Zyrtec: Quit without itching like crazy

If you take Zyrtec (generic name – cetirizine hydrochloride) daily and have tried to stop, your skin may start to itch. Sometimes, this itching can be very intense, distracting, and can even disrupt your sleep.

After several failed attempts to stop taking Zyrtec due to itching, I found a solution that allowed me to wean off the medication with zero side effects. If I had known about this approach a long time ago, I could have saved myself a lot of misery.

The Solution

I turned to my old friend Amazon and found these 5mg cetirizine hydrochloride tablets. They are half the regular dose of 10mg Zyrtec sold in stores.

These lower dosage tablets were a breakthrough for me in finally ending daily dependence on this medication. They allowed me to slowly reduce my intake of Zyrtec, which avoided the itching withdrawal effect completely.

The Weaning Schedule

I began to wean myself down off Zyrtec by substituting the 5mg tablets for my Zyrtec tablets on a schedule like the below:

Weeks 1-2: I took a regular 10mg tablet one day, then took 5mg the next, back to 10mg the following day, 5mg the next day, and so on.

Weeks 3-4: I took 5mg everyday.

Weeks 5-6: I took 5mg one day and took no Zyrtec/cetirizine hydrochloride the next. I continued to alternate for the entire 2 weeks.

Weeks 7-8: I took 5mg one day and took no Zyrtec/cetirizine hydrochloride for the next TWO days. I continued the pattern for the whole 2 weeks.

Weeks 9 and beyond: I stopped taking Zyrtec entirely.

Want to give it a shot? You can find 5mg cetirizine hydrochloride tablets on Amazon by clicking here.

I can still take a 5 mg tablet as needed without problems. I have found in this process that the 5mg tablet is just as effective for me as the 10mg. I also can go back to taking a 5m tablet every other day during the heart of allergy season and stop again without issues.


I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. I am sharing my personal experience because I would have loved for someone to share this with me years ago. Talk with your doctor before making a change in medication, etc. and all the other usual disclaimers.

Enjoyed this article? Consider checking out my other posts at the home page of treys.blog.


Update 1: it has since been suggested to me that 10mg Zyrtec tablets could simply be cut in half rather than buying the 5mg tablets. I haven’t tried this myself, because, for me, I prefer the ease of not cutting the pills especially with how cheap the 5mg tablets are.

Update 2: The amount of traffic this post has received is amazing to me. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I think the high traffic here is proof that there is a link to Zyrtec withdrawal sometimes causing itching.

I’ll add that now, years later, I am still taking the 5mg cetirizine hydrochloride in the post above. Outside allergy season, I take one pill every 3 or so days or when I feel like I need it. In allergy season, I take the 5mg pills each day. At least for me, I’ve found 5mg to be an effective daily dose for suppressing allergies without developing dependence. Anyway, I’m glad to see so many of you have found this to be helpful.


Trey Sharp is an entrepreneur & author in Huntsville, AL. Trey is the former owner/CEO of a Huntsville-based technology company, Sharp Communication, which was sold to Mobile Communications America in 2018. In 2016, Trey co-founded technology startup Tango Tango where he served as CEO for nearly 2 years. Trey still serves as an active board member and shareholder in the company. Trey also serves as an active Board Member for Urban Engine, an entrepreneurial nonprofit in Huntsville, AL dedicated to spurring the growth of startups in North Alabama. Trey is married to Claire Sharp and the couple has 4 children. Trey earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2002.

  • Eve says:

    Thank you for this!!! I will try it. Been on Zyrtec for about 10 years. It works, but it makes me wake up sleepy. Dosage has been up and down. These days I’ve been taking 5mg per 24 hours. Now I’ve just gone about 48 hours without a dose, but starting to itch – scalp, elbow, ankles… didn’t help that I ate something with MSG unthinkingly. I like your idea; since i’m already on 5mg I’ll try between 5mg and 2.5mg. My best period has been when I cut out sugar, dairy and gluten totally – i think i managed to go for three weeks without a pill at that time. Crossing my fingers and praying for an end to this at some stage…….

  • JT says:

    Hi. I’ve been a long-time user of cetirizine and have been looking for a solution for this dependence problem. I stumbled across this article and I think it doesn’t hurt to try what you’ve suggested 🙂

    Just a quick question, did you change your diet while you were on this weaning schedule? Like no meat/msg/dairy/gluten, etc?

    • treysharp says:

      Good luck!

      No, I didn’t change my diet at all and didn’t have any problems. I think the key is to really stick to the gradual weaning your dosage down. It’s easy to have 3-4 good days on one step down and say to yourself “this is going well, I’m going to speed this thing up!” If anything, you really want to stay on each step longer than necessary.

      I have read that taking high dosages of Vitamin C can help suppress allergic response, which might help the weaning process, but, I didn’t try it myself.

    • L Latam says:

      Please respond if this schedule has worked for others to stop the itching withdrawals? I’m really keen to try but too scared

      • treysharp says:

        L, I have a friend (outside the blog) who has used this approach and it worked for them. But, if you’re ever unsure, I would recommend discussing with a doctor or nurse before changing anything.

        In an otherwise healthy person, I would think the worst thing that would happen from this approach would be getting a little itchy for a day or so, but, I’m not a doctor and definitely don’t feel comfortable speaking to all different health scenarios that someone might have going on. When I have gotten itchy from trying to go cold turkey before, I’ve usually found that it resolved for me within half a day or so of going back on a full dose of Zyrtec.

    • Boni says:

      Changing your diet is important there’s a shred 10 program that would work really well if interested email me.. since I’ve been doing so much detox lately I’m going to try this advice to wean myself off Zyrtec

  • ELD says:

    Hi. This is very helpful. I’m definitely going to try it as I’ve been taking zyrtec daily for 3 years. Curiously, how many years did you take zyrtec?

    • treysharp says:

      ELD, I believe I took it for roughly 3-4 years daily before I did this. I took it only occasionally/seasonally for several years before my doctor recommended I try daily doses.

      Now, I’m back to only occasional/seasonal doses and I have found the 5mg actually works just as well for me in occasional use as the 10mg does. I stop Zyrtec completely in the winter and will take two to three 5mg doses per week in the spring-summer months when I feel I need the help. Everyone’s mileage may vary I am sure, but, I feel the 10mg/day dose was just more than I needed for my body.

  • Marysully says:

    Thank you for this plan! After being on Zyrtec at an allergist’s suggestion for about 8 or 9 months, I stopped cold turkey and almost lost my mind from the itching. I began taking it again and used this schedule to taper off. After the 2 weeks of 5 mg. every third day, I actually had to break the halves in half – lol – and took 2.5 mg every third or fourth day. After a week or so of that I was still itchy (waste band, bra straps) by the 3rd or 4th day, but it was bearable and I could sleep, so was able to “gut it out” for a few days and finally be done. Not sure I will ever take Zyrtec again. Thanks again.

  • I live in a country where the 5mg isn’t available and Amazon won’t ship it here (and you can’t split the 10g pills I’ve checked). Do you think starting with 10mg every other day might work? Anyone tried that?

    • Boni says:

      Yes you can split them in half I just went and split them in half the name brand split easily with the little line the generic brands a little tricky but they still look like halfs to me?!

  • Boni says:

    Unfortunately I’ve been taking Zyrtec for over 20 years every night! So I’m hoping to detox off these but right now my back is been itching severely and the dermatologist just freezed 15 moles two weeks ago and so it’s very irritated and thinking once this heals up and some of my itching subsides might be a better time to wean myself off. I’m assuming I’ll be okay splitting the 10 milligram in half

  • Rene says:

    I am going though this now! I stopped cold turkey about 6 weeks ago and I have been itching ever since but it us only yesterday I made the connection of stopping the Zyrtec with the itch! I had been to 3 dermatologists, my GP, an allergist and an immunologist! I am going to try a low dose and slowly taper that because this itch makes me insane!

  • Susan says:

    Is it just itching you had? I’ve been trying to quit but can’t seem to go more than 3 days before my head feels inflamed and as if I have creepy crawlies crawling around in and on my head. I also develop a nose twitch and such incredible brain fog, I can hardly form sentences. 1 Zyrtec and it goes away. 🙁

    Why don’t they warn people about this?!

  • Ann says:

    So happy that worked for you! I am down to 2.5 mg (1/4 pill) every other day, but I can’t seem to move on to every 2 days without itching. I’m just trying to push through the best I can. I find that ice packs help.

  • Yvonne Pavlovsky says:

    Noticed every time I tried not taking a Zyrtec at night , I could not sleep for intense itching. For 2 nites I took none and I have like itchy hives all over . I read these reviews and made me feel better, just took 1/2 a generic Zyrtec and will be weaning off these permanently . Anything that affects a persons body in this way is not good for it. Thanks for writing to advise people that they aren’t losing their minds!

  • >