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Unusual Behavior May Be Linked to Children's Zyrtec Allergy Medicine

My 7yr old son has been taking Children's Zyrtec Allergy medicine for the past 2 weeks. My husband and I have witnessed some major behavior changes in our son. He seems angry and very irritable. He has been inappropriately lashing out at his 2 yr old sister, which has not been a problem in the past. This evening, after a horrible time getting him to bed, my husband and I discussed what could be causing this negative change in his behavior. We think it may be the Zyrtec. Of course, we will take him off of the medicine and see if it makes a difference. I would love to know if anybody else has had this problem. Thanks ahead of time for all your help!!

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A friend of mine had the same issues with her 3 yr old. He was on zyrtec and another med due to ear infections but she took him off of both and the attitude stopped. I would talk to his doc and see if there is an alternative to the meds.

good luck

1 mom found this helpful

My son took Zrytec..normally the liquid but sometimes the white pills too when he was 3-5....mainly in the spring and fall. I didn't notice any abnormal behavior. His allergies have gotten much better... but he now takes Claritan for the occasional flare-ups. Claritan didn't seem too work well when he was younger (he will be 7 next month)but seems fine now. I give that to him instead of Zrytec because now that he is in 1st grade and deosn't get a nap every day I didn't want anything that might make him drowsey. But that is just my experience..all kids are different. I think I would take him off of it and see what happens. Maybe Claritan would work.

1 mom found this helpful

well i dont think my son lashed out on zyrtec he only did that on adderax, but he did get very winny and acted like a crybaby ALL day long

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi S..
Both of my daughters can't take any cold medicine, allergy medicine, etc. It messes with them and makes them very irritable. I use a lot of holistic/homeopathic stuff and lots of vitamin C and it works for us. Hyland's makes a C tablet and a C plus cold tablet that I use with runny noses for any reason, colds, anything of that nature. They dissolve in their mouths and are totally safe for children, all natural. Can get at any health food store, sometimes at Walmart. You may want to evaluate the food your child consumes. Things with dairy can cause allergies, wheat gluten, etc. Perhaps that would help with allergy problems.
Good luck!
W. from Indiana

2 moms found this helpful

I do believe different medications effect people/kids differently. Zyrtec didn't work for my toddler, but Allegra did. Today there are so many alternatives.
Example: while Benadryl will make some kids sleepy, it makes my son crazy hyper. Don't rule out school and other issues too, but what can it hurt to stop the meds and try something different. Ask your pediatrician what alternatives there are.
Good Luck.
J.

1 mom found this helpful

I teach elementary and middle school, and we hear about Zyrtec affecting kids' behavior ALL the time! It can make some of the sweetest kids turn angry and mean-spirited. Usually, within a few days of going off it the kids are back to normal.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has horrible allergies & she has been taking Zyrtec for as long as I can remember. Probably since she was 3 years old. she is now 9. My daughter has horrible behavior problems as well. i never thought it could be linked to the zyrtec. I really need to check into that. If you hear anymore info about this please let me know.

1 mom found this helpful

I never noticed behavioral problems.. since hes adhd.. but he had problems with his eyes he started blinking constantly I thought he was having a tick or something neurological or something.. but it was the zyrtec.. we tried it twice and had the same reaction.. so i dont like zytec.. i would try something else.. good luck

1 mom found this helpful

You betcha it can. Smart Mom. Call your doc and ask for something else, or try Claritin. It doesn't work quite as well, but it doesn't seem to affect kids the same way. Best of luck to you.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Certainly eliminate and see what happens..It's a definite possibility. Then you'll have that answer. If you need alternatives, try Claritin (I found that it doesn't work as well for 3 of 4 members of my family, but it's probably the most benign drug on the planet) or maybe Allegra (Rx only)
if your insurance covers. If it's mostly nasal symptoms, you might try NasalCrom (OTC) regularly through the allergy season and saline spray to keep the mucus membranes from getting too dry (too dry is as bad as too wet!). It's a different type med (not antihistamine) and he wouldn't get a lot of systemic absorption from it. BUT if you are also giving a decongestant (look for pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine on the ingredients) stop that first as they are way more likely to be causing the behavioral changes. Esp pseudoephedrine (Children's Sudafed)-it's a stimulant and can definitely cause agitation/aggression. (I only use it if my kids are totally miserable because they're monsters after a few days of giving it regularly :)

Good Luck
Your friendly neighborhood Pharmacist Mom

1 mom found this helpful

A friend of mine had the same issues with her 3 yr old. He was on zyrtec and another med due to ear infections but she took him off of both and the attitude stopped. I would talk to his doc and see if there is an alternative to the meds.

good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I have the same problem with my daughter who has been on Singulair for a year. I just put a big post up about it. I have heard the side effects are very low with Claritin, but I'm going to take my daughter (who's almost 4) off everything for awhile to see if her behavior changes. You'll be shocked how many message boards are out there about just this issue. I was shocked. My daughter also has been uncharacteristically aggressive and won't sleep either...staying up till midnite sometimes. I brought it up to her pediatrician and he said to ignore the behavior as part of her Terrible-Threes. I don't buy it. I knew there was a dramatic change. The recent info I found on Singulair just confirmed it. Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

One of my boys suffered from something called reactive airway disease when he was little. (Around 7 months until he was 2 or 3 or so.) He wheezed and threw up bottles of milk full of mucus early on. The doctor put him on Albuterol, and when that wasn't enough, steroids. The albuterol wasn't so bad, but he turned into a little monster on the steroids. The steroids were always temporary, so it was always easy to see the difference in his behavior. We always dreaded having to give him the steroids.

Eventually his problem went away and we were grateful that he didn't develop asthma as he got older. Fast forward to when he was 8 years old - he told me he was having trouble breathing, so I drove down to the doctor. They told me he had croup and put him on a nebulizer and gave me an inhaler to take home with us. We had planned a trip to Sleepy Hollow (it was Halloween) and I gave him the inhalent in the morning before we got there. He absolutely acted awful when we arrived before lunch - we were with friends and I was just mortified. I couldn't figure out that day why on earth he was acting so awful. We spent the night in a hotel, and at bedtime I told him it was time for another inhaler treatment - he started to cry and asked me to please not give him that medicine. He said it made him feel terrible. That's when I realized his behavior had to do with the medicine.

All of the sudden I remembered the steroids when he was little, and it all made sense. When our children can tell us that medicine makes them feel bad, it helps us. When they are too little to do that, or they just can't figure it out for themselves, it can be just awful for us.

I wouldn't give my son any more of that inhalent. The croup went away (I was so surprised that an 8 year old could get croup - I thought only little kids got that) and I didn't have to use it anymore. I would recommend that you change medicines until you find one that works on the problem without this nasty side effect your son is suffering from.

I hope knowing this about another child near your son's age might help you with the problem.

All my best,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. My son was on Zyrtec for a short time. It didn't help and yes his emotions were altered a bit. I assume it was the Zyrtec, but not definite. It is amazing how meds can make things worse. They are meant to solve one issue but have a slew of side effects. Then you have to take meds for the side effects and then meds for those meds. It's a vicious cycle. I honestly do not believe medicine is safe at all! Unfortunately, some people have to take it in order to stay alive. My daughter couldn't live without her seizure meds. But one thing I am learning, if I can endure the prob without meds I will. If I can take something natural for the prob I will. But if I have to take a chemical in order to function then I pray it will not permanently damage me, or my children.
My husband saw a cream at Walgreens last night that was all natural and for allergies. It's a children's allergy medicine. You just use it like a lotion around the nose and it's supposed to block the allergens from getting into the nose. I am not sure of the name but it might be worth trying. God Bless~

1 mom found this helpful

It is probably the zyrtec. We had the same experience with our son. I was upset the dr. didnt' warn us of that possible side effect. We also have an adult friend who had the same experience. Yes, take him off the zyrtec!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Many medications for allergies, colds and sinus can lead to irritability in children and adults. Try giving the med at different times, but ask your ped or pharmacist for an alternative.

1 mom found this helpful

well i dont think my son lashed out on zyrtec he only did that on adderax, but he did get very winny and acted like a crybaby ALL day long

1 mom found this helpful

My two children (ages 3 and 5) have been taking Zyrtec, now the generic version, for two years. I have noticed no behavioral changes in either. Could be something that just happend to coinside with the time frame. I would talk to your Dr. and online search for similar cases of behavior changes with Zyrtec. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

If he is taking the purple pill, then it has artificial blue and red dye in it. I know red dye (who is now 16, but we figured this out when he was 2) affects my son's emotions. So we avoid red dye like the plaque. But, of course, it could be the medication also. There is a yahoo group called NoRedDye, so I think there are many kids that react to this artificial ingredient.

Here are some allergy forums http://www.cafemom.com/groups/find.php?keyword=allergies in case you want to connect with other parents of kids with allergies and get some specific advice.

1 mom found this helpful

Our 4 year old daughter takes it occasionally (if we spend a lot of time outside or after a massive cleaning blitz in the house that might kick up dust and pet hair) and we haven't noticed any adverse reactions for her. I know everyone reacts to medication differently - in a way, I hope the Zyrtec is the cause of the changes in your son - at least it'd be an easy fix and you can try another allergy medication. If it's not the Zyrtec, I hope you and your son's doctor will be able to determine what's going on.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.

I feel you are right. These meds. can effect the attitude. Look how we get when we taken them. I myself get very tired and very grouchy.
I hope I helped.

Vicki W.

1 mom found this helpful

My niece had her son on it for a short time, and he had exactly the same behaviors. They couldn't understand why this normally very sweet child all the sudden started acting so terrible. They took him off it, and the problem resolved. I've taken it for years and not had any problems with it- but it can definitely affect some kids this way. If you stop it and the behavior continues, it might be something else, but it sounds like a definite possibility given the circumstances. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I had the same problem with my son. He was bouncing off the walls and running around like crazy. Needless to say, we took him off the medicine. But then we faced the problem of what to do next? He had terrible allergies that actually were putting him into an asthma like condition.

Well, a friend of mine told me about a wholesale company that makes safer products. She said she had heard that it could help out with allergies, ear infections, etc. Well, needless to say, we would do anything to help my boy. So, we switched stores and have had amazing results. I have been a customer for 2 years now and my son is off the breathing treatments and allergy medicine completely. It happened within 2 weeks of switching.

So, my advice would be to first of all get him off that medicine and secondly look into getting non-toxic products in your home. I can refer you to that store if you are interested. Just PM me.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same experience with my daughter. Both she and her sister were taking Zyrtec and her sister was fine but she was terrible. Her pediatrician said that some children are known to react this way and she was put on an "old" formula allergy medicine. The only drawback to that is that the old formula tends to make children very drowsy, which is why they created the "new" formulas. I would talk with the pediatrician and see if they can recommend something for you. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Several years ago I read a bunch of info saying that Zyrtec can have this effect on children. I watched a little boy who took it and I often wondered if that was what was causing some of his bad behavior but mom didn't care to listen so I have no idea.

I do know however it was super hard for me to get off of. I had been taking it for a couple of years and went into withdrawl going off of it. It caused me to feel like I had the worst allergies for about a month before it completely wore off.

If you think this is what is causing a problem in your son I would for sure keep him off of it because I have heard it to be true in other kids.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter took children's Zyrtec last week for fire ant bites. She is only 18 months and had a small dose, and only for 2 days, but I did notice behavioral changes I thought might be associated with taking the Zyrtec. She had a terrible time sleeping and was more "antsy" and agitated than normal so I stopped after the second dose and she seemed to go back to normal. Now, of course, this could totally be a coincidence, but it's probably worth checking out and even asking your doc about. Good luck, my daughter has allergys too and it's tough. I hope you find the right medecine for your little guy.

1 mom found this helpful

My son took Zrytec..normally the liquid but sometimes the white pills too when he was 3-5....mainly in the spring and fall. I didn't notice any abnormal behavior. His allergies have gotten much better... but he now takes Claritan for the occasional flare-ups. Claritan didn't seem too work well when he was younger (he will be 7 next month)but seems fine now. I give that to him instead of Zrytec because now that he is in 1st grade and deosn't get a nap every day I didn't want anything that might make him drowsey. But that is just my experience..all kids are different. I think I would take him off of it and see what happens. Maybe Claritan would work.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a similar thing happen with my then 5 yr old - I never made the connection to Zyrtec though. He's now on allegra and doing much better. I couldn't swear it was Zyrtec but I wouldn't rule it out! Eliminate it and see if it improves. Could also be a sensitivity to a food or food coloring.

Let us know what you find!!

1 mom found this helpful

Talk to your pharmacist. All medications should list known side effects.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh yes, I have been there. Talk to your child's doctor and have him/her call in another medication. Anything with sudafed in it makes my sweet little boy MEAN!! He becomes defiant and sassy. Good job Mom! You figured it out!!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has been taking Zyrtec for over a year and it's made such a difference in her allergies and breathing issues. She takes it before bedtime and we have not seen any kind of mood swings. I suggest you check with your pediatrician...

1 mom found this helpful

My 18 year old son had the same reaction 14 years ago. I remember it like yesterday. He cheeks would turn red as if it sky rocketed his adrenaline. We changed allergy medicines immediately. My 9 year old daughter bypassed the Zyrtec completely...her allergist put her on Extendryl Jr. chewable tabs and singulair chewables. I'm not sure if there has been a study on the Zyrtec, but my vote is yes according to my past experience.

1 mom found this helpful

I was told to give Zyrtec to my 18 month toddler. He was fine for 2 days and tonight, 20 minutes after giving him a dose, he started crying and kicking his legs, throwing back his head a screaming like he is in pain. He falls asleep for 30 minutes and wakes up screaming. My oldest used to do this everytime he would get sick, I am now convinced it is a reaction to Zyrtec. NEVER AGAIN!

My son is 4 and he just started taking Zyrtec he has only been on it for about a week and he has been so emotional. He has always been a very good child he is the only child so he is really quiet and is just a great kid. Since he has been on Zyrtec he has gotten in trouble at school and throwing these really bad fits and just crying alot almost like he is always sad. So yea I am taking him off and going to see if that changes thing b/c it makes me feel bad to see my baby feeling this way.

Just wanted to add that we tried Zyrtec with our daughter and it made her CRAZY!! Very excitable, running in circles and crying fits. It was like nothing I had ever seen in her! I tried it two times and after the second time realized that it was causing the out of control behavior. I will never use it again and you should probably consider another medicine. Good luck!

I don't know anything about Zyrtec specifically, but it's entirely possible that it's the medicine. Meds affect people differently. Luckily there are a lot of allergy meds out there, if you don't want to take him off, you could ask the doctor about another type.

My mom was convinced she was developing Alzheimer's until I found a link with her behavior and the heart meds she was taking. She switched brands and is normal again. I would definitely try it.

Actually our 8 year old just started the same type of behavior after being on Zyrtec for 2 weeks now! I will call his doctor today to see if we can switch meds. I wonder if it just makes them so tired that they get cranky?

My 4 year old grandson has had the same symptoms. Normally a very sweet little kid, his mom says he completely changed--became defiant. They took him off and he is almost back to his sweet self after almost a month. What a horror!! Parents! Don't use this drug for your children!!!

of course, read the side effects pamphlet and talk to the doc, but YES, it could be - especially if his behavioral changes started at the same time. my kids have never had a problem with Zyrtec, nor have I - but years ago, Claritin-D had that effect on me! I was moody, irritable, lashing out at people, had very little patience. I felt like my skin was crawling all the time! Now of course, being an adult female, moodiness wasn't necessarily UNUSUAL for me - just not ALL the time!!! LOL! :D

When my oldest took Claritin for kids (not the stuff with pseudophedrine) several years ago, he became VERY spacy and even went the wrong directions in line at school and ended up not doing well on the placement exam for academically gifted students that year! basically he wasn't placed into the gifted program for 3rd grade due to his allergies! it was crazy!

you do need to keep in mind that it could be something at school or elsewhere that started around the same time and he is taking out his aggression at home. double check with him to make sure he isn't being bullied or anything else. also, boys do start getting more aggressive as they get older - my oldest started having problems in school (yes around the Claritin time) suddenly, and it is still going on 4 years later! extremely smart, but also extremely disorganized so sometimes behavior just changes!

best of luck with this and let us know what happens!

Thank you for having this dialogue regarding Zyrtec and side effects in children. I had been giving it to my daughter (3) every night before bed for 2 weeks and she became very restless throughout the night and exhausted in the morning followed by extreme outbursts of emotion and oversensitivity during the day (she cried over EVERYTHING). When I googled these symptoms the results were "side affects from over dosage" - NOT. I advised my pediatrician that Id only been giving her the recommended dosage of half a teaspoon - he suggested that I increase her dosage to 3/4 teaspoon. Since she had been "out of character" so many nights in a row - and I was in need of a good nights rest - I went with my gut instinct and did the opposite by taking her completely off of Zyrtec.

Just as I thought - my child went back to her normal self... now I just have to figure out a homeopathic way to manage her seasonal allergies before spring rolls around.

My daughter was recently switched from Claritin to Zyrtec due to horrible effects Claritin had on her behavior. She was completely off of any allergy medication for almost two weeks during the switch. Those 2 weeks were absolutely amazing. Then the sneezing and coughing started once spring started and all the darn pollen was everywhere. Her doctor claimed Zyrtec was a great "solution". She would get allergy relief without any behavioral issues. Well, Zyrtec is causing her emotions to be worse than during the Claritin! She's so emotional, crying 24/7, screaming at me, hitting me, telling me no to things, etc. This is not my child! I promise you . Without allergies, she is the kindest, most loving child ever. I think she will just have to deal with aggravating allergies. i can't stand to see her like this.

I just changed my 6 year old boy from Claritin to Zyrtec. He has been on Claritin for a while and it seems to help, but the PA thought that Zyrtec might really help him since he has been feeling bad a lot this winter. Zyrtec seems to work good, but its not worth his changes. He isn't sleeping very well and his teacher said that he has been great for 3 months with no trouble and all of a sudden he was yelling in line, yelling in class, rushing through papers, and well generally just fidgety and hyper like. He is a straight "A" student and he brought home a 50% on a paper this week. His teacher didn't know he had started a new med, but after hearing her talk about his change in behavior I mentioned it to her and told her to let me know how he was doing. The signs have spoken and I'm changing him back to Claritin. I know allergies are hard on them, but putting their bodies through the medicine forced hyperactivity and lack of sleep is worse in my estimation. God bless everyone!

Had the same thing happen to my 12 year old son. He took one dose of the 24 hr. Zyrtec and by the end of the day, he was in tears saying that he hated his life etc...We attributed it to the Zyrtec as that was the only change.

My 5 yr old son just started taking Zyrtec 7 days ago. From the beginning he said it made him feel bad, but I thought that was because he didn't want to take it. And then by the 4th day he was out of control mean, wild, loud and not himself. Today, the 7th day he was banging his head on the wall, screaming, kicking and crying. It wasn't just a bad day, I've never seen him like that. It was scary for both of us. Zyrtec is in the trash. We had been taking allegra, and our dr said zyrtec was better for our area- whatever that means. We've also taken claritan in the past without these kind of side effects.

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