Can You Crush Zyrtec?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Zrytec (cetirizine) can be crushed.

Mar 09, 2018

Lani asked

I am wondering you can you crush Zyrtec (cetirizine)?


Most formulations of Zyrtec (cetirizine) can be crushed. This is commonly needed for those who have trouble swallowing, use a feeding tube or have an impaired gag reflex. 

Exceptions to this are the liquid-gel version of Zyrtec and Zyrtec D. Neither of these product forms should be crushed. Crushing liquid-gel formulations of any drug is messy and will result in loss of drug product. Zyrtec-D is an extended release combination of Zyrtec and Sudafed (pseudoephedrine). Crushing this results in the complete dose being released at once, ruining the extended release properties of the drug.

If you do not want to crush Zyrtec, alternative forms of Zyrtec are available. These may be a better option for some since crushing Zyrtec will result in a powder that is not sweetened and may be unpalatable for many individuals. Alternative forms of Zyrtec that are easy to swallow and include:

  • Children's Zyrtec Allergy Syrup
  • Zyrtec Dissolve Tabs

Each tablet of Zyrtec Dissolve Tabs contain 10 mg of cetirizine, the same amount that is contained in regular Zyrtec tablets. 

Although the Zyrtec liquid may be marketed to children, it contains the same ingredient (cetirizine) as the original Zyrtec and can easily be measured to an adult dose (10 mg).

General Information Regarding Crushing Medication

Most, but not all medication that come in tablet form can be crushed. Below are some examples of medication should not be crushed:

  • Drugs with a modified or extended release mechanism. Crushing these medications will result in the entire dose of a drug to be released all at once when it is intended to be released over an extended period of time.
  • Drugs with a known unpalatable taste. An example of this is cefuroxime, which have a distinct metallic taste.
  • Drugs that are known throat/stomach irritants. Many times, tablets of formed to have a "protective" coating.

As discussed above, Zyrtec is safe to crush and there are alternative dosage forms (i.e. liquid, dissolving tabs) available as well if needed.

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