Children's Hospital Colorado

Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Dose Table

Disclaimer: The below information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational and reference purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Please call your primary care provider or our ParentSmartTM Healthline with any questions. Pediatric nurses are available 24/7 at 720-777-0123.

Child's AGE (years) 2-5 6-11 12+ years
Liquid 5 mg/ 5 mL 2.5 5 10 mL
Liquid 5 mg/ 1 teaspoon (tsp) ½ 1 2 tsp
Chewable 5 mg tablets -- 1 2 tablets
Tablets 10 mg -- -- 1 tablet

When to Use. Treatment of nasal or eye allergies, hives, itching and other allergic symptoms.

Table Notes:

  • Age Limits. For allergies, don't use under 2 years of age. Reason: not FDA approved. For age 2 - 6 years, talk with your child's doctor before using. For colds, not advised at any age. Reason: no proven benefits.
  • Dose. Find the child's age in the top row of the dose table. Look below the correct age for the dose based on the product you have.
  • Measure the Dose. Syringes and droppers are better to use than teaspoons. If possible, use the syringe or dropper that comes with the medicine. If not, you can get a med syringe at a drug store. If you use a teaspoon, it should be a measuring spoon. Reason: regular spoons are not reliable. Keep in mind 1 level teaspoon equals 5 mL and that ½ teaspoon equals 2.5 mL.
  • How Often. Give once a day in the morning.
  • Adult Dose. 10 mg
  • Brand Names. Zyrtec, generic cetirizine
  • Plus Side. Causes less sedation than older allergy medicines, like Benadryl and chlorpheniramine. It is long-acting and lasts up to 24 hours.
  • Downside. Doesn't control allergy symptoms as well as older allergy medicines. Use cetirizine mainly if drowsiness from Benadryl interferes with function.
  • Cost. Use a store brand of cetirizine. Reason: Costs less than brand name, Zyrtec.
  • Use in Countries Outside the U.S. Dose tables are based on U.S. products. Concentrations may vary in countries outside the U.S. Always check the concentration is the same before using this dose table.