Adverse Side Effects of Zyrtec? Flonase? Albuterol?

Updated on January 12, 2011
L.P. asks from Uniontown, PA
18 answers

My son recently started on a regimen of Zyrtec and Flonase daily, and Albuterol as needed.

When we started these meds, I posted something on this site about his allergies/meds, and another mom said to be cautious, as Zyrtec caused aggression in her son. Mom, if you're reading this, please respond! I'm wondering exactly what that looked like, or if any of your children experienced any adverse side effects from any of the meds I listed.

My son is typically a very rambunctious, rough-and-tumble little boy. He will rough house with just about anyone who will let him. But in general, he knows that he is not supposed to do this with ladies (he's big and rough and hurts! - LOL), and will usually limit it to my fiance, or my dad, who usually welcome the rough, man play. ugh.

Anyhow, lately, like the last couple weeks, it seems like my son is having a much harder time with impulse control. I wouldn't say he's aggressive, but he seems to be constantly trying to rough house with everyone, or just being rough in general. For instance, if you're sitting on the cough, he'll come barrelling at you 100 mph, and dive right onto you. Or if you're sitting on the floor with him playing a game, he'll come climb on your back and tumble over your head to the floor. Or if you're standing at the sink, he'll run up to you and ram into your back with his head. I know, totally annoying, dangerous, and ANNOYING - I had to say it again.

Yesterday, I know I must have sat him down at least 5 different times and talked to him about not being so rough. And I had him tell me what I meant by being rough, so that I was sure he knew what I meant, which he did (no hitting, kicking, slamming into people, etc.) But it seemed like 2 minutes after we'd talk, he'd be back at it. I honestly feel like all I did yesterday was reprimand him for his roughness. Seriously, ALL DAY LONG. It is totally like he can't control his impulses to be physical. Prior to the meds he was rough, but he would limit it to what he has been told he is allowed to do, at least for the most part. But it seems like now, he can't control it at all, and it's constant.

I hesitate to attribute this to his medication, and I don't want to unnecessarily stop the meds (although I do question whether they are having any positive effect, but that's another issue). But I also don't want to ignore something that seems to be a change in his behavior since he's started this med regimen.

Any thoughts?

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So What Happened?

For those who asked, he had a very strong reaction to both types of dust mites, which is his main allergen at this time of year. He is also allergic to many trees, grasses, weeds, cats, dogs, and peanuts, which is a whole different issue, and unrelated to this post! :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Albuterol definitely makes my girls crazy. Try xopenex - it's more expensive, but doesn't have the side effects.

My oldest daughter used to be on Zyrtec when she was 3 - 5 and we finally switched to Allegra because the Zyrtec seemed to be making her very emotional and volatile. We've had no issues with Allegra.

We use Nasonex instead of Flonase, and I've never noticed any side effects from that, so that's also an option. They do the inhaled steriod Flovent disc every day and that definitely helps prevent asthma attacks. They were on Pulmicort nebulizer until they were old enough to do the Flovent and that helped but the Flovent disc is SO much more convenient than doing a neb every day.

So hard to have the little ones on so many medications but both of my girls have asthma and it's better than seeing them in the hospital, so we do it.

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answers from Boston on

my youngest takes zyrtec for allergies we always give it at night because it makes him sleepy which is the typical side effect but like any med effects everyone differently so its possible it could be making him more active. Flonase and albuterol are both steroids and they can make you jittery so if its got him pumped out and he needs to get the energy out I can see him wanting to rough house with everyone more then normal especially if he likes rough housing. Is he on both zyrtec and flonase because zyrtec wasn't enough to handle the allergies? Flonase makes my youngest shakey so we only use it if he really needs it. What is he allergic to that he needs to take them this time of the year? It would be hard to pin point which medicine it is if he started taking them all at the same time.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Coming from the pharmaceutical industry, my advice is to report this to your pediatrician's office. Even if it's a listed side affect of the medication, it's important to report it as your doctor can assess the severity (with your help) and determine if the best recommendation is to stay on the medication or switch to another medication. At the same time, this can be reported by you through a MedWatch report ( Adverse reactions are collected on all drugs & as these reports are collated, sometimes labels change (what the drug is approved by the FDA to be perscribed for) to include additional known side effects or how common the side affect is when taking the drug.

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answers from Erie on

My son has a funny response to albuterol also...makes him very hyper for about an hour after administering it to him. i remember responding to your original post but I can't reecall how old your son is. I have a 4 year old and for about the past 2 years, he has played aggressively like you said...may be just a combination of the meds and his age. Is he on any other meds? from what i read, there are alot of precausions just with the albuterol and adverse interactions with other meds. I'd probably talk to your ped or allergist and see what they say.

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answers from Boston on

The asthma meds do this to my son (pulmacort, albuterol). I don't know about zyrtec. He throws things all the time when he's on his meds, and he's rougher and cranky.

I wouldn't stop the meds if he needs them to breathe, but you might want to consider talking to his doc about it. We got my son switched to xopenex at least part of the time, and that has _way_ fewer side effects.

Good luck.

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answers from Harrisburg on

I take Flonase with Allegra every day year round and have no problems, although I am an adult. I've not heard of Flonase being a problem. Call your doctor about side effects in children and interacting drugs.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius

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answers from Tulsa on

the albuterol makes me hyper. I have not taken the other 2 but it sounds to me like its the meds dont take him off of them change them.

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answers from Chicago on

I think if the behavior change is really noticeable it is definitely worth looking into a drug reaction or interaction. My son and I both take Flonaise- I have never noticed any side effects with that.

We BOTH tried Zyrtec though- and for both of us, it made us so groggy and sleepy we could barely get up or function, even when we went to bed and took the meds the night before! I don't know anyone else who had this reaction to Zyrtec- but my son and I both did and as soon as we stopped taking it, we were fine and wide awake, lol!

So something in our body chemistry just reacted weirdly with it- it does happen! Take your son back to the doctor and also talk with a pharmacist about possible interactions and side effects. I am sure they can give you alternatives or help you make adjustments! Good luck!

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answers from St. Louis on

My daughter does Zyrtec all summer and had no side effects. I believe Flonase and Albuterol has stimulants in it, so I can see that making a little body edgy. That kind of stuff makes me jumpy.

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answers from Dallas on

My son has night terrors, and when he first started taking Zyrtec, he had night terrors more frequently. We weren't certain that it was the Zyrtec that caused the more frequent night terrors, but that seemed to be the cause. The Zyrtec helped his allergies a ton, though, and after a few weeks his body seemed to adjust to the medication and now he doesn't have night terrors as often. I hope you are able to find a something that helps your son without side effects.

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answers from Allentown on

You have had a lot of good responses and I don't have much to add but to reinforce that albuterol can definitely do this. Me and both my kids react this way to it. My rambunctious son becomes very aggressive even when i am doing a treatment on myself if he gets too close. So I would look at that one first. Next to check would be the nasal spray, which also can cause this, and I would highly doubt the Zyrtec would cause this since the common side affect is sleepy or tired if anything, but you never know how someone will react to meds. But consider his combo it is very likely the albuterol, and possibly the flonase. I hope you figure it out! And as others have said it could just be the cold weather, my kids especially my son has been wild recently.

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answers from Honolulu on

Instead of Zyrtec... try Claritin for kids.
Some people just don't do well with Zyrtec, kids or adults.

He may not need the Flonase.

But the Albuterol.... CAN cause 'hyper' behavior and agitation in people, kids or adults. That IS a side-effect of Albuterol... OR if the dosage is too high....

I has Asthma (and allergies)... and take Albuterol and Claritin. It does not affect me adversely... but it does for my Mom. Each person reacts to it differently.

I would... take your son to an Allergy Specialist.
Not just the Pediatrician.
ALSO... he may just need a readjustment of dosages.... or even just having a different medication.
As I said... not ALL medications, react the same with, with every person.
What works for one person, may not for another. Same for any side-effects.

There are alternatives to Albuterol. Such as Xopenex and many other types of inhalers....
There are alternatives to Zyrtec. ie: Claritin or Allegra
Nose sprays are not always needed.... if he is taking an antihistamine. Which Zyrtec and Claritin and Allegra are.

Your Son... REALLY needs different medications... or adjusting the dosage. THAT is the problem... and it is affecting his behavior.
TELL your Pediatrician... to give your son another medication...

All the best,

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, L.:

Look up information on allergies in children using digestive sprinkles.

Good luck

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answers from Gainesville on

We just had to pull my 6 year old off Claritin and Nasaquort because they were making him batty-melt-downs, very emotional, low impulse control, etc. His behavior has done a 180. We also started taking him to the chiropractor to see if we could get some relief for his allergies and I have to say we've seen some improvements.

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answers from Portland on

Contrary to Rachel's suggestion, Albuterol is not a steroid (though Flonase is). Albuterol has a similar action on the body to adrenalin, and one of the side effects is listed as "excessive motion or activity." It could definitely be causing your son's difficulty containing his muscular energy, and in combination with other drugs, the effect might even be multiplied.

I'd mention this to his ped, and ask if he/she has suggestions, but you might be able to find high-intensity activity for your little guy to help him get that energy out. This is a not-uncommon "cooped up" response in the winter for lots of kids anyway. Can you give him things to climb, throw, jump off of? An exercise ball, a mini-trampoline?

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answers from Columbus on

My son has been on either Zyrtec (for allergies) or Singulair (which also can have behavioral side effects) since he was about 14 months. We've had no side effects with either, luckily.

However, I did talk to the pediatrician and the pediatric allergist about side effects, and they said that the only way to know for sure is to take the child off all medicines and then add them back in one by one, after a period of time off.

We have found Singulair to work better for him than the Zyrtec, for allergies (Singulair is used for both allergies and astma and is a different kind of medicine than Zyrtec).

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answers from Detroit on

In general when not taking any medication, my son tends to be very stubborn and a bit cranky. When he was on zyrtec for his allergies, he became unbearable. It seemed like all we did was fight all day long. We switched him to Claritin, and while it wasn't as effective as the zyrtec, it worked well enough and his mood improved dramatically. My son is not aggressive normally and I did not notice any change in that with the zyrtec. I take zyrtec at night myself but I don't seem to have any issues with it. Either that or I'm so cranky that everybody is too afraid to try to tell me ;)

Here's a link to a post from this past April that discusses side effects people experienced while on Zyrtec:

I would think the aggressiveness has more to do with the albuterol. When my husband has had to take it, he said that it makes his heart race and makes him really jumpy.

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answers from Dallas on

Our 3 year old son cannot take either Zyrtec or Singulair as they cause extreme aggression in him.

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