Hydroxyzine is the shortened chemical name of the active ingredient in the anti-histamine/anxiolytic with the brand name of Atarax or Vistoril. the IUPAC) name is
Anyway, according to wikipedia (refer to wikipedia.org for source listings):
"Hydroxyzine is both an antihistamine and anxiolytic (see below) and its use as a mild tranquilizer is especially common in dentistry and it retains some popularity in obstetrics, where for many years it was especially preferred for its ability to boost the effectiveness of opioids as well as permit later use of scopolamine or benzodiazepines better than other drugs might.
Hydroxyzine is prescribed when the onset of an organic disease state manifests through anxiety, as general anxiety disorder, or in other more serious cases as psychoneurosis, and is therefore prescribed as a means of regulating normal function. Hydroxyzine has shown to be as effective as the benzodiazepine drug bromazepam in the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder. Hydroxyzine can also be used for the treatment of allergic conditions, such as chronic urticaria, atopic or contact dermatoses, and histamine-mediated pruritus. These have also been confirmed in both recent and past studies to have no adverse effects on the liver, blood, nervous system or urinary tract.
Use of hydroxyzine for premedication as a sedative has no effects on belladonna alkaloids, such as atropine, but may, following general anesthesia, potentiate meperidine and barbiturates, and use in pre-anesthetic adjunctive therapy should be modified depending upon the state of the individual.
In other cases, the usage of hydroxyzine is as a form of non-barbiturate tranquilizer used in the pre-operative sedation and treatment of neurological disorders, such as psychoneurosis and other forms of anxiety or tension states.
For dentistry and obstetrics as well as other surgeries and procedures and acute pain situations like accidents, hydroxyzine is useful as a first line anxiolytic and opioid adjunct because it lacks both antagonism and synergy with benzodiazepines and scopolamine, allowing either of these agents to be used simultaneously or later in the procedure if need be.
Hydroxyzine is not thought to be an effective treatment for anxiety if used for a period of over 4 months, and it is therefore a prerequisite of any medical professional prescribing such drugs, to re-assess the usefulness for the individual patient. Rather than its use as an anxiety-reducing agent, hydroxyzine should be reconsidered if the patient has more intense anxiety or other psychoneurosis; then other compounds specifically designed for such conditions should be considered.
Animal behavioral research
Hydroxyzine reduced escape failures in a learned helplessness paradigm in rats.
Metabolism and pharmacokinetics
Hydroxyzine can be administered orally or via intramuscular injection. When given orally, hydroxyzine is rapidly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract. The effect of hydroxyzine is notable in 30 minutes.
Pharmacokinetically, hydroxyzine is rapidly absorbed and distributed in oral and intramuscular administration, and is metabolised in the liver; the main metabolite (45%) through oxidation of the alcohol moiety to a carboxylic acid, is cetirizine and overall effects are observed within one hour of administration. It has a half-life observed on average of around 7–10 hours in adults, 6–7 hours in children, and 18–21 hours in the elderly, or those with renal insufficiency, with higher concentrations found in the skin than in the plasma. Cetirizine, although less sedating, is non-dialyzable and possesses similar anti-histaminergic properties. "In animals, hydroxyzine and its metabolites are excreted in feces via biliary elimination."
Administration in geriatrics differs from the administration of hydroxyzine in younger patients; according to the FDA, there have not been significant studies made (2004), which include population groups over 65, which provide a distinction between elderly aged patients and other younger groups. Hydroxyzine should be administered carefully in the elderly with consideration given to possible reduced elimination.
Similarly, the use of sedating drugs alongside hydroxyzine can cause over-sedation and confusion if administered in large amounts—any form of treatment alongside sedatives should be done under supervision of the patient.
The administration of hydroxyzine in large amounts by ingestion or intramuscular administration during the onset of pregnancy can cause fetal abnormalities—when administered to pregnant rats, mice and rabbits, hydroxyzine caused abnormalities with doses significantly above that of the human therapeutic range. In humans, a significant dose has not yet been established in studies, and by default, the FDA has introduced contraindication guidelines in regard to hydroxyzine. Similarly the use in those at risk from or showing previous signs of hypersensitivity is also contraindicated. Hydroxyzine is contraindicated for intraveneous (IV) injection, as IV injection of hydroxyzine has shown to cause hemolysis.
Other contraindications include the administration of hydroxyzine alongside depressants and other compounds which affect the central nervous system. and if absolutely necessary, it should only be administered concomitantly in small doses. If administered in small doses with other substances, such as mentioned, then patients should refrain from using dangerous machinery, motor vehicles or any other practice requiring absolute concentration, in accordance with safety law.
Studies have also been conducted which show that long-term prescription of hydroxyzine can lead to tardive dyskinesia after years of use, but effects related to dyskinesia have also anecdotally been reported after periods of 7.5 months, such as continual head rolling, lip licking and other forms of athetoid movement. In certain cases, elderly patients' previous interactions with phenothiazine derivatives or pre-existing neuroleptic treatment may have had some contribution towards dyskinesia at the administration of hydroxyzine due to hypersensitivity caused due to the prolonged treatment, and therefore some contraindication is given to the short-term administration of hydroxyzine to those with previous phenothiazine use.
For a full list of side effects, consult the full technical specification of hydroxyzine.
Several reactions have been noted in manufacturer guidelines — deep sleep, incoordination and dizziness have been reported in children and adults, as well as others such as hypotension, tinnitus, and headaches. Gastro-intestinal effects have also been observed, as well as less serious effects such as dryness of the mouth and constipation caused by antimuscarinic properties of hydroxyzine.
Central nervous system problems such as hallucinations or confusion have been observed in rare cases, attributed mostly to overdosage. Such properties have been attributed to hydroxyzine in several cases, particularly in patients treated for neuropsychological disorders, as well as in cases where overdoses have been observed. While there are reports of the "hallucinogenic" or "hypnotic" properties of hydroxyzine, several clinical data trials have not reported such side effects from the sole consumption of hydroxyzine, but rather, have described its overall calming effect described through the stimulation of areas within the formatio reticularis. The description of hallucinogenic or hypnotic properties have been described as being an additional effect from overall central nervous system suppression by other CNS agents, such as lithium or alcohol.
The effect of hydroxyzine has also been tested on the ability of humans in the registration and storage of memory, and was used in comparison with relatively safe drugs, such as hydroxyzine, to illustrate the effects of benzodiazepines, which are thought to have adverse effects on the capacity of memory storage. Hydroxyzine was found to have no adverse effects on memory in relation to lorazepam, which caused several deficiencies in the capacity of memory storage.
In a comparative study with lorazepam on memory effects, patients who had taken hydroxyzine experienced sedative effects similar to drowsiness, but recalled that they felt capable, attentive and able to continue with a memory test under these conditions. Conversely, those under the effects of lorazepam felt unable to continue due to the fact they felt out of control with its effects; 8 out of 10 patients describing tendencies of problems with balance and control of simple motor functions.
Somnolence with or without vivid dreams or nightmares may occur in users with antihistamine sensitivities in combination with other CNS depressants. Hydroxyzine exhibits anxiolytic and sedative properties in many psychiatric patients. Other studies have suggested that hydroxyzine acts as an acute hypnotic, reducing sleep onset latency and increasing sleep duration — also showing that some drowsiness did occur. This was observed more in female patients, who also had greater hypnotic response.
In contrast to drugs in the benzodiazepine class, (i.e. alprazolam, diazepam) which carry a potential for abuse and dependence, hydroxyzine is very unlikely to cause any dependence due to its relative strength compared to other substances.
Because of potential for more severe side effects, this drug is on the list to avoid in the elderly.
Hydroxyzine's predominant mechanism of action is as a potent H1 receptor inverse agonist (Ki = 2 nM). Unlike most other first-generation antihistamines, it has very low affinity for the mACh receptors (Ki = >10,000 nM) and therefore does not produce any clinically significant anticholinergic effects. In addition to its antihistamine activity, hydroxyzine has also been shown to act as a 5-HT2A (Ki = ~50 nM), D2 (Ki = 378 nM), and α1-adrenergic (Ki = ~300 nM ) receptor antagonist. It may act on the 5-HT2C receptor as well. Hydroxyzine's antiserotonergic effects likely underlie its usefulness as an anxiolytic, as other antihistamines without such properties are not effective in the treatment of anxiety.
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