Saturday, October 4, 2008

Summary and Update

It has been almost five months since I stopped taking Zyrtec. I am a much happier, healthier person for doing this. The 6-7 weeks of withdrawal symptoms are fading in memory and I AM SO GLAD TO HAVE MY LIFE BACK! If you are considering stopping but are scared of the withdrawal symptoms I can assure you that it is completely worth it in the end.

Mental Health - Depression & Anger
I am very concerned at the mood altering affects that Zyrtec had on me. What is even more scary is that I didn't even realise it at the time. I was severely depressed whilst on Zyrtec and had a very short fuse. In the months since being off Zyrtec nearly every person who knows me has commented on my dramatic change in personality. I did not tell everyone about me coming off Zyrtec yet I have had unsolicited comments such as 'you are back to your happy old self', 'you are more relaxed now' and 'you seem so much happier now'. I can handle stress better and no longer fly off the handle at the smallest thing.

If you are on Zyrtec and think you may be depressed please consider that it could be the Zyrtec affecting you. For me, Zyrtec was the sole reason for my depression - but bear in mind that for other people there could be other factors involved. If you are on Zyrtec and aren't sure if you are depressed (but know deep down that something isn't right) then sit down and try to remember the last time you felt happy/content/carefree, ask your loved ones or go and have a chat to a doctor. Reach out, it isn't normal to feel down, empty and hopeless for extended periods of time. You deserve better.

Salicylate Reactions
I have finally begun to see the improvements to my health that I had hoped for and expected. I really believe that Zyrtec was stopping me from progressing. I still follow the Failsafe Diet but do not experience such prolonged and severe reactions when I deviate from the diet. I still get hives but they are decreasing in severity and frequency - I am now better than I ever was on Zyrtec which was meant to be helping me with my hives (that was my whole reason for taking Zyrtec in the first place). I think that if I hadn't taken Zyrtec I would have improved over time - taking Zyrtec for the last 18 months has effectively delayed my recovery. I did not feel like I progressed or improved at all whilst taking Zyrtec. The severe hives when I stopped it for a day or two merely gave the illusion that without the Zyrtec I would have a much worse problem - when in fact those hives were a withdrawal symptom.

Menstrual Cycle
My very short cycle, which was my original reason for going off Zyrtec, has improved in length gradually with the mid-cycle spotting decreasing. I have just had a 25 day cycle with no spotting at all - a new record! I am hoping it will continue to improve and return to a regular pattern, it certainly seems to be heading that way.

Let's just say that another unexpected effect of going off Zyrtec has been a much happier husband. And it's not just because I yell at him less. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record my point is this: Zyrtec had some awful side effects on me - in particular depression, anger problems and severe menstrual problems. The withdrawal symptoms, which lasted around 6-7 weeks, were both painful and distressing but if I had to do it all over again I would in a heartbeat. My health has mental and physical improved drastically since stopping Zyrtec. 

Please take the time to read my personal story - I have written this all down so that it may help someone else and to remind myself of the experience. I recommend that you start with the oldest post and work your way forward as that is the order I have intended for it to be read in. 

I welcome feedback on other people's experiences with Zyrtec - the more information out there the better!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Withdrawal Symptoms when stopping Zyrtec

After realising that there was a good chance that my daily dose of Zyrtec (10mg) was doing me more harm than good I decided stop taking it. Having read other peoples' experiences doing this I realised that there would be possibly be some withdrawal symptoms to go through. Knowing this I decided to reduce my dosage slowly before stopping it altogether. I didn't have a set plan for getting off Zyrtec, more of an outline, but one thing was set - once I was on the path of freeing myself from this drug there was no going back. I had read of other people giving up time and time again as the withdrawal symptoms became overwhelming so I resolved not to give in as it would only get harder and harder to stop as time went on.

Diary of Symptoms
Whilst quitting Zyrtec I made notes on my calendar of my daily symptoms. This was not comprehensive in any way and on reflection I wish I had kept a more detailed daily diary. That said, I don't think I could have managed that at the time as I was living hour to hour most days and barely able to manage as it was. I tended to only write down the unusual or extreme symptoms, for me having a few hives on my torso is not an event - in fact it can often go unnoticed. As a guide; If I write that I had hives on my arm then I am referring to an intense breakout, one that is unbearable and much worse than usual. If I am talking about having really bad hives then I was probably covered all over my body, with mentioned areas worse than others. The itching would have been completely unbearable and the welts bad enough looking that people around would recoil at the sight of them.

Things to Note
I do not experience headaches much at all. Maybe once or twice a year and they are usually directly attributable to not having drunk enough water or being tense (from clenching my jaw or something). I have experienced two migraines in my life (one about 10 years ago and the other about 4 years ago), both were caused by consumption of highly processed food (high in preservatives, food colours, flavour enhancers and other nasties) and both were so bad they caused me to lose my sight temporarily.

I do not have any problems with my sinuses. Any sinus problems or pain I have ever had has been during (or just after) a cold or flu. Correspondingly, I also have no problems with my eyes being itchy or watery except for the usual cold/flu response.

My hives are usually relatively small, ranging in size from 0.5cm diameter to up to 10cm. Usually they are about the size of a 10c or 20c piece (Australian coins).

I am a fairly light sleeper but usually sleep right through the night, waking early in the morning only if I am having a reaction (4am is classic lip/throat/tongue swelling time) or am disturbed by a noise (husband snoring etc). I don't have a lot of trouble getting to sleep unless I am stressed about something unusually stressful that will be happening the next day (exam etc). I have a fair amount of trouble waking in the morning especially when I have had a bad reaction the day before.

Week 1 - Day 1
I started on a Saturday. Instead of my usual whole pill, I cut it in half and took thereby effectively cutting my dosage down to 5mg. That day I experienced hives all over my body, with particularly bad hives on my right arm.

Week 1 - Day 2
The hives continued, worse than usual but not too bad to bear. Mostly they would just pop up in clusters in some place or another and annoy me for a while then disappear. However, to my surprise I experienced very bad sinus problems all day. I had an awful headache as well as a lot of pain through my sinuses and my nose was running continuously.

Week 1 - Days 3-7
The sinus trouble lessened on day three and was pretty much gone the rest of the week. My hives were worse than usual this week however, but I was not surprised at this. In fact I was quite relieved that I did not seem to be suffering too much at all from my decrease in dosage.

Week 2 - Days 1 & 2
I was away from home from the middle of Week 1 so was really testing myself as I was eating out each day and sleeping in a hotel room (think air fresheners, smelly toiletries in the bathroom, sheets washed in strong detergents and softners etc). Day 1 I got my period, which was annoying as it was only 16 days since my last period had stopped - the last period had been 8 days long and so heavy that I thought I was going to pass out at times so I had been hoping for a longer cycle than 24 days.

On Day 1 of Week 2 we went for a long walk through the Blue Mountains. It was very cold (by Australian standards - single digits temperature) and the walk could be quite strenous at times, both factors that can trigger hives in some people, but not usually myself. By the end of the day my legs were both covered (literally, there was no space on them without a hive) in a patchwork of hives ranging in size from small dots to up to 20cm in length. As time progressed a number of them sort of joined up to form larger welts. They were also on my torso and arms to a lesser degree. I spent the evening in a bath full of bicarb to soothe them. Day 2 was pretty average, I was basically recovering still from the hives on my legs which were still there in the morning but to a much lesser extent. They were pretty much gone by the evening.

Week 2 - Day 3 - No more Zyrtec!
On my tenth day, a Monday morning, in my rush to work (having flown back home the night before) I kinda forgot to take my half dose of Zyrtec. Not that I realised that until the end of the day mind you, thanks to my memory problems. I spent the entire day in misery wondering why I had a horrific headache (verging on a migraine, but not quite that severe) and was pretty much unable to function effectively because of it. When I realised that night that I had forgotten the Zyrtec I decided to push on with the next stage because I was damned if I was going to go through another god-awful day like that. That night the insomnia kicked in. I couldn't go to sleep, when I eventually did get to sleep it was not deep at all (in fact I was having very vivid and intense dreams in the short time I did spend asleep) and of course 4am is a GREAT time to wake up and be wide awake when you only just got to sleep at 2am.

Despite all of this I was happy. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. Oh so happy it was freaking me out completely. It was such a foreign feeling to feel content and positive. I was incredibly surprised at feeling this way and was petrified that it would stop. I was suspicious that I could have been feeling happy to have found a potential solution to my health problems and that was just riding on a temporary high but deep down I knew that this was a HUGE change for me and it felt like it was here to stay. I suddenly realised with great sadness that I had been completely depressed and had not felt any sort of happiness or contentment for well over a year.

Week 2 - Day 4
The sinus trouble was back with a vengance, this time complete with itchy and watery eyes, an itchy throat, swollen feet and bad hives. Not to forget the insomnia. But hey, I was still happy.

Week 2 - Day 5
More sinus problems, itchy watery eyes, hives and a swollen right foot. Yep, still couldn't sleep and getting tetchier by the minute - but still happy.

Week 2 - Day 6
This was the fun day that I finally found out what people on the internet were referring to when they said they had 'the itchies' or 'an intense itching' or 'terrible itching hives'. OH. MY. GOD. The itchies (as they will be known as from now on) make hives look like a walk in the park. They are different to hives in both feeling and appearance. The entire area affected (such as a forearm) swells deep under the skin making it red and swollen, there is an intense, constant deep itching which is never relieved. As a person with a very high tolerance (built from years of hives) to this kind of thing, I was amazed at how painful it was for me. I was scratching myself raw. You cannot begin to understand how awful they are unless you have experienced them directly yourself. The itchies brought with them a new level of misery to add to my days. This was in addition to a swollen bottom lip that I woke with, itchy eyes, mild sinus and the usual inability to sleep well at all. Being itchy all the time really didn't help with the whole not being able to sleep either.

Week 2 - Day 7
On the upside my period finished, it had been 6 days in total and a lot more normal (for me - lighter, less cramping) than the previous one. On the downside the itchies and bad hives continued unabated. I was absolutely miserable and the days were just an itchy, painful blur. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Sleep deprivation and constant intense burning, itchiness brings a whole new dimension to torture. Yet my mood was still elevated and positive at all times. My determination to push through surprised even myself. Despite all the pain there was NO WAY I was taking a Zyrtec. I can honestly say I never once felt tempted to take a pill and gain some temporary relief. I think the happiness I was experiencing off the Zyrtec helped a lot as it provided me with a major incentive not to go back onto it.

Week 3 - Day 1
The itchies continued unabated, as did the bad hives and I also had swollen feet that day and the insomnia continued - I couldn't get to sleep despite being exhausted and was waking every single morning at 4am. I was still in a good frame of mind, particularly considering the circumstances.

Week 3 - Day 2
See Week 3 - Day 1...

Week 3 - Day 3
The itchies were still there. The insomnia was still there but it was a particularly interesting 4am wakening as it was accompanied by my bottom lip being very painfully swollen. Later in the day my feet and fingers also swelled, a horrible experience I would not wish on my worst enemy. It was starting to crack me up how ironic the situation was, I was in constant pain had not slept right in over a week and yet was the happier than I had been in years.

Week 3 - Day 4
Bad hives, itchies on my right arm, insomnia. Still happy. Sound familiar?

Week 3 - Day 5
Now things get a bit more interesting. All I have written in my calendar for this day is 'bad nausea, felt really off all day'. I am sure that I was itchy at some point in the day with one thing or another (otherwise I would have noted with great surprise that I wasn't itchy in the calendar!). Oh yeah, and 'woke at 4am' is still there too.

Week 3 - Day 6
This day was a turning point for me. I felt very sick and nauseous in the morning and really struggled with fatigue - even more than normal. I ended up going home from work at lunchtime as I couldn't handle it all any more. I promptly karked it on the couch and slept very deeply for 3 hrs. When I woke up I felt really good, the nausea and fatigue were gone and I felt refreshed for once. That night I fell asleep quicker than the usual couple of hours it had been taking me to sleep, however I had very intense nightmares all night and woke the next morning with a swollen lip.

Week 3 - Day 7
Apart from the swollen lip the nausea was back. No mention of itchies in my calendar!

Week 4 - Day 1
Nausea and hives were what bothered me most this day.

Week 4 - Day 2
Mildly nauseous, swollen fingers and hand. No itchies or insomnia!

Week 4 - Days 3-5
Insomnia every night.

Week 4 - Day 6 
Bad sinus trouble, Swollen eyes & hive on right eye.

Week 4 - Day 7
Anxious. Swelling in my fingers and feet. Hives on my right arm.

Week 5 - Day 1
Swelling in my throat - down the bottom of my throat. Constant burping, seems related to the throat swelling somewhat. Unable to get to sleep easily because of the burping. Bad case of hives develop on torso overnight.

Week 5 - Day 2
Hives still there. Burping mostly gone.

Week 5 - Day 3 
Hives on thighs.

Week 5 - Day 4
Really bad hives on right arm. Insomnia.

Week 5 - Day 5
Wake up with swollen eyes, bad hives, tinnitus worse than usual & itchies on my left arm. Not a fun day. Insomnia that night.

Week 5 - Day 6
Hives and mild case of the itchies. Insomnia at night.

Week 5 - Day 7
Wake up with swollen eyes. Have hives and mild itchies during the day.

Week 6 - Day 1
A good day!!! Slept in late, felt good most of the day.

Week 6 - Day 2
Another good day. Got my period which is 4 days in length this cycle - much shorter and lighter than the previous two.

Week 6 - Days 3 - 7
Mostly just daily hives. Mild nausea on day 4.

Week 7 - Day 1
Bad Hives.

Week 7 - Day 2
Hives. Feeling a bit more down than usual - but just a temporary thing, still nowhere near the depression experienced whilst on Zyrtec.

Week 7 - Day 3 onwards....
The diary shows the odd days here and there of hives and nausea but bad days are getting less and less and more spread out. The itchies have disappeared completely as has the insomnia, depression, sinus, itchy eyes.

So all up I would say it took a good six weeks to withdraw completely from Zyrtec.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Side Effects Whilst Taking Zyrtec

As mentioned in my last post I started taking Zyrtec 10mg once a day at the recommendation of my allergist and GP to try and minimise my chronic hives and angiodema (swelling) caused by salicylate intolerance.

It is difficult to discern just exactly what symptoms I experienced were directly attributable towards Zyrtec as some of them cross over with my symptoms due to my salicylate intolerance. The symptoms are also very subjective and hard to measure. That said, now that I am off Zyrtec and reflecting back on the past 18 months I am absolutely shocked at the state my health was in and the stark contrast to the good health I now have since I stopped taking Zyrtec, particularly my mental health - I just didn't realise how bad it was at the time. I am shocked enough to try and get the word out to warn others who maybe don't realise what taking Zyrtec could be doing to them.

My most obvious symptom - Menstrual Problems

The symptom that prompted me to start to seek answers was the serious menstrual issues I was having. I am not on the contraceptive pill (and haven't been for years) or any taking any hormone treatments. I never really tracked or monitored my cycle, but it was fairly regular and my periods weren't anything unusual (moderate flow for a few days every month or so). In September 2007 I realised that they were occuring too frequently so I started making notes in my diary. By December there was no need to make notes, it was very obvious that there was something seriously wrong. My cycle length had steadily decreased to 10 days and 5 of those days were spent with a period. So it was pretty much 5 days on, 5 days off over and over again. I was also spotting regularly. I was frequently nauseous and constantly experiencing all of the symptoms usually associated with PMS; breast tenderness, water retention, chocolate cravings etc. Interestingly enough at one point all the symptoms seemed to point to pregnancy - I have since read many comments in the Zyrte side effects web pages from women saying that they were convinced they were pregnant.

In January 2008 I went to the doctor and was sent for multiple blood tests and an internal ultrasound which all came up completely normal. The doctor was at a loss as to what the cause was medically. At the time we decided it was due to stress (and it was certainly a contributing factor) as I was in the final months of my Masters study. However, once I had finished my study in early February and work was quiet I had very little stress in my life. Over the following six weeks my cycle length improved to 15-20 days but the nausea continued (just a couple of days ever week or two).

Other symptoms at the Time

I was constantly feeling unwell and run down. I had very little energy and was always tired - no matter how much sleep I got. I would be shattered if I didn't get at least 9 hrs sleep in a night. I had a short fuse and was frequently tetchy and anxious (often acutely - I would get worked up about the smallest of things) which I attributed at the time to constantly having PMS. I would have days where I would spend the entire day picking arguments with my darling husband who would just duck and cover knowing that there was no reasoning with me. People in general annoyed the crap out of me, particularly if they were cheery or invasive. I was frequently spaced out and had problems with my concentration and memory - however these symptoms are also caused by salicylate intolerance so it was unclear what was causing them at the time. I was also quite severely disconnected from life in general, I tended to daydream a lot as a means of escaping from reality. My behaviour was apathetic and my thinking at times warped, something I was only vaguely aware of at the time. I think my overall attitude is summed up well by a woman who commented on her own similar experience "it wasn't that I was suicidal, I just didn't care if I lived or died".

Connecting the symptoms with Zyrtec

It was at this stage I had run out of excuses for my poor health. I had minimal stress in my life, I was eating a fairly strict diet and had changed my lifestyle completely (minimal chemicals in my environment, more exercise, more relaxation and better stress coping mechanisms) to control my salicylate intolerance yet I still felt out of control, tired and unwell all the time. My health should have been improving. All the symptoms I was experiencing I was blaming on my salicylate intolerance but something just didn't make sense. I had hit a wall and gone backwards in the past year with my symptoms, when I would have expected that my symptoms would improve after being reducing my salicylate exposure more and more and building my tolerance.

My mum (what would we do without mums!) searched the internet for answers; we became suspicious of Zyrtec (it was the only medication I was taking apart from the occasional paracetamol for pain) having ruled out everything else, so started looking for more information on the side effects. We found what we were looking for, other people out there listing my exact symptoms and more. The pages were surprisingly hard to find - I suppose it depends what keywords you are searching using. I have listed the best links that we have found so far on the right hand side of this page under 'More Information - Useful Links'.

Reading about the side effects of Zyrtec

It was actually quite astonishing and scary to read about other peoples' experiences with Zyrtec. My experiences are all too common. One long term effect is excessive weight gain and food cravings; I am overweight and experienced regular food cravings. I tried to lose weight last year by seeing a personal trainer multiple times a week, increasing my exercise and moderating my diet. Despite drastic changes to my lifestyle I did not lose any significant amount of weight, just toned up a bit. Depression, menstrual and PMS symptoms are frequently described by people. Behavioural and anger problems are particularly noted in children of all ages by many parents as well as in adults. Someone even listed 'divorce' as a possible side effect of the drug; funny, but potentially true in extreme cases! Thankfully divorce, heart issues, dry mouth and night terrors are the commonly listed symptoms that I did not experience.

Real of Psychosomatic?

A number of people on these sites question the validity of people linking Zyrtec with depression and weight gain. They throw around terms such as 'psychosomatic' or claim that people are just not accepting responsibility for their health. What a load of shite; who are they to question people and tell them it is 'all in their head'. People are experiencing very cut and dry mood changes (and weight issues) when starting or stopping Zyrtec. Just because it hasn't affected you this way doesn't mean it doesn't affect another person differently. People suffering from the symptoms of severe depression don't need to be told they are crazy, it's ignorant and unhelpful. Depression is a very real illness.

For me the mood altering affect of Zyrtec was drastic. For over a year I was depressed, completely numbed of any feelings of happiness. Any feelings of joy (at a typically happy even such as a family gathering) were brief and often followed by a marked mood swing into a prolonged period of extreme depression. I had forgotten completely what it felt like to be happy but didn't even know it. When I decreased and subsequently stopped Zyrtec the cloud of gloom lifted - literally overnight. It is a month and a half later and I am pleased to say that I have not had a single day where I haven't felt happy since stopping Zyrtec. I think this diary entry sums it up well:

I have been on a half dose since Sunday and have suffered for it (increase in hives, inability to sleep well, headaches). I will cut out the half dose sometime next week depending on how I am going. The crazy thing is how I feel though. I feel happy. Not just a fleeting happy, but absolutely crazy happy and ready to take on the world. I am not sure if it will last, but I had no idea how unhappy I had been feeling these past few years (in comparison).

So I sit here covered in hives, not able to sleep at night and the happiest I have felt in years. Yipee!

This was a completely and utterly unexpected consequence of stopping Zyrtec. All I had been hoping for was my menstrual cycle to correct itself. The mental changes took me completely by surprise and I am still amazed at the marked difference in my attitude, outlook on life and mood. I am blown away that it occured literally overnight; for me Zyrtec was a mind altering drug. The onset of the effects was slow and went un-noticed, in stark contrast the disappearance of the effects within days of stopping it was really obvious. I am back to my happy old self - I had forgotten what it was like to be normal.

As for the weight problems with Zyrtec, I was overweight before taking it but am hoping that my healthier lifestyle will have more of a positive effect on weight loss now - it is just a matter of wait and see I guess. My food cravings have decreased, although I think they were linked in with the constant PMS state I was in.

So all that is really left to tell now is the symptoms I experienced when giving up Zyrtec. I think they deserve a post of their own as there are so many of them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Background

I am 27 years old, female and live in the sub-tropics in Australia. My family has a history of ADHD, Asthma, Eczema and a whole host of other allergy / food intolerance related problems. Click here to learn the difference between an allergy and food intolerance and for an introduction to food intolerance.

I suffer from severe Salicylate Intolerance which gives me the following symptoms:
  • Hives / Urticaria; on a daily basis - always varying in intensity, size and location. Popular locations are my arms and torso.
  • Angiodema / Swelling; initially on a daily basis, now every couple of days or so - most frequently facial (lips, eyelids), fingers and feet when I am having a bad reaction, tongue or throat when I am having a really bad reaction.
  • Neurological Symptoms; Brain fog (mental fuzziness - I went from very being a very precise person to completely vague and confused), memory problems (mainly short term - when reading I would forget the start of the sentence by the time I had finished reading it, I would forget words, half way through tasks I would forget what I was doing etc.), co-ordination problems (at my worst I would trip over, fall or bump into things 10+ times in a day).
  • Fatigue; At my worst I was struggling to get up at 4pm in the afternoon each day to make dinner (having gone to bed at 10pm the night before). Usually when I have a bad reaction I really struggle to get out of bed the next morning no matter how much sleep I have had - I am then in a daze all day which no amount of sleep can help.
Stress and Hormones
Stress is a huge factor and completely under-researched and under-documented as far as I am concerned. When I am stressed my tolerance levels drop dramatically. Another key factor is hormones; I have more severe reactions in the days before my period is due.

In the past year I have been under a large amount of stress due to a heavy workload at my job as well as finishing off my postgraduate study part time. On reflection, this was an underlying contributing factor to the severity of my salicylate intolerance over the past year.

Too Many Variables
One thing that drives me nuts about food intolerances is the sheer number and variety of variables involved. For any given food intolerance reaction my stress levels, exposure to foods over the past 24 hrs, exposure to airborne pollutants over the past 24 hrs and hormone levels all have an effect on the severity and type of reaction. This makes it very hard to distinguish a clear cause for a reaction, consequently it makes the prevention of reactions very hard. It also makes it hard to distinguish what symptoms are even part of a reaction (ie. If I have a headache it could just be a regular headache or it could be a part of a reaction to smelling something. Smelling mint gives me terrible headaches but I am not sure what else has that effect).

Failsafe Diet
The best solution to minimising my problems with salicylates is to avoid them. Unfortunately that is easier said than done as salicylates are present in just about every food of plant origin. I am very fortunate to have found the 'Failsafe Diet' which is based upon the information contained in Anne Swain's thesis 'The role of natural salicylates in food intolerance'. The diet focuses on minimising both artificial and natural chemicals in your environment and diet. I have had a huge amount of success with this diet and highly recommend it. The diet helped me to vastly improve my health and decrease the severity of my symptoms however I was still experiencing hives, swelling and other neurological symptoms on a daily basis.

Starting Zyrtec
I started taking Zyrtec 10mg daily each morning about 18 months ago at the recommendation of my allergist and GP. I did not have any noticable trouble with drowsiness when taking Zyrtec. I took Zyrtec in an attempt to stop or minimise the daily hives and facial swelling I was experiencing. The Zyrtec helped minimise the hives and swelling but did not stop them. My allergist had recommended that I try Zyrtec for a month straight to 'break the cycle' of the hives. So after a month I tried stopping Zyrtec and found that my hives got worse so I figured that it was helping me. So I kept on taking the Zyrtec. Each time I felt like I was getting better I tried stopping the Zyrtec but would find that my hives would be much worse within 24hrs of stopping it. So I thought that the Zyrtec was really helping me minimise my hives and other symptoms. WRONG...but more about that later.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Purpose of this Blog

I have created this blog to document the side effects and withdrawal symptoms I experienced using the anti-histamine Zyrtec. I am also including a number of links to websites containing other people's experiences as I found it quite difficult to track down information about the true extent of the side effects of Zyrtec. These links are listed on the right hand side of this page.

I hope to post a number of posts over the coming week that describe my own personal experience in detail, which is what a lot of the patient reporting sites lack - a high level of detail. I will start off with my background and reasons for taking Zyrtec, then describe the symptoms I experienced whilst taking Zyrtec and finally, the withdrawal symptoms I am experiencing now that I have stopped taking it.

I welcome people's comments on their own experiences using Zyrtec, the more information out there the better.