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Atarax Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using hydroxyzine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
- tremor (uncontrolled shaking);
- confusion; or
- seizure (convulsions).
Less serious side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- blurred vision, 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.
What is hydroxyzine (Vistaril)?
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine with anticholinergic (drying) and sedative properties that is used to treat allergic reactions.
Do I need a prescription for hydroxyzine (Vistaril)?
What else should I know about hydroxyzine (Vistaril)?
- Tablets: 10, 25, 50 and 100 mg.
- Capsules: 25, 50 mg.
- Syrup: 10 mg per teaspoonful (5mL).
- Suspension: 25 mg per teaspoonful (5mL).
- Injection: 25 and 50 mg/ml
- Capsules, tablets, and liquids should be stored at room temperature 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
- Liquid should not be frozen and should be shaken well prior to each use.
- Injectable hydroxyzine should be stored below 30 C (86 F).
- The body releases histamine during several types of allergic reactions and, to a lesser extent, during some viral infections, such as the common cold. When histamine binds to its receptors on cells, it causes the cells to release chemical messengers that lead to sneezing, itching, and increased mucus production. Antihistamines, like histamine, bind to the histamine receptors. When they bind to the receptors, however, they do not stimulate the cells to release chemical messengers. In addition, they prevent histamine from binding and stimulating the cells. Hydroxyzine itself has no histamine-like activity. After ingestion, it is converted to its active form. The active form of hydroxyzine is a drug called cetirizine (Zyrtec). Although, both hydroxyzine and cetirizine act as antihistamines, hydroxyzine causes more sedation than cetirizine.
- The FDA approved hydroxyzine in 1956.
Uses of Atarax
Hydroxyzine is a prescription medication used:
- for sedation to relieve anxiety, agitation, and tension caused by certain psychiatric disorders
- for sedation before and after general anesthesia
- to reduce itching caused by allergic conditions or certain pain medications
- to control nausea and vomiting
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Precautions While Using Atarax
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant. Do not use this medicine during the early part of a pregnancy unless your doctor tells you to.
This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine.
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation.
This medicine may cause a serious skin condition called acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP). Tell your doctor if you have a fever, skin rash, or worsening of skin problems after using this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Hydroxyzine, when administered to the pregnant mouse, rat, and rabbit, induced fetal abnormalities in the rat and mouse at doses substantially above the human therapeutic range. Clinical data in human beings are inadequate to establish safety in early pregnancy. Until such data are available, hydroxyzine is contraindicated in early pregnancy.
Hydroxyzine is contraindicated for patients who have shown a previous hypersensitivity to it.
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.
For the Consumer
Applies to hydroxyzine: oral capsule, oral suspension, oral syrup, oral tablet
Other dosage forms:
- intramuscular solution
Along with its needed effects, hydroxyzine (the active ingredient contained in Atarax) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking hydroxyzine:Incidence not known
- Chest pain or discomfort
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- hives, itching, or skin rash
- irregular or slow heart rate
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- shortness of breath
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking hydroxyzine:Symptoms of overdose
- Decreased awareness or responsiveness
- severe sleepiness
Some side effects of hydroxyzine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:Rare
- Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
- Dry mouth
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
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