocetirizine on an empty stomach. 

Can Levocetirizine be taken long term?

Levocetirizine is safe for long term use but is usually taken for a short period of time to treat an allergic reaction or seasonal allergies. You should always take Levocetirizine as prescribed.

Side Effects

Levocetirizine side effects

Common side effects of Levocetirizine include:

  • Weakness, lack of energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep disorders

Other possible side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Swelling of the face, hands or feet
  • Increased appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hallucination
  • Liver problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal sensations
  • Rash
  • Fainting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Tremor
  • Urinary problems
  • Vertigo
  • Visual changes
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain

If you experience severe side effects or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as breathing difficulties, swelling, or a rash, you should seek immediate medical attention.
 

Drug interactions

Levocetirizine can interact with the following types of medication:

  • Betahistine dihydrochloride
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Phenelzine
  • Tranylcypromine

Drug interactions can be dangerous, therefore it is important that you notify the prescribing doctor of any medications or recreational drugs that you are taking.
 

Can Levocetirizine make you sleepy?

Levocetirizine is a non-drowsy antihistamine, however, some people may find that they still experience drowsiness when taking Levocetirizine. If you experience drowsiness from Levocetirizine or any other medication, you should avoid driving or operating machinery.

Why does Levocetirizine cause drowsiness?

In the brain, histamine helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. In some people, antihistamines, such as Levocetirizine, can cross the blood-brain barrier (the barrier between your circulating blood and the brain). When antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier, they can disrupt the action of histamines in your brain leading to drowsiness.
 

Can Levocetirizine cause diarrhea?

Levocetirizine can cause diarrhea. This side effect is more common in children than in adults.

Can Levocetirizine cause erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is not a known side effect of Levocetirizine. If you believe that Levocetirizine has caused your erectile dysfunction, you should speak to your doctor to discuss your options. 

Levocetirizine and pregnancy

Levocetirizine can be used in pregnancy if the risks outweigh the benefits. However, antihistamines, such as Levocetirizine, are not usually recommended for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Levocetirizine and alcohol

It is not advisable to take Levocetirizine with alcohol. Both Levocetirizine and alcohol can have neurological effects. Therefore, drinking alcohol with Levoceitirizne may increase side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, and reduced alertness.

Treatment Options

Are Levocetirizine and Cetirizine the same?

Levocetirizine is an isomer of Cetirizine. This means that a molecule of Cetirizine contains the same atoms as Levocetirizine, but the atoms are arranged in a different way. Therefore,  the two substances can have different properties. Levocetirizine is considered to cause less drowsiness than Cetirizine and is also considered a more potent antihistamine. 

Which is better Levocetirizine or Fexofenadine?

Levocetirizine is more potent than Fexofenadine, but that does not necessarily mean it is the best medication for you. Your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits of treatment to help you find the right medication.

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

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