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Can hydroxyzine be taken long-term?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on May 11, 2022.

Official answer


Hydroxyzine is intended for short-term use only (less than 4 months) when used to treat anxiety. Using hydroxyzine long-term would be considered an off-label use for the drug because there are no studies looking at the long-term effects of hydroxyzine. Some research suggests a link between long-term use of medications with anticholinergic properties, such as hydroxyzine, and dementia, particularly in older adults. Brain fog has also been reported with long-term use.

Other conditions that hydroxyzine may be prescribed for, such as itchy skin due to an allergy, hives, dermatitis, or eczema, or as a sedative before surgery or other procedures, are generally short-lived and there is no need to prescribe hydroxyzine long-term.

  • Cai X, Campbell N, Khan B, Callahan C, Boustani M. Long-term anticholinergic use and the aging brain. Alzheimer's Dement. 2013;9(4):377-385. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.02.005
  • Hydroxyzine Updated 07/2020. Greenstone LLC.

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