Hydroxyzine (Atarax®, Vistaril®) is a prescription medication approved for several uses, such as treating itching and improving the effectiveness of opioid medications. There are several forms of hydroxyzine: pills (tablets and capsules), syrup, oral suspension (liquid), and injections. The pills are available in the following strengths:
- Hydroxyzine hydrochloride 10 mg tablets
- Hydroxyzine hydrochloride 25 mg tablets
- Hydroxyzine hydrochloride 50 mg tablets
- Hydroxyzine pamoate 25 mg capsules
- Hydroxyzine pamoate 50 mg capsules
- Hydroxyzine pamoate 100 mg capsules.
As a first-generation (sedating) antihistamine, hydroxyzine works for itching by blocking histamine receptors. Its anti-anxiety activity is probably due to its effects in certain parts of the brain. The medication can also cause relaxation of skeletal muscles.
In addition, hydroxyzine has anticholinergic activity, which means that it blocks acetylcholine receptors and is probably why it helps to alleviate nausea.
Even though most people tolerate the pill form of hydroxyzine well, this drug is not suitable for everyone. Before taking it, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you have and any other medications you are taking, including vitamins, supplements, and nonprescription medications.
(Click Hydroxyzine for a more in-depth look at how hydroxyzine pills work, potential side effects, general dosing guidelines, and information on what to tell your healthcare provider before beginning treatment.)