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Drugs reference index «Hydroxyzine hydrochloride»

Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Brand names: Vistaril, Atarax

Why is Hydroxyzine hydrochloride prescribed?

Atarax is an antihistamine used to relieve the symptoms of common anxiety and tension and, in combination with other medications, to treat anxiety that results from physical illness. It also relieves itching from allergic reactions and can be used as a sedative before and after general anesthesia. Antihistamines work by decreasing the effects of histamine, a chemical the body releases that narrows air passages in the lungs and contributes to inflammation. Antihistamines reduce itching and swelling and dry up secretions from the nose, eyes, and throat.

Most important fact about Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Atarax is not intended for long-term use (more than 4 months). Your doctor should re-evaluate the prescription periodically.

How should you take Hydroxyzine hydrochloride?

Take Hydroxyzine hydrochloride exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

  • If you miss a dose...Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
  • Storage instructions...Store tablets and syrup away from heat, light, and moisture. Keep the syrup from freezing.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Atarax.

Drowsiness, the most common side effect of Atarax, is usually temporary and may disappear in a few days or when dosage is reduced. Other side effects include dry mouth, twitches, tremors, and convulsions. The last two usually occur with higher than recommended doses of Atarax.

Why should Hydroxyzine hydrochloride not be prescribed?

Atarax should not be taken in early pregnancy or if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.

Special warnings about Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Atarax increases the effects of drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system. If you are taking narcotics, non-narcotic analgesics, or barbiturates in combination with Atarax, their dosage should be reduced.

This medication can cause drowsiness. Driving or operating dangerous machinery or participating in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness is not recommended until you know how you react to Atarax.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Atarax may increase the effects of alcohol. Avoid alcohol while taking Hydroxyzine hydrochloride.

If Atarax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Atarax with the following:

Barbiturates such as phenobarbital and secobarbitalNarcotics such as acetaminophen, meperidine hydrochloride, and oxycodone hydrochlorideNon-narcotic analgesics such as ibuprofen

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Although the effects of Atarax during pregnancy have not been adequately studied in humans, birth defects have appeared in animal studies with Hydroxyzine hydrochloride. You should not take Atarax in early pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Atarax may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Hydroxyzine hydrochloride is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage for Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

When treatment begins with injections, it can be continued in tablet form.

Your doctor will adjust your dosage based on your response to the drug. Due to an increased risk of drowsiness, older adults usually start at the low end of the dosage range.



The usual dose is 50 to 100 milligrams 4 times per day.

Children under Age 6

The total dose is 50 milligrams daily, divided into several smaller doses.

Children over Age 6

The total dose is 50 to 100 milligrams daily, divided into several smaller doses.



The usual dose is 25 milligrams 3 or 4 times a day.

Children under Age 6

The total dose is 50 milligrams daily, divided into several smaller doses.

Children over Age 6

The total dose is 50 to 100 milligrams daily, divided into several smaller doses.



The usual dose is 50 to 100 milligrams.


The usual dose is 0.6 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight.


Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Atarax, seek medical attention immediately.

The most common symptom of Atarax overdose is excessive calm; your blood pressure may drop, although it is not likely.

  • Atarax Consumer Overview
  • Atarax MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Atarax Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Hydroxyzine Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Hydroxyzine MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Hydroxyzine Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Vistaril Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Vistaril Consumer Overview

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