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Nightmares Related to Allergy Medicine

Has anyone experienced a child with weird dreams or nightmares while taking allergy medicine?

My two year old has been on Zertec for allergies to cedar for about a week and was up all night with inconsolable nightmares. It was very out of character for him and I was quite distressed. My sister says that her 6 year old had "weird dreams" the very first time she took Zertec.

I was just wondering if this was common?

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So What Happened?™

After my son had a bad night with nightmares and what seemed like hallucinations, I took him off of Zyrtec and then consulted with Mamasource. After hearing all of the anecdotes and suggestions from you Mamas, I look back at our week of Zyrtec and realized that there was more going on there than just the nightmares. His mood was grumpy and his naps were shorter and he just was not himself that whole week. Twenty four hours after stopping the medicine, he was acting like himself. The pediatritian said that every child reacts differently to meds (and she hadn't heard of that reaction to Zyrtec) and that I could try Claritin if he still has trouble with the allergies.
Thanks Mamas for all your thoughts and suggestions.

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Does it have codine in it by any chance? My son reacts to codine with hallucinations and out of character behavior. Just a thought

I think that you should stop giving that medicine to him,it must be something that might be to strong for him.My son took medicine with codein in it before and it made him have weird dreams and the dr. said it was maybe to strong or he was allegeric to something in the medicine.I would ask the dr. about that if I were you. .B. F.

Yes, I'm glad to hear that this isn't just us. My 4 year old was on Zyrtec for hives and he seemed to wake up saying he had a nightmare quite a bit while he was on it. I never even thought it had to do w/ the meds though. But, now that you mention it, he did that while he was taking that. That's strange!

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As a practitioner of a drugless healing art, it's distressing to see all these responses about the "impossibility" of living without pharmaceutical solutions. You must remember that, due to ethical reasons, few of these drugs have ever been tested on pediatric populations and their use in kids is considered "off label" prescribing. Allergic symptoms are signals that the body is not coping properly with its environment, and rather than weakening the body by supressing the symptoms, the body needs to be strentghened. Drugs are dangerous (even when well-meaning doctors prescribe them!)and every individual responds to them in unique ways. Please consider finding a qualified homeopath, naturopath, or chiropractor and avoid teaching children that for every symptom there's a pill. Pharmaceutical error is now considered the 5th leading cause of death in our country, and that should alarm EVERY mother.

I too have seen complete personality changes with this and similar allergy medicines. Even waking nightmares and ongoing tempertatrum from a normally balanced child.Have you every considered a homeopathic remedy? Each person and each body being different would use a remedy for themselves. We had great success with this path for allergies and asthma.

Did you mean Zyrtec? If so,
I found these side effects on www.webmd.com, one of them Less Severe are Nightmares;
you could look into natural alternatives. My 2 granddaughters when they moved here became really sick with allergies, doctors prescribed Claritin, I told my daughter to give them what we drink and sure enough allergies were gone in less than 2 days, without side effects.
What Jennifer Z said on her Thur Feb 07 post is so true.

Zyrtec-D Oral
Back to Drug Overview
Does this medication have side effects?

The following side effects are associated with Zyrtec-D Oral:

Common side effects:
Dryness of the Nose Less Severe
Dry Mouth Less Severe
Drowsiness Less Severe
Throat Dryness Less Severe

Infrequent side effects:
Throat Irritation Less Severe
Chronic Trouble Sleeping Less Severe
Loss of Skin Color Less Severe
Head Pain Less Severe
Change in Pulse Less Severe
Throwing Up Less Severe
Feeling Weak Less Severe

Rare side effects:
High Blood Pressure Severe
Slow Heartbeat Severe
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Severe
Bronchospasm Severe
Hepatitis Severe
Liver Problems Severe
Blockage of Normal Bile Flow Severe
Hallucination Severe
Seizures Severe
Fit Severe
Visible Water Retention Severe
Heart Throbbing or Pounding Severe
Trouble Breathing Severe
Life Threatening Allergic Reaction Severe
Nightmares Less Severe
Blurred Vision Less Severe
Problems with Eyesight Less Severe
Unsteady Walking Less Severe
Ringing in the Ears Less Severe
Incomplete or Infrequent Bowel Movements Less Severe
Sun-Sensitive Skin Less Severe
Dizzy Less Severe
Low Energy Less Severe
Excessive Sweating Less Severe
Involuntary Quivering Less Severe
Rash Less Severe
Loss of Appetite Less Severe
Weight Gain Less Severe
Increased Hunger Less Severe
Nosebleed Less Severe
Fast Heartbeat Less Severe
Feel Like Throwing Up Less Severe
Diarrhea Less Severe
Difficult or Painful Urination Less Severe
Stomach Cramps Less Severe
Nervous Less Severe
Confused Less Severe
Over Excitement Less Severe

I am a grandmother of 4 and baby sit them and loving it.


my sister has nightmares if she takes anything really strong. sometimes it is hard to wake her up even! be careful!

I know this question is from 2008, but thought I would post my comment for anyone else just coming upon this site.
I personally have had bad experiences with allergy meds. I am in my 40's and have had allergies since grade school. The allergies are worse this spring/summer and I tried Zyrtec thinking it would be stronger. I took the meds over the weekend and each nite, woke up terrified from whatever I was dreaming. Don't remember the dreams, but my heart would pound, I was shaking and sweating. Stopped taking Zyrtec and the nightmares stopped immediately.
Just last weekend, I took Benadryl (OTC allergy sinus) to try to knock out the allergy symptoms so I could spend time outdoors. I popped one pill every 4 hours as directed. The first few nites, my dreams were becoming increasingly odd, but by the 3rd nite, I was having nightmares again. Had to give up taking the Benadryl.
I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who is affected by this. Just wish it didn't happen.

Yes...that is normal but now sure how healthy! My daughter is 4 and if she takes her Zyrtec before bed she always has the nightmares...sleepwalking...talking in her sleep. I have taken her all the way throught he house with all the lights on and talked to her...she threw up from crying and never remembered it the next morning. And this has happend many times. I with there was some other way to treat her allergies. ~~~ Also after a year or longer of experimenting with dosage and time. I have found that when I give it to her around 4pm instead of right before bed that she sleeps all night with no problems ...not sure why that works but so far its the only way.

My son takes Zyrtec and Singular and has never had a prob with either. Now Claritan freaked him out.
I think it depends on the child.
Try a few different ones, or lessen the dosage.

My 6 year old also had bad dreams when zyrtec was prescribed to him I had to take him off of it because the dreams were very real to him I would have to wake him up out of fighting scary things off it was horrible.

You know, I did not make the Zyrtec connection, but my son was on Zyrtec from the time he was 3 until about 6. He is 7 now, and thankfully he outgrew the allergies so he no longer takes Zyrtec. He would have "night terrors" during this time where he would scream and run around the house while asleep and I would put him back to bed and he was never consciously awake. I am not sure that the Zyrtec contributed to this, but it is worth having a conversation about. Good luck, and I hope that your child too outgrows his need for the medication.

I don't know about the medicine, my son had what I've heard called night terrors until about 6 months ago, and doesn't take any sort of medicine, he's six. I also have an 8 yr old, and they both still have nightmares that make them wake up and crawl into my bed. But the night terrors were terrible, he would cry out and kick around and I couldn't consol him. They used to sleep together in the same bed and I would have to move him to my bed because I was afraid he would hurt his brother. I would try to wake him up, but he wouldn't completely wake up. His eyes would be open but he would be asleep and flailing around. I'm not sure this will really help you, but wanted to let you know my experience had nothing to do with any medicine. He has calmed down quite a bit, with that anyway.

Very definitely medicine can cause nightmares. When my son was 2 he was on asthma medicine and started having nightmares. The doctor changed his medication and the bad dreams stopped! Definitely tell your doctor!

My son took Zertec when he was 2 and then again when he was 4. Both times he became aggressive, biting other kids and very anxious. You may want to read the label for possible side-effects. He may be feeling the same way my son was while on the meds, but acting out in his sleep vs at daycare? Good Luck!

My son had behavior problems while taking Zyrtec. He was very aggressive and angry. I was put on it for seasonal allergies and it did the same to me. I also had bizarre dreams. We are both off of it now. He takes Clarinex and Singulair.

I think that you should stop giving that medicine to him,it must be something that might be to strong for him.My son took medicine with codein in it before and it made him have weird dreams and the dr. said it was maybe to strong or he was allegeric to something in the medicine.I would ask the dr. about that if I were you. .B. F.

My partner is in the medical field and told me that yes, Zyrtec can cause "weird dreams" or bad dreams. Any medication even allergy medication that has a drowsiness side effect can can this to happen. You can always speak with your pediatrician about switching to a different medication and see what happens.

Hello N.,
Anything that effects the nervous or digestive systems can definitely effect sleep. When I was a teenager I used to love to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before bed. You guessed it! my nights were full of horrible nightmares! peanuts and p-butter are very hard to digest, hence the nightmares! the Zyrtec must be effecting his nervous system some people are more sensitive that others. I can't take contact or Niquil they both give me severe jitters like i am on speed or something! (not that I ever have been on speed , but it's not hard to figure out how it would feel) . when I was a teenager my mom gave me some of her asthma medicine and I got the same thing. it could be that he would do just fine on another allergy med. and watch what he is eating at dinner and after dinner. anything hard to digest can cause terrible nights!

My daughter had a really bad reaction and the doctor told me to give a dose of children's claritan. For about a week my daughter (2 yrs old) had nightmares and when I would go in to comfort her she was on her knees walking toward her bedroom windows i/o toward me. She wouldn't answer when I asked her what was wrong. It was like she was still asleep. Anyway, the doctor said that can be a side effect and should go away when the medication was completely cycled out of her system. And it did. She is fine, now. I think benadryl has less of this type of side effect. I really am going to think twice about giving my kids any other.

I just had my daughter at the doctor on Monday for seasonal allergies and her pediatrician recommended not putting her on any meds such as Zertec, Cingular, etc due to this side effect and others so I think it is quite common.
If it is not unbearable our doctor recommends just saline nasal washes, cool mist humidifier and limited outdoor time etc. Good luck

Zertec is a very side-effect DRUG. This drug has been been researched and proven to cause side effects to the brain.

There are other remedies that are natural and are not DRUGS. Doctors are trained to treat your symptoms--not prevent the problem. There are many natural ways to take care of the problem with 'Prevention medicine". Check out Dr. Joseph Mercola on the web.

I stopped all allergy medications when I installed an air purifier in my home. An air purifier; Not an air filter! Remember that the American College For Allegeries states that "over 50% of ALL your illinesses are caused by indoor air polution". Many people have corrected the problem with the Proper Air Purification Unit. If you want a recommendation, let me know. I am drug free pertaining to my allergies and have witnessed many people accomplish the same.

All the remedies mentioned in these response TO YOU are DRUGS! They all have side effects that can alter the physical and mental make up OF THE PERSON TAKING THEM. FIND A GOOD ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE DOCTOR WHO WILL ONLY PRESCRIBE DRUGS AS A LAST RESORT!!!! Again, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola and contact me for the information on "Certified Space Technology" Air Purification.

J. G

my daughter had the same problem but with rhinostop. the pedi i talked to said that 5 percent of children have this reaction and she changed her to another antihistamine. i took zyrtec late in the day and went to sleep and i had horrid dreams. so i can imagine how traumatic this is for a little one:( ! just let ur pedi know and i am sure he/she can give her something else. i hope ur little one feels better soon.

I find that once I've been taking zyrtec for a few days, I feel like I must take it or I won't be able to fall asleep.
My son was taking claritin, his behavior at school was terrible. Then we switched to Rhinocort, and his behavior was dramatically better. But we can't have him keep taking it- it doesn't completely fix the allergies, and it keeps kids from getting taller.

Yes, I'm glad to hear that this isn't just us. My 4 year old was on Zyrtec for hives and he seemed to wake up saying he had a nightmare quite a bit while he was on it. I never even thought it had to do w/ the meds though. But, now that you mention it, he did that while he was taking that. That's strange!

My son has been on just about every allergy medicine known to man and has never had this issue. He is currently on Zyrtec, Singulair and Nasonex. Claritin and Allegra were a waste - I may as well have given him candy. I would call your allergist and ask some questions. And as for the people who think you shouldn't give you kids any of those medications at this age - my son would have to live in a bubble without them! LOL!! I guess you just need to figure out if the reaction is worse than the effects of the allergies.

Yes it is common for kids to have that problem while taking any kind of new medicine, but if it don't get better then you should go back to your childs doctor and have him to perscribe something different because what good is the medicine if its fixing one thing but breaking something else? Especially sleep. You will be grouchy and so will your child. There are more Allergy medications out there besides Zyrtec. Dimetap cold and allergy, Benedryl, Claritin. My kids have bad allergies to any and everything. What I use is Claritin during the day because it don't make them drowsy and they can function at school, and then I use Benedryl or Dimetap at night, and they sleep good. Every child is different. What works for me may not work for you. Plus your child is younger than mine(7 & 6). I have been doing that for years though. Ask your childs doctor. He/she might have to try different things until they find a good match for your child. Good luck.

Why don't you ask your doctor if you could try Clariton it is over the counter and my 3 year old has been taking it and has had no problems. Or tell him about the side effects and see if he can change it to something else.



My 2 year old is on Zurtec too and he would cry out in his sleep. Sometimes he he would start crying and I would go in there and he would still kinda be asleep but crying. I've noticed that when he first takes it, he has these dreams and he also has explosive diarriah. I have him take it when the weather starts to act wierd and he starts exhibiting signs of his allergies starting to bother him. He usually doesn't need it all the time, just through the usual allergy months. I hope this helps. Good luck :D

Yep. Been there done that WAY TOO MANY TIMES with Zyrtec and my 5yo. daughter. It is really tough to get through those episodes with them. They are horrible night terrors and you are not really suppose to touch them since they can get really scared. Just talk your son through it as much as you can. It may happen at first and then here and there but it should get better. My daughter did.

Does it have codine in it by any chance? My son reacts to codine with hallucinations and out of character behavior. Just a thought

My son had nightmares while onon alavert. He was about 4 and I had taken him to the doctor for allergies and the doctor suggested alavert. That night he slept wild and would cry and kick and scream in his sleep. My husband and I put him in our bed and consoled him when we could tell he was having a bad dream. We never gave him alavert again. None of us slept good that night.

Both of my two children and I suffer from weird dreams and nightmares when we take Zyrtec. We had to stop and change medicine because not only were we having the dreams, but the medicine was not working well for our allergies.

Our doctor did tell us that sometimes a particular allergy medicine will quit working for a while (your body gets used to it), so he has us switch medicines every once in a while. So far, the only one that has caused the weird dreams is the Zyrtec.

I'm sorry that this is happening with your son. I know how upsetting it is.

Good luck with fighting the allergies.

Hi N.,

I have 3 boys (8,7,3) who have been on zyrtec for years. it's the only thing that keeps moutain cedar from weeks of misery at my house. My boys have NEVER had anything but positive results from taking it. Thier dosage is .5 tsp for my 3 year old and 1 tsp for the older two.

Hope that helps ease some of your worry.


I have custody of my grandson. He is 4. He has experienced irratability and sleeplessness when taking allergy med. If fact, he had taken a script from the dr for allergies for a few yrs, then all of a sudden developed a reaction to it. He was out of control, screaming, kicking, etc for about 30 mins. Benadryl even affects him in a bad way. I would definitely think his nightmares were from the Zertec if his behavior is was out of the norm. I would call the dr and ask for something else.

I've read that Singulair has that effect so it wouldn't surprise me if zyrtec did the same. Go to google and type in zyrtec side effects or zyrtec nightmares and see what you find.

HI N.- I just wanted to let you know there are great natural remedies with no side effects at the Herb Bar in south Austin (W. Mary) . They are super helpful people in the shop and they can set you up with something appropriate for your child and if you suffer as well, as many of us do, you can get a tincture or homeopathic remedy already made up. This is the ONLY thing that helped me!!!

Allergy medication can cause many different side effects. 2 of my children can not sleep when they take some of them. It is good to keep track of the ones you have trouble with so that you don't use them again.

My husband had nightmares when he took allegra for allergies and after that night he told his boss about it and he had the same experience. None of the allergy meds bother me and I haven't notice any change in my son. Everyone is different!

My 2 year old is on Zyrtec...and I read the insert before I started giving it to her. It mentioned problems with sleeping...so I give it to her in the morning when she wakes up. We have had no problems with it at all. Hope this helps!

Absolutely! One of my friend's daughter was having nighttime terror attacks while taking Sinuclair. Her pediatrician said that it wasn't a side effect. She switched docs and the othe one said it definitely could ben. The pediatrician may not be aware of all the side effects. Ask the pharmacist for a detailed list of the medication's side effects and consider switching medications. Also, Your pediatrician should be aware that your son is having a reaction to the drug.

2 Time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling had lots to say about Vit C and allergies and before the advent of big Pharma so did other doctors. There is a site called doctoryourself.com, on the left hand side there are many links...read the ones about allergies and also the Vit C links...allergies are signs of a weakened body state. They give dosages for little ones as well. I tried Vit C for the attacks I would get after cutting the grass...it worked! 25 minutes after taking it my symptoms would stop.

Yes! My daughter was put on Zyrtec when she was 5 for seasonal allergies. She started acting very depressed. Even her preschool teacher called me and said it seemed like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. I took her off and she returned to her normal happy self! After that, I did a little research on the internet and found out that LOTS of kids have adverse reactions to Zyrtec. Since then, I took her to an pediatric allergist and he suggested that we use Alavert on an as needed basis. It has a different chemical composition than Zyrtec. It has been working great. Good luck!

this medication can cause nightmares. talk to your pharmacist and report this side effect to your doctor. If your child must have an allergy medication there are others on the market. Plain over the counter benadryl helps most but
your child may need something a little stronger. Often we start with something strong when something less potent will do the trick I would check with your doctor about changing medication. If he must take it, consider changing the time of day you give it to him. be sure he is drinking lots of water with it

Yes, my daughter will even get them if she takes and otc antihistamine for too long. If the dreams cause him to scream out and not be easily awakened they are 'night terrors' and my doctor said the best thing is to just make sure they are in a safe location, even the floor if they thrash around, and to let them go. My doctor said it is horrible to see but the child will not remember them and they really do not interrupt their sleep.

Hi N.,
My son was put on Zyrtec several years ago for his allergies. His personality changed from a happy laid back little boy to a very agressive and unhappy one. We did everything we could think of to figure out why this was happening. Then, my husband read the fine print from the Zyrtec insert. We immediatly took him off the Zyrtec and within a week or so he was back to his usual self.
We moved to a new city and after his nine yr. check-up the new Ped. decided to try the Zrytec again. The same side affect came back. We again took him off the Zyrtec and he is back to being the sweet loving boy. I hope this info. helps you.

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