Cetirizine and Levocetirizine Use in Children

Marcia L. Buck, Pharm.D., FCCP, FPPAG


Pediatr Pharm. 2010;16(6) 

In This Article


The second generation antihistamines, cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine, were introduced in the United States between 1994 and 1996. Since that time, they have become first-line therapy for the management of allergic rhinitis and urticaria in adults and children.[1] Compared to first generation antihistamines, these agents produce significantly less sedation. The commercial success of cetirizine, as well as its subsequent transition to non-prescription or "over-the-counter" (OTC) status, prompted the release of a single-isomer derivative, levocetirizine, on May 25, 2007.[2–5] Both cetirizine and levocetirizine are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children 2 years of age and older. This issue of Pediatric Pharmacotherapy will focus on cetirizine and levocetirizine, reviewing their basic pharmacology and discussing current studies describing their use in children.


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