Asthma UK community forum
10,154 members16,783 posts


Hi All,

I am in my mid-30's and have had asthma all my life. Last winter I ended up in hospital because of a bad chest infection. This winter I have been determined to stay on top of things. I think I've come to the conclusion that my chronic sinusitis has caused a lot of my asthma symptoms so I have tried to keep more on top of the sinusitis, going to the GP more often. I've been on antibiotics 4 times this winter and the GP is not sure how to treat. The last time I went, he told me to increase my Cetirizine Hydrochloride does from 1 - 10mg tablet a day to 1 - 10mg tablet twice a day. However, he said that the drug is not licensed to be used in this way. I have been taking them as requested (along with everything else I am on) but I want to know if it's safe to continue on like this and whether anyone else has come across this.



6 Replies

Hi Emily, lots of medications are used out of lisense. I am on 20mg of monteleukast - 10mg twice a day. The lisenced dose is 10mg daily. It's not uncommon. Some drugs are also used for conditions that they are not lisenced for, because they are found to be effective. If you're unhappy about it, have a chat to your GP or pharmacist.



Hi Emily, I have a couple of things that are double licensed dose, seretide and cetirizine which I take two (20mg) a day during the summer, just one through the winter. I guess your gp has tried you with Fexofenadine or other antihistamines? Do you you a nasal spray like beconase? You could ask for a referral to ent if your gp doesn't know what to do.


I have a condition called dermographic urticaria and in the past was prescribed up to 40mg of cetirizine a day- like you it was an non-licenced dose but sanctioned for use by specialists. My daily dose was 20mg with the allowance to double it if the itching was really unbeareable. I took it for around 5 years. It wasn't working brilliantly for me though and when I was reviewed by a clinic in London they moved me on to levocetirizine which is a 3rd generation antihistamine related to cetirizine and is much more effective at lower doses- I now only need to take 5mg - 10mg per day.

So, yes, cetirizine is safe to take at 20mg for long periods. I never experienced any side effects that I know of except for being a bit woozy/sedated if I took 40mg!


The only reason cetirizine is unliscenced for higher doses is because it is a 'non-drowsy' antihistamine and at higher than 10mg a day it can make you drowsy. I spoke to a pharmacist who said that 10mg twice a day was a more sensible dose because it doesnt really last for 24hrs!


Hey guys I take 40mg of certerzine daily and don't have any side helps a lot with my allergys :-)


So realieved to find this post. I had analyphaxic reaction Thursday night and a and e registar put me on 40mg cetirizine for 2 days and I was worried as packet says max of 1 a day. I am feeling wur but swelling from allergic reaction gone.


You may also like...