The last thing you want to do for your allergies

Like lots of people, John took the OTC allergy med Zyrtec for a long time.

He started using it to treat hives, and it worked so well he continued for years. But it was when he tried to stop taking it that his real troubles began.

He soon started having intolerable itching he described as coming “from the inside” that “never stops,” like “hundreds of mosquitos biting you at the same time.”


Leanne only took Zyrtec for six months for her allergies. At the end of allergy season, she tried to discontinue the drug, but four days later was itching so severely she thought about going to the ER for help.

What John and Leanne and untold numbers of other allergy sufferers discovered, much to their shock, is that once you start taking Zyrtec, getting off of it may be one of the most difficult and unbearable things you’ll ever try to do.

Putting two and two together

At first, many users who wanted to stop taking Zyrtec thought that their severe itching, often accompanied by a rash, was due to their allergies. It seemed to make sense, since just popping another Zyrtec tablet gave immediate relief.

One user reported that after taking the drug for many years, on her first attempt to go cold turkey, the itching was “so horrible” that she was heading off to the ER. Before leaving home, however, she took a Zyrtec and by the time she got dressed and in her car all of the symptoms were gone.

But to make sure that when you think allergies, you think Zyrtec, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, which makes the OTC med, has just launched some new high- tech apps that work on your smart phone or even that Amazon “Alexa” device.

By saying Alexa, start Zyrtec you can get weather, pollen counts and even a daily report on the allergens in your area. But, seriously, starting Zyrtec is probably the last thing you want to do!

By now, however, enough Zyrtec users have put two and two together to realize that taking this med may be a lifetime proposition.

Hundreds have put down comments at the People’s Pharmacy website telling about their horrible experiences — and of the fact that very often their doctors seem to be clueless. Some users report that physicians will just shrug it off and say “well, keep taking it, then.”

Not surprisingly, the FDA seems to have no interest in doing anything. Having contacted the agency years ago in regard to the matter, People’s Pharmacy co-founder Joe Graedon said that agency officials apparently hope these problems will simply “sink without a trace.”

If you’ve never taken Zyrtec, you may save yourself a lot of acute distress by never starting (see below for some natural allergy remedies). And if you’re currently taking it and want to stop, others who have been successful say that the best way to do that is to ever so slowly lower you dose and never go cold turkey!

Instead, for some proven natural solutions to seasonal allergies you might try:

  • Butterbur, which is probably one of the most researched supplements used for this purpose. One study out of Switzerland found it to be as effective as an antihistamine when used for hay fever.
  • Grape seed extract combined with quercetin, which has been found to control histamine release (and other chemicals) that trigger allergic responses.
  • Neti pots and salt water nasal sprays, which are well established methods of opening up sinuses and helping to “clean” nasal passages.

And those are especially important to keep in mind, now that allergy season is heading into full swing along with a blitz of television commercials for Zyrtec — like the one depicting the carpool member who sneezes whipped cream all over the windshield.

That commercial closes by saying “stick with Zyrtec” — which may very well be what you’ll end up doing once you’ve started taking this unshakable med.

“Withdrawal from antihistamine results in itching” Joe Graedon and Dr. Teresa Graedon, February 11, 2017, Tri-State Neighbor,