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What Is Hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine (Atarax®, Vistaril®) is an antihistamine medication available only with a prescription. It is approved for several uses, but is most commonly prescribed to treat itching and to improve the effectiveness of opioid pain relievers.
As a first-generation (sedating) antihistamine, hydroxyzine works to relieve itching by blocking histamine receptors. Its anti-anxiety activity is probably due to its effects in certain parts of the brain. The medicine 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.
Because this drug is not suitable for everyone, tell your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you may have and any other medications you are taking before starting treatment with hydroxyzine. Most people have no problems with it; however, side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and headaches are possible.
(Click Hydroxyzine to learn more, including how this medication can help treat several different conditions. This article also discusses potential side effects, general dosing guidelines, and safety concerns to be aware of before using this antihistamine.)
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