I just started taking Atarax for chronic urticaria and have had some side effects I don't see listed. I've been taking 50mg at night for two nights of the generic hydroxyzine HLC. I've awakened several times (about every half hour) from hallucination-type dreams and a strange feeling that I don't know how to describe. I have this same reaction to all anti-histamines recently after successfully taking them for my condition for many years. Searching for side-effects such as this has not turned up anything to explain what is happening and all I can describe is it feeling like something is going wrong in my brain or central nervous system. I would sure appreciate any suggestions as my condition is too bad not to use an anti-histamine and prednisone is causing long-term problems.
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 addition, many have reported abnormal weight gain and intense carbohydrate cravings after long term use of Hydroxyzine.
Some users may report erectile dysfunction, shortness of breath or wheezing, a result of a mild allergic reaction to the medication itself.
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.
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