What is hydroxyzine?
Hydroxyzine can be used to treat anxiety. Hydroxyzine can also be used to treat:
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Skin rash
Hydroxyzine, like all antihistamines works by reducing the allergic reactions caused by histamine (a chemical found in your body).
While many antihistamines can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription, hydroxyzine must be prescribed. It may be listed under the names hydroxyzine hydrochloride, hydroxyzine HCL or hydroxyzine pamoate (hydroxyzine pam). You may also see it listed under Vistaril.
What is the working principle of hydroxyzine to treat anxiety?
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine but it also acts as a serotonin antagonist. Taking hydroxyzine for anxiety or Vistaril to treat anxiety is similar to taking SSRIs, which are another type of medication that can be used to treat anxiety. It increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Hydroxyzine, which is a serotonin antagonist (blocks serotonin from being absorbed into your brain’s nerves) increases the level of serotonin. Your mood is affected by serotonin, a neurotransmitter. It can also impact your feelings of happiness, contentment, optimism and satisfaction and your overall well-being.
Hydroxyzine to reduce anxiety
Hydroxyzine can be taken in capsule, tablet, or liquid form for anxiety. This medication can be purchased as hydroxyzine hydrochloride, hydroxyzine HCL or hydroxyzine pamioate (hydroxyzine pam). Although hydroxyzine pamoate can be purchased in generic and branded forms (branded as Vistaril), it is only available as generic. (The Atarax brand of hydroxyzine HCL was discontinued.
Anxiety medication Hydroxyzine Pamoate
- Hydroxyzine pamoate, Vistaril
- 25 mg
- 50 mg
- 25 mg/5ml
Anxiety medication Hydroxyzine HCL
- Hydroxyzine hydrochloride (HCL)
- 10 mg
- 25 mg
- 50 mg
- 10 mg/5ml
The best dose of hydroxyzine to treat anxiety
Doctors and nurses often recommend multiple doses of hydroxyzine throughout the day when prescribing it for anxiety. Adults should take 50 to 100mg (taken four times daily), although some individuals may require higher doses to experience relief. Children under 6 years of age should not consume more than 50mg per day, divided into smaller doses.
Hydroxyzine is available with or without food and can be taken either daily or as needed. Hydroxyzine can cause stomach upsets so you might want to take it with food. You will be given instructions by your doctor or nurse regarding how and when you should take this medication. Also, the maximum daily dosage.
You can take a missed dose of hydroxyzine if you forget to take it. Or, if the dose is closer to your next dose, you can just take the next one.
Which one is better for anxiety? Hydroxyzine HCL or hydroxyzine Pam?
Anxiety can be treated with hydroxyzine hydrochloride or hydroxyzine pamoate. There is a major difference between them: hydroxyzine HCL can be purchased in liquid and tablets, while hydroxyzine Pam is only available in liquid and capsules.
One form of medication may be preferred over another (tablets or capsules), but you might find one that works best for you. You can talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or Minded professional about which medication is best for you.
Hydroxyzine side effects
Side effects common to hydroxyzine include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
Urinary retention is when your bladder doesn’t empty completely.
If you have any side effects, talk to your doctor.
Side effects that are rare or severe side effects of Hydroxyzine include:
Allergy to the medication, even though it is generally taken to reduce allergic reactions. Symptoms could include difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue, and face.
- An abnormal heartbeat and/or increased heart rate
Priapism is an erection that lasts more than four hours.
A skin rash, also known as AGEP or acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (or AGEP)
If you have any of these or other serious side effects, get medical attention immediately.
While taking hydroxyzine, it is not recommended to drink alcohol. The benefits of medications such as hydroxyzine can be decreased by alcohol and their side effects, including sedation. Inadvertently taking a higher dosage of hydroxyzine that is prescribed can cause memory impairment and impaired judgment. This could lead to an accidental overdose.
A hydroxyzine excess can be manifested as:
- Reduced coordination
- It is difficult to urinate
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slow reflexes
If you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, it is important that you discuss your anxiety treatment with your doctor. Hydroxyzine should not be taken in the first trimester. You can take Hydroxyzine during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy, but not right before or during labor.
It is not recommended to breastfeed hydroxyzine as it can pass through breast milk to your baby.
Talk to your doctor or Minded professional about any medications or supplements that you are taking in order to determine if hydroxyzine could have adverse interactions.