What Is Hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine is used to treat skin rash symptoms.
Hydroxyzine is typically used to treat severe allergies, but may also be used to help treat anxiety disorders or insomnia.
Article Details
  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Hydroxyzine is a generic prescription drug used to manage a variety of symptoms and conditions. Most commonly, it is given to patients who suffer from dermatitis, severe allergies, and other conditions that cause chronic skin rashes. Hydroxyzine has also proven effective at relieving anxiety and symptoms related to motion sickness. The drug comes in oral syrup, tablet, and injection forms, and the risk of experiencing serious side effects is low. It is important to explain all current medication use and medical history to a doctor before taking hydroxyzine to limit the risks of adverse reactions.

Doctors frequently prescribe hydroxyzine to children and adults who have itchy, red skin rashes from various causes. The drug is primarily an antihistamine, meaning that it works by seeking out and inhibiting inflammation-inducing chemicals produced by the immune system. Hydroxyzine also has sedative properties that can help with symptoms of anxiety disorders, insomnia, and motion sickness. In addition, surgeons often administer intravenous dosages of the medication along with general anesthesia to quickly sedate patients. Patients who take hydroxyzine for skin rashes commonly experience drowsiness as a side effect rather than a therapeutic benefit.

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Other side effects that may occur when taking the medication include dizziness, mild headache, confusion, dry mouth, and blurry vision. Some people experience more severe central nervous system problems, such as tremors and muscle spasms. Seizures and loss of consciousness are rare but possible, and such reactions become more likely with long-term use of the drug. It is also possible to be allergic to the drug, which may may make skin rashes worse and potentially cause breathing problems.

Dosing amounts and frequencies are determined based on a patient's age and specific condition. Most people with skin problems are instructed to take 25 to 50 milligram doses two to three times a day until symptoms resolve. Patients with chronic anxiety usually take similar daily dosages indefinitely so long as the medication is effective. Doctors suggest that patients return for regular checkups when taking hydroxyzine for any cause to determine if dosage amounts need to be adjusted.

It is essential to follow a doctor's orders exactly when taking hydroxyzine. If a person overdoses, the effects on the central nervous system can induce coma or even death. In addition, some prescription and over-the-counter medications might react with hydroxyzine, increasing or altering its effects. By taking the drug as prescribed and asking a doctor before starting a new medication, most patients are able to recover from their symptoms and avoid lasting health problems.

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Discuss this Article

SZapper
Post 2

@indemnifyme - That's rough! It sounds like this drug would be great for someone who had allergies and anxiety though. From what I understand medicines that have a sedative affect wouldn't make someone with anxiety tired. It would just bring them down to a normal level.

indemnifyme
Post 1

It's unfortunate that so many antihistamines have sedative affects. I've been an allergy sufferer for pretty much my whole life, so I've had a lot of experience with allergy medicine.

Unfortunately, medicines like hydroxyzine that cause drowsiness actually work better for me than the non-drowsy antihistamines. But I can't function in my daily life if I'm drowsy all the time! So I have to make a decision, and usually alertness wins every time.

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