Currently, generic versions of Zyrtec are available in the form of tablets, chewable tablets, and syrup. While these generic versions are made by a number of manufacturers, including Actavis Elizabeth and Apotex Corporation, the names may be something other than cetirizine (the usual "generic" name). However, you can easily tell if a product contains generic Zyrtec by looking for "cetirizine hydrochloride" in the active ingredients section of the package label.
An Introduction to Generic Zyrtec
Zyrtec® (cetirizine hydrochloride) is a nonprescription antihistamine approved to treat allergies and hives. It belongs to a group of medications known as non-sedating antihistamines, which are less likely to cause drowsiness. Zyrtec was originally a prescription-only product, but was switched to a non-prescription status in 2007 (see Zyrtec OTC).
Brand-name Zyrtec is manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. However, many different generic versions of Zyrtec are now available.
Generic Nonprescription Products
Generic versions of prescription drugs must undergo certain tests comparing them to brand-name medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then looks at these tests to decide if the generic versions are equivalent to the brand-name medications and assigns a rating to each one.
However, nonprescription products, including Zyrtec, are regulated differently, and no equivalence ratings are given. Therefore, it is difficult to say with certainty that a "generic" nonprescription medication is completely equivalent to the brand-name product. However, the term "generic" is usually used to refer to any product that contains the same active ingredient, in the same strength, and in the same form as the brand-name product.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Zyrtec Web site. Available at: http://www.zyrtec.com/econsumer/zyrtec/index.view. Accessed April 2, 2010.
Zyrtec [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2006 May.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 11, 2008.
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