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When can I start drinking if I’m no longer taking hydroxyzine?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on June 12, 2022.

Official answer


If you have stopped taking hydroxyzine, then you should wait for at least 48 to 60 hours (2 to 2.5 days) before drinking alcohol again. But before you start drinking, be aware of the risk of replacing hydroxyzine with alcohol, especially if you have been taking hydroxyzine to treat anxiety. Alcohol, particularly frequent or large quantities of alcohol, can increase your anxiety. Other medications used to treat anxiety can also interact with alcohol so ask your healthcare provider to determine the effects of drinking alongside your new medication.

Combining alcohol with hydroxyzine can increase the side effects of hydroxyzine and alcohol and lead to symptoms such as drowsiness, coordination or concentration issues, and problems with impulse control. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment.

How long you need to leave before you consume alcohol again is based on the half-life of hydroxyzine and the half-life of cetirizine (one of its metabolites) because they both interact with alcohol. The half-life of hydroxyzine is approximately 12 hours and experts calculate it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be completely cleared from the body. This works out to 48 to 60 hours before hydroxyzine has completely left the body. The half-life of cetirizine is 8.3 hours which works out to 33 to 42 hours before cetirizine has left the body. Because the half-life of hydroxyzine is more, then we calculate that it takes 48 to 60 hours (2 to 2.5 days) before you can drink alcohol after stopping hydroxyzine.

  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) GSK
  • Hydroxyzine (hydroxyzine pamoate) Updated 07/2020. Greenstone LLC
  • Cetirizine Updated 01/2022. Torrent Pharma, Inc.

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