Zyrtec-D and Insomnia

Many side effects are possible with Zyrtec-D, and insomnia is one of the most common. In clinical studies, up to 4 percent of people taking the drug experienced insomnia. If you are taking Zyrtec-D and insomnia becomes a problem, improving your sleep habits may help. You can also try taking your dosages earlier in the day or switching to regular Zyrtec, which does not contain pseudoephedrine.

Zyrtec-D and Insomnia: An Introduction

Like all medications, Zyrtec-D® (cetirizine and pseudoephedrine) can cause side effects. Insomnia is the most common Zyrtec-D side effect. In clinical studies, up to 4 percent of people taking the drug experienced insomnia, compared to less than 1 percent of people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredient).

What Is Insomnia?

People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Frequently waking up during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Experiencing non-refreshing sleep.

Zyrtec-D and Insomnia: Suggestions

Often, insomnia (no matter what the cause) can be improved by better sleep habits. Tips for better sleep include the following:
  • Keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Sleep in a dark, quiet room with a comfortable temperature.
  • Don't exercise within two hours of bedtime. Exercising five or six hours before bedtime, however, may help you sleep more soundly.
  • Don't eat large meals within two hours of bedtime.
  • Don't nap later than 3 p.m.
  • If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, do a quiet activity somewhere else and return to bed when you're sleepy.
  • Wind down in the 30 minutes before bedtime with a relaxing pre-sleep ritual, such as a warm bath, soft music, or reading.
(Click Good Sleep Habits for more suggestions.)
Almost all cases of insomnia with Zyrtec-D are due to the pseudoephedrine component of the drug. Many people have difficulty sleeping while taking pseudoephedrine. You may want to consider taking plain Zyrtec® instead, which does not contain pseudoephedrine. Also, taking the evening dose of Zyrtec-D earlier in the day may help, although this means taking the morning dose earlier as well. For instance, if you usually take Zyrtec-D at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., try taking it at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. instead.
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