Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, which means that it blocks the effects of histamine. Histamine is a naturally-occurring chemical that is produced in large amounts during an allergic reaction. This is what triggers a patient's symptoms. Individuals will be given different doses depending on their medical history, age, and the reason they are taking it. Children might have their dose adjusted based on their weight. The medicine should not be taken more often than prescribed.
Most patients will consider hydroxyzine as one of their meds for an allergic reaction. It is quite a common oral allergy medication, though it is also a prescription antihistamine. Patients may have tried strong over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve their allergies. It is also used as a medication for anxiety on a short-term basis. Some doctors prescribe it as a sedative for surgery as well. However, patients need to understand this medication and how it works before taking it.
How It Works
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, which is a class of medications that block the effects of histamine in the body. High levels of histamine are what lead to allergy symptoms. Typical symptoms include itching, redness, and watery eyes. In addition to interacting with histamine, this medication also decreases brain activity, which is why it is sometimes prescribed as a sedative. Hydroxyzine is taken orally and may come in liquid, tablet, or capsule form.
Patients are usually prescribed this medication anywhere from three to four times daily. The frequency will depend on the severity of the allergies and how well patients are responding to treatment. Patients need to follow the instructions their doctor and pharmacist gives them. A new prescription will come with directions on the label. There may also be an accompanying medication guide. If patients take hydroxyzine in suspension format, they must shake the liquid so that the medicine disperses evenly.
Get the details on the uses of this medication next.
Uses And Benefits
Hydroxyzine is prescribed to both adults and children who are suffering from severe itching due to an allergic reaction. It may be prescribed on a short-term basis for adults and children dealing with a significant amount of tension and anxiety. It is also one of several medications that may be used to sedate a patient before they receive general anesthesia for surgery. Hydroxyzine may be used as a sedative when they wake up from the anesthesia as well. The most common use is for rashes and skin conditions caused by histamines, such as contact dermatitis and hives.
This medication will not stop a patient's immune system from reacting to the allergen. Because of this, treatment must also involve finding the cause of the problem and addressing it. Allergy tests can be performed to reveal how a person reacts to certain common allergens. Suppose an allergen cannot be reduced or removed. In that case, the doctor needs to determine if hydroxyzine is the best medication for ongoing treatment.
Continue reading to reveal the potential side effects of this medication next.
Potential Side Effects
Hydroxyzine has a variety of potential side effects. If patients experience an allergic reaction to this medication, they need emergency medical attention. Patients will rarely have a serious skin reaction to this medication. However, if this occurs, they should stop taking it and talk to their doctor immediately. Other potentially serious side effects include seizures, dizziness, fainting, headaches, chest pain, and fast or irregular heartbeats. All of these side effects mean that patients should stop taking this medication and call their doctor.
Common side effects like confusion and drowsiness are more likely in older individuals. Other common side effects are headaches without chest pain, dry mouth, or a mild skin rash. If patients become dehydrated, they may need to drink more water. They might experience itching throughout their body as well. Severe fatigue and vomiting may be signs of an accidental overdose, which requires emergency medical help. Most non-serious side effects go away after a few doses of hydroxyzine. This is when the patient's body has adjusted to the new medication.
Discover the precautions linked to this medication next.
Precautions To Remember
Before taking hydroxyzine, patients need to tell their doctor about any allergies they have, particularly if any of them are connected to antihistamines. It is essential for patients to inform their doctor if they have a history of breathing issues like asthma, high eye pressure, kidney issues, liver issues, stomach issues, high blood pressure, or an overactive thyroid. They should also let their doctor know if they have trouble urinating or have ever had seizures.
Hydroxyzine sometimes causes QT prolongation, which is a condition affecting the rhythm of an individual's heart. QT prolongation patients may, in rare cases, experience fainting spells or rapid heartbeats that require emergency medical attention. Some individuals are at a higher risk of developing QT prolongation than others, including those with heart failure or a family history of heart issues. Combining this medication with cannabis or alcohol can increase its drowsy effects. Finally, patients should not drive until they know how hydroxyzine affects them.
Learn about the potential medication interactions with hydroxyzine next.
Potential Medication Interactions
Many different substances can interact with hydroxyzine. Thus, patients must ensure that they tell their doctor about all of their current vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter and prescription medications. Writing a list before their appointment can help with this. The list will help doctors avoid potential medication interactions. For instance, combining hydroxyzine with alcohol or marijuana can cause a powerful sedative effect. The same is true of medications that cause sedation, such as benzodiazepines and opioids.
Muscle relaxants that work on the central nervous system can also interact with this medication, as can other antihistamines. If patients take other medications to manage their allergies, they need to check the labels to see if they cause drowsiness. It is also important not to combine hydroxyzine with topical medications like ointments, sprays, and creams. Combining them can cause an increase in side effects. Because of how similar hydroxyzine is to levocetirizine and cetirizine, patients should not combine these medications. Hydroxyzine might also affect the results of certain lab tests, such as skin tests for allergies.