Generic Name: hydroxyzine (hye DROX ee zeen)
Brand Name: Vistaril
What is hydroxyzine?
Hydroxyzine reduces activity in the central nervous system. It also acts as an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of itching, or hives on the skin.
Hydroxyzine is used as a sedative to treat anxiety and tension. It is also used together with other medications given during and after general anesthesia.
Hydroxyzine is also used to treat allergic skin reactions such as hives or contact dermatitis.
Hydroxyzine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about hydroxyzine?
You should not use hydroxyzine if you are pregnant, especially during the first or second trimester.
Hydroxyzine can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking hydroxyzine?
You should not use hydroxyzine if you are allergic to it, or if:
you have long QT syndrome;
you are allergic to cetirizine (Zyrtec) or levocetirizine (Xyzal); or
you are in the first trimester of pregnancy.
You should not use hydroxyzine if you are pregnant, especially during the first or second trimester. Hydroxyzine could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine.
To make sure hydroxyzine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines);
bladder obstruction or other urination problems;
heart disease, slow heartbeats;
personal or family history of long QT syndrome;
an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low levels of potassium in your blood);
if you have recently had a heart attack.
It is not known whether hydroxyzine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.
How should I take hydroxyzine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Hydroxyzine is for short-term use only.
You should not take this medicine for longer than 4 months. Call your doctor if your anxiety symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, uncontrolled muscle movements, or seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking hydroxyzine?
This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.
Hydroxyzine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, hydroxyzine may cause a severe skin reaction. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have sudden skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes white or yellow pustules, blistering, or peeling.
Stop using hydroxyzine and call your doctor at once if you have:
fast or pounding heartbeats;
headache with chest pain;
severe dizziness, fainting; or
a seizure (convulsions).
Side effects such as drowsiness and confusion may be more likely in older adults.
Common side effects may include:
dry mouth; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect hydroxyzine?
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking hydroxyzine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Hydroxyzine can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time, including antibiotics, antidepressants, heart rhythm medicine, antipsychotic medicines, and medicines to treat cancer, malaria, HIV or AIDS. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with hydroxyzine.
Other drugs may interact with hydroxyzine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Vistaril (hydroxyzine)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 146 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: antihistamines
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about hydroxyzine.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.01.
Date modified: July 24, 2017
Last reviewed: March 15, 2017