Hydroxyzine is used in adults and children to relieve itching caused by allergic skin reactions. It is also used alone or with other medications in adults and children to relieve anxiety and tension. Hydroxyzine is also used along with other medications in adults and children as a sedative before and after general anesthesia for surgery. Hydroxyzine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms. It also works by decreasing activity in the brain.
Side Effects Of Hydroxyzine
Hydroxyzine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- constipation (especially in older adults)
- confusion (especially in older adults)
Some side effects of hydroxyzine can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- unintentional trembling or shaking movements
- If you experience any of the following symptoms of a serious skin condition; stop taking hydroxyzine and call your doctor immediately:
- pus-filled, blister-like sores (lesions), areas of swelling and redness on the skin, and fever
Hydroxyzine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking hydroxyzine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to hydroxyzine, cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in hydroxyzine preparations. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take with hydroxyzine. Be sure to mention any of the following: antihistamines; azithromycin (Zithromax, ZMax), certain antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra); medications for anxiety; certain medications for arrhythmias such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone, ), procainamide, quinidine (in Nuedexta), and sotalol (Betapace, Sorine, Sotylize); barbiturates; clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); droperidol (Inapsine); erythromycin (Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, others); gatifloxacin; certain medications for mental illness such as chlorpromazine, clozapine (Clozaril, Fazaclo ODT, Versacloz), iloperidone (Fanapt), quetiapine (Seroquel), and ziprasidone (Geodon); meperidine (Demerol); methadone (Dolophine, Methadose); moxifloxacin (Avelox); medications for pain; ondansetron (Zofran, Zuplenz); pentamidine (Nebupent, Pentam); and medications for seizures, sedatives, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death) or if you plan to be pregnant or are pregnant. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take hydroxyzine.
- tell your doctor if anyone in your family has or has ever had a prolonged QT interval or if you have or have ever had a slow or irregular heartbeat, low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, heart failure, a heart attack, or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while taking hydroxyzine.
- talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking hydroxyzine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take hydroxyzine because it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking this medication. Alcohol can make the side effects of hydroxyzine worse.
Hydroxyzine comes as capsules, tablets, a syrup, and suspension to take by mouth. It usually is taken three or four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take hydroxyzine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.