Hydroxyzine is a generic prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following uses in adults and children:

  • Relieve anxiety symptoms. Hydroxyzine may also be used with other medications to treat anxiety. But it isn’t known how well this drug works for treating anxiety long term.
  • Provide sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety) before surgery or another medical procedure. For this use, hydroxyzine is what’s known as a premedication. This is medication given before surgery to help relieve certain symptoms, such as anxiety.
  • Relieve skin itchiness caused by atopic dermatitis. With atopic dermatitis, you have dry, itchy skin caused by too much inflammation.

Drug details

Hydroxyzine oral tablets are classified as an antihistamine. They’re available in the following strengths: 10 milligrams (mg), 25 mg, and 50 mg.

Note: Hydroxyzine also comes in other forms. For example, hydroxyzine pamoate is available as capsules. This article addresses only hydroxyzine hydrochloride oral tablets. For information on hydroxyzine’s other forms, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Brand-name versions

Hydroxyzine oral tablets aren’t available as a brand-name product.

Note: The other forms of hydroxyzine have brand-name versions. To find out more, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of hydroxyzine oral tablet, see the “Hydroxyzine oral tablet uses” section below.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet is a generic drug. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Atarax is the brand-name medication that hydroxyzine oral tablet is based on. (Atarax is no longer on the market.)

A generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

To learn more about how generics compare with brand-name drugs, see this article.

Hydroxyzine oral tablets can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking hydroxyzine oral tablets. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of hydroxyzine oral tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Side effects in women who take hydroxyzine are the same as those that occur in men.*

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with hydroxyzine oral tablets, you can do so through MedWatch.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “women” and “men” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of hydroxyzine oral tablets can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from hydroxyzine oral tablets. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or view the prescribing information for hydroxyzine oral tablets.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from hydroxyzine oral tablets aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

Children may be more likely to have convulsions as a side effect from taking hydroxyzine.

However, it’s important to note that this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials of hydroxyzine. These reports came after the drug was approved. Since these reports happened outside of clinical trials, it’s not clear if hydroxyzine caused the side effect. Other factors could also cause convulsions in people taking hydroxyzine oral tablets.

In addition, children may be more likely to have other side effects from hydroxyzine, such as:

  • confusion or being unable to concentrate
  • sleepiness
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • weakness

It’s very important that your child takes the exact dose of hydroxyzine prescribed for them. This helps minimize their risk for side effects.

If you have additional questions about hydroxyzine side effects in children, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Sleepiness

Sleepiness is a possible side effect from taking hydroxyzine oral tablets. The side effect was commonly reported by people taking the drug in clinical trials. This isn’t unexpected, based on how the drug works. (For more information, see the “How hydroxyzine oral tablet works” section below.)

When you first start taking hydroxyzine, you should avoid driving a car or operating machinery until you know how the drug will affect you. You should also avoid consuming alcohol and using other medications that can cause sleepiness.

If you’re taking hydroxyzine and have sleepiness that is bothersome to you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest ways to improve your energy levels. They may also suggest that you stop taking hydroxyzine and try other treatments for your condition.

Low blood pressure

Based on how hydroxyzine works, you may have low blood pressure as a side effect of taking this drug. (For more information, see the “How hydroxyzine oral tablet works” section below.)

Low blood pressure wasn’t reported by people taking hydroxyzine in clinical trials. But it has been reported since hydroxyzine was approved by the FDA.

Some people may not have symptoms when they have low blood pressure, but others might. Symptoms can include:

Some of these symptoms are also potential side effects of hydroxyzine. So it may be hard to tell if you have a mild case of low blood pressure.

If your blood pressure becomes dangerously low, you may have symptoms such as:

If you’re having symptoms of low blood pressure while taking hydroxyzine, contact your doctor as soon as you can. They’ll let you know whether you need medical attention. They can also help determine whether hydroxyzine or other factors could be causing this side effect.

Depending on the cause of your low blood pressure, your doctor may recommend ways to treat this side effect. They may also suggest that you stop taking hydroxyzine and try a different medication to treat your condition.

Fatigue

You may experience fatigue (lack of energy) while taking hydroxyzine. This side effect was commonly reported by people who took the medication in clinical trials.

With fatigue, you feel a noticeable lack of energy. This happens despite getting enough sleep and eating the right number of calories for you.

Based on how hydroxyzine oral tablets work, this side effect isn’t unexpected. (For more information, see the “How hydroxyzine oral tablet works” section below.)

Healthcare professionals are used to seeing this side effect from hydroxyzine. So you should talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having fatigue while taking this drug. Even if your fatigue is mild, they may be able to suggest ways to improve your energy levels.

If the fatigue doesn’t go away or is bothering you, your doctor may suggest that you stop taking hydroxyzine and try other treatments for your condition.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking hydroxyzine oral tablets.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to hydroxyzine oral tablets, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

The hydroxyzine oral tablet dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using hydroxyzine oral tablets to treat
  • your age
  • other medical conditions you may have

Depending on the condition you’re using hydroxyzine to treat, your doctor may start you on a low dosage. Then, they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug strengths (10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg)

Hydroxyzine oral tablets are available in the following strengths:

  • 10 (milligrams) mg
  • 25 mg
  • 50 mg

Dosage for anxiety

For treating anxiety, you’ll likely start with a total daily dosage of 50 mg to 100 mg, taken in divided doses. This means you’ll take 12.5-mg to 25-mg doses two to four times per day. The maximum dosage for adults is 100 mg, taken up to four times per day.

Your doctor will help determine the best dosage for you.

Dosage for sedation

For sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety)before surgery or another medical procedure,* the recommended hydroxyzine dosage is 100 mg, taken in divided doses. Your doctor or surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to take hydroxyzine. Or, they’ll give you your dose when you check in for your appointment.

* This practice of giving a medication before a medical procedure to help relieve certain symptoms is called premedication.

Dosage for itching

For treating itching related to atopic dermatitis, the recommend starting dosage is 25 mg. You’ll take this as one dose once each night.

Your doctor may then increase the dosage to 25 mg three or four times per day. This depends on how well the drug works for you.

Children’s dosage

When hydroxyzine is prescribed to a child, the drug’s dosage may be based on their weight in kilograms (kg).

For treating itching related to atopic dermatitis:

  • Children under the age of 6 years can take up to 50 mg daily, divided into two or more doses.
  • Children ages 6 years and older can take between 50 mg to 100 mg daily, divided into two or more doses.

For sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety) before surgery or another medical procedure,* the recommended daily hydroxyzine dosage for children is 0.6 mg per kg of body weight. So a child weighing 30 kg (about 66 pounds) would have a daily dosage of 18 mg.

For treating anxiety in children ages 6 years and older, the total daily dosage is between 50 mg and 100 mg. This would be divided into two or more doses and taken over the course of a day. For children under 6 years of age, the recommended daily dosage is 50 mg divided into two or more doses.

* This practice of giving a medication before a medical procedure to help relieve certain symptoms is called premedication.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of hydroxyzine, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s close to the time you usually take your dose, skip the missed dose and take your dose as scheduled. You shouldn’t take an extra dose to try to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk for side effects.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Hydroxyzine oral tablets aren’t meant to be used as a long-term treatment. It’s recommended that you only use the drug for the shortest time possible to treat your condition.

However, hydroxyzine oral tablets may be used off-label* long term, if you and your doctor determine that the drug is safe and effective for you. Talk with your doctor for more information on how long it’s safe for you to take hydroxyzine.

* Off-label drug use means that a drug that’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for one purpose is used for a different purpose that hasn’t been approved.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about hydroxyzine oral tablets.

Is hydroxyzine used for sleep problems? If so, what’s the dosage?

Hydroxyzine isn’t approved for treating sleep problems, such as insomnia. But it may be used off-label for this purpose. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you have questions about using hydroxyzine for a condition it isn’t approved to treat, talk with your doctor.

How does hydroxyzine make you feel? Does it make you feel ‘high’?

No, hydroxyzine won’t cause you to feel “high.”

Hydroxyzine can cause side effects, such as drowsiness, fatigue (lack of energy), being unable to concentrate, or feeling confused. These side effects can affect the way you feel.

If you have concerns about how you feel while taking hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor. They can help find the root cause of your side effects, whether that’s hydroxyzine or something else. And if needed, they’ll work to find a treatment for your condition that’s safe and effective for you.

Does hydroxyzine cause weight gain?

No, hydroxyzine isn’t known to cause weight gain. This side effect wasn’t reported by people taking the drug in clinical studies.

If you’re concerned about changes in your weight while taking hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.

Is hydroxyzine a controlled substance, such as a benzodiazepine? And is it addictive?

No, hydroxyzine isn’t a controlled substance. And it’s not known to cause addiction.

Controlled substances are drugs regulated by the government to prevent possible misuse. You can learn more about controlled substances at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) website.

If you have concerns about addiction and any of the medications you may be taking, including hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can you take ibuprofen or Tylenol with hydroxyzine oral tablets?

Yes, it’s safe for you to take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) with hydroxyzine oral tablets. These drugs aren’t known to interact with hydroxyzine.

However, you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. This includes over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Your doctor or pharmacist can check to see if any of your medications interact with each other, including hydroxyzine. And they can help determine the safest medications to treat your condition if they do come across any interactions.

What’s the dosage of hydroxyzine for panic attacks?

Hydroxyzine isn’t approved for treating panic attacks. But it may be prescribed off-label for this use. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

If you have questions about using hydroxyzine for an off-label condition, such as panic attacks, talk with your doctor. They can provide you with more information.

You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking hydroxyzine. This is because alcohol can make hydroxyzine’s effects stronger, including its potential to cause side effects.

In particular, drinking alcohol while taking hydroxyzine could increase your risk for:

If you have questions about how to stop drinking while you’re taking hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor.

Hydroxyzine oral tablets can interact with several other medications. They can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with hydroxyzine. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with hydroxyzine.

Before taking hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drugs that you should not take with hydroxyzine include:

  • Medications that affect a part of your heart rhythm called the QT interval. Hydroxyzine also affects your QT interval. Taking these drugs with hydroxyzine can cause dangerous changes to your heart rhythm:
    • certain medications for mental health conditions, such as haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Taking an MAOI together with hydroxyzine can increase your risk for serious side effects, such as breathing problems or low blood pressure. An example of an MAOI is selegiline (Emsam).

Other medications that can interact with hydroxyzine include:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Hydroxyzine can cause CNS depression, a term used to refer to the body’s nervous system slowing down. Taking other CNS depressants with hydroxyzine can increase your risk for serious side effects, like trouble breathing. Examples of CNS depressants include:
    • certain sleep medications, such as zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin). Taking hydroxyzine with phenytoin can cause phenytoin to not work as well.
  • Drugs metabolized by CYP2D6. Your body uses certain enzymes (proteins) to metabolize (break down) medications. CYP2D6 is one of these enzymes. Hydroxyzine can stop CYP2D6 from working. This can cause levels of medications metabolized by CYP2D6 to increase in your body, which can increase your risk for side effects. Examples of drugs broken down by CYP2D6 include fluoxetine (Prozac) and codeine.
  • Blood pressure medications. Taking blood pressure medications with hydroxyzine can increase the sedative effect (feeling drowsy and less alert) of hydroxyzine. Examples of blood pressure medications include:
    • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as losartan (Cozaar)

If you have questions about interactions between hydroxyzine and other medications, talk with your pharmacist or doctor.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with hydroxyzine oral tablets. But you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking hydroxyzine.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with hydroxyzine. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with this medication, talk with your doctor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as hydroxyzine oral tablets to treat certain conditions. Hydroxyzine oral tablets may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet for anxiety

Hydroxyzine is approved for helping treat anxiety in adults.

Almost everyone experiences anxiety. It’s our natural response to stress.

But people who have feelings of anxiety that are extreme or that last for longer than 6 months may have an anxiety disorder. People with this condition frequently experience anxiety, sometimes for most or all of the day. Anxiety disorders can be so severe that they interfere with a person’s daily life.

There are different types of anxiety disorder, and symptoms vary based on type. General symptoms include:

It isn’t known what causes anxiety. It’s also unclear how hydroxyzine works to treat this condition. It’s thought that the medication alters levels of certain chemicals in the brain that affect mood and well-being.

Effectiveness for anxiety

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) recommends hydroxyzine as a treatment option for people with anxiety.

It’s important to note that using hydroxyzine to treat anxiety for longer than 4 months hasn’t been studied.

If you’re receiving treatment for anxiety, your doctor will continually review your medications. This will help make sure you’re getting the best treatment for you.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet for sedation

Hydroxyzine is approved to be used for sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety) before surgery or another medical procedure. This is referred to as premedication. When used as premedication, drugs with sedative effects, such as hydroxyzine, can help you relax.

Effectiveness for sedation

Hydroxyzine is only FDA-approved for sedation before surgery. Because reactions to anesthetics can vary between individuals, the effectiveness of hydroxyzine may differ between individuals as well. Talk with your doctor before surgery if you want to better understand the effectiveness of hydroxyzine for this use.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet for itching

Hydroxyzine is also approved to provide relief from itchiness. Itchy skin can result from a wide variety of causes, such as allergies. Itching sometimes occurs on its own, and other times it can be a symptom of another condition.

Effectiveness for itching

The Association of American Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends antihistamines such as hydroxyzine as a treatment option for itching in adults.

Hydroxyzine oral tablet and children

Hydroxyzine is approved for treating the same conditions in children that it’s used to treat in adults. See the previous sections for specifics.

Hydroxyzine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to:

  • provide relief from anxiety symptoms
  • provide sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety) before surgery or another medical procedure*
  • relieve itchiness on skin caused by atopic dermatitis

* This practice of giving a medication before a medical procedure to help relieve certain symptoms is called premedication.

Hydroxyzine works by binding to histamine receptors (attachment sites) in your brain. Histamine is a protein that plays many different roles in your body. For example, it helps your immune system fight off infections. But if histamine is released when it’s not needed or in large amounts, it can cause problems, such as itching. By blocking histamine, hydroxyzine can help relieve itching.

It’s thought that hydroxyzine binding to histamine receptors in the brain is how the drug provides sedation and relieves anxiety. This is because brain histamine helps you feel awake. When hydroxyzine binds to histamine receptors in the brain, it can stop histamine from causing this effect.

How long does it take to work?

Hydroxyzine begins working as soon as you take your first dose. Its sedative effects begin about 30 to 45 minutes after you take a dose.

How long do hydroxyzine’s effects last?

Hydroxyzine’s effects typically last only for a few hours.

How long does it stay in your system? What’s its half-life?

Hydroxyzine has a half-life of about 12 hours. It takes about five half-lives before a dose is removed from the body. So it can take about 60 hours for the body to completely rid itself of a hydroxyzine dose.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alternatives for anxiety

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat anxiety include:

Alternatives for sedation

Examples of other drugs that may be used for sedation (a relaxed state, for relief of tension and anxiety) before surgery include:

  • diazepam (Valium)
  • dexmedetomidine (Precedex)
  • midazolam
  • propofol (Diprivan)

Alternatives for itching

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat itching caused by atopic dermatitis include:

  • antihistamines, such as:
    • loratadine (Claritin)
  • corticosteroids, such as:
    • hydrocortisone
  • topical tacrolimus (Protopic)
  • topical menthol
  • topical capsaicin

You shouldn’t take hydroxyzine while pregnant. Animal studies have shown the drug can cause fetal harm.

When given to people late in pregnancy or during labor, hydroxyzine has caused side effects in newborns. These include low oxygen levels, drowsiness, and slowed reactions.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about safer options to treat your condition.

Hydroxyzine isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking this drug.

For more information about taking hydroxyzine oral tablets during pregnancy, see the “Hydroxyzine and pregnancy” section above.

You shouldn’t breastfeed while taking hydroxyzine. The drug has caused serious side effects in infants who consumed breast milk from a person taking hydroxyzine.

If you’re taking hydroxyzine, talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your child. If you plan on breastfeeding, you’ll likely need to take a different medication to treat your condition. Your doctor can help discuss the options available to you.

As with all medications, the cost of hydroxyzine oral tablets can vary. To find current prices for hydroxyzine hydrochloride oral tablets in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of hydroxyzine oral tablets. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor or your insurance company.

Before approving coverage for hydroxyzine oral tablets, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for hydroxyzine oral tablets, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

Financial assistance to help you pay for hydroxyzine may be available.

Medicine Assistance Tool and NeedyMeds are two websites offering resources that may help lower the price you pay for hydroxyzine. They also offer tools to help you find low cost healthcare, as well as educational resources. To learn more, visit these websites.

Mail-order pharmacies

Hydroxyzine oral tablets may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of hydroxyzine oral tablets, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor and your insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

You should take hydroxyzine according to the instructions your doctor or another healthcare professional gives you.

Hydroxyzine oral tablets should be taken by mouth.

When to take

When you take hydroxyzine depends on the condition you’re using it to treat and the instructions your doctor gives you when prescribing the drug.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking hydroxyzine oral tablet with food

Hydroxyzine oral tablets may be taken with or without food.

Can hydroxyzine oral tablet be crushed, split, or chewed?

You shouldn’t crush, split, or chew hydroxyzine tablets.

Instead, talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have problems swallowing hydroxyzine tablets. The drug comes in other dosage forms, like a liquid solution, that may be easier for you to take.

Before taking hydroxyzine oral tablets, talk with your doctor about your health history. Hydroxyzine oral tablets may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

Age. Older people should avoid taking hydroxyzine if possible. This is because they have a higher risk for side effects from this drug. If you’re an older adult who needs to use hydroxyzine, you’ll likely take a lower dosage than usual. Also, your doctor should monitor you closely. Confusion, constipation, and dry mouth are a few of the side effects that older people have an increased risk for from hydroxyzine.

Convulsions or seizures. Since the drug was approved, some people have reported convulsions after taking hydroxyzine. It isn’t known for sure if the drug causes this side effect, as it wasn’t reported in clinical trials. Talk with your doctor before taking hydroxyzine if you have convulsions or seizures or are at a higher risk for these conditions.

Dementia. Hydroxyzine can cause side effects such as confusion and problems paying attention. People with dementia may be at higher risk for these side effects when taking the drug. If you have dementia, your doctor can help determine whether hydroxyzine is safe for you to use.

Heart problems. Hydroxyzine can affect part of your heart rhythm called the QT interval. People who already have heart problems, including people already taking medication for their heart rhythm, are at higher risk for this side effect if they use hydroxyzine. Make sure your doctor is aware of any heart problems you have before you take hydroxyzine. They can determine the safest treatment option for your condition.

Kidney or liver problems. People with kidney or liver problems should take a lower dosage of hydroxyzine. This is because the body uses the kidneys and liver to metabolize (break down) hydroxyzine. People who have kidney or liver problems may not break down this medication as well in their bodies. As a result, their risk for side effects can increase. If you have kidney or liver problems, your doctor can help determine whether hydroxyzine is safe for you to use.

Low blood pressure. Hydroxyzine can cause low blood pressure as a side effect. If you already have this condition, you may be at higher risk for this side effect. Talk with your doctor about all medical conditions you may have, including low blood pressure, before you begin treatment with hydroxyzine.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to hydroxyzine or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take hydroxyzine oral tablets. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Pregnancy. It’s not safe to take hydroxyzine while pregnant. For more information, see the “Hydroxyzine oral tablet and pregnancy” section above.

Breastfeeding. You shouldn’t breastfeed while taking hydroxyzine. For more information, see the “Hydroxyzine oral tablet and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of hydroxyzine, see the “Hydroxyzine side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of hydroxyzine oral tablets can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more hydroxyzine than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Mild symptoms of an overdose of hydroxyzine can include:

At high enough doses, hydroxyzine can cause serious overdose symptoms, such as:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Hydroxyzine isn’t known to cause drug dependence or withdrawal.

Some other medications used to treat anxiety, such as alprazolam (Xanax), can cause withdrawal. Hydroxyzine may be an option for people with anxiety who are worried about withdrawal that other medications might cause.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns about withdrawal from a medication.

When you get hydroxyzine oral tablets from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, ask your pharmacist if you can still use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Hydroxyzine oral tablets should be stored at a room temperature of 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C) in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take hydroxyzine oral tablets and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.