Hydroxyzine Usage, Dose, Side Effects, and Interactions

Hydroxyzine is a medication used for anxiety and pain in both children and adults. Safe usage is important. Learn the dose, side effects, and interactions.

Hydroxyzine is typically used to help adults with anxiety. It can also be used to assist with sedation and other issues in adults and children. Some doctors will prescribe this drug to assist with the anxiety or withdrawal symptoms that come when the patient attempts to wean themselves off of alcohol dependency. Due to its use as a sedative, patients will need to use this drug under the direct supervision of a doctor to ensure that dosing is at a safe level to avoid side effects and other issues.

Indications and Usage

This drug may be sold under the name or Vistaril. It can be used for anxiety, pruritus, nausea, pain or sedation. Patients will receive their dose orally or via injection up to 4 times a day, depending on what the drug is being used for and the condition of the patient. Patients may take it without food, but capsule or tablet forms may need to be taken with water. If you are taking this drug in a liquid form you will need to shake it first to ensure the ingredients are properly mixed. If you are to receive an injection, your doctor will administer your dose before your procedure.


Hydroxyzine Dosage

  • The recommended dose for an adult is 50-100 mg per day, which can be administered up to 4 times a day when the drug is being used for pruritus or pain. Patients may receive 25-100 mg for pain. Patients over the age of 6 may be able to use regular adult dosing when the medication is used for anxiety.
  • The minimum effective dose is 25 mg per day, when it is being used for something other than sedation. Maximum doses should not exceed 400 mg per day when the patient is receiving their medication in divided doses. Doses should not exceed 100 mg at any given time.
  • Children under 6 should not use more than 50 mg per day in divided doses for anxiety. Between 0.5 and 1 mg may be used following general anesthesia to assist in the process of sedating the patient. This will usually be around 0.6 mg when given orally. Those using this drug for pruritus may receive 50 mg in divided doses throughout the day. Those over the age of 6 may use standard adult dosing.
  • Pregnant women frequently use this drug to assist with the pain that is associated with childbirth, so it is safe to use while you are with child. However, most women do not use this medication aside from the pain associated with childbirth because it can be transferred to your infant. Many women do not want to take on this risk. In most cases, those using this drug will be given to those in labor in doses between 25-100 mg in an injected dose.
  • Patients with liver disease should take great caution when using this med. Patients may have trouble clearing the drug properly, which could lead to an increase in side effects if they are not careful. It is essential that the patient alters their dosing interval every 24 hours to ensure that there is not an excessive amount of the drug in their system at any given time. These intervals will be adjusted by your doctor based on the patient's level of biliary cirrhosis.


Hydroxyzine Side Effects

Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, dry mouth, diarrhea, and hallucinations. These are not necessarily cause for alarm and may decrease as you continue your prescription. You should alert your doctor if these side effects are accompanied by a decrease in your breathing rate or if they last for more than 3-4 days.

Less common but serious side effects include tightness of the chest, skin rash, breathing complications or itchiness. These could be a sign of a severe reaction to the medication. Get medical attention if any of these side effects begin to occur, especially if they are paired with involuntary movements in your body.

Those with liver or kidney disease or those who suffer from seizures are more prone to side effects than some other groups. If you suffer from one of these conditions and begin to develop confusion, tremors, seizures, or restless muscle movements in the face stop taking hydroxyzine immediately and contact your doctor for help. This is especially important if you lose the ability to feel alert or think properly in a situation.

Though pregnant women use this drug while giving birth, it is not recommended for use during the pregnancy. Diseases such as asthma, epilepsy, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, kidney disease and thyroid disorder have been linked to the use of this drug during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about the potential risk to determine whether or not this drug is right for you.

In the event of an allergic reaction, patients may develop hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue or throat. These side effects may be accompanied by tremors, restless muscle movements in the eyes, face and neck, confusion or seizures. If you develop any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately to determine how to proceed. If at any point you begin to feel like you will lose consciousness or you cannot breathe, call emergency medical services immediately.

In the event of an overdose, you will experience extreme nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting or loss of consciousness. If you suddenly feel weak or fatigued with no explainable cause and these symptoms begin to occur, then you will need to contact medical help as quickly as possible. Call emergency medical services and poison control to get advice on what you should do to alleviate your symptoms and avoid further damage.



Hydroxyzine may severely impact your ability to focus. You should not drink alcohol while using this drug. You should also avoid driving, operating machinery or performing any tasks that would require your full attention until you are aware of how it will affect you.

This drug can also take on different chemical properties if it is not stored properly. You should always store your medication in a dry place that is not excessively warm or cool to avoid the medication breaking down.



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