What is Vistaril (hydroxyzine), and what is it used for?

Vistaril (hydroxyzine) is an antihistamine with anticholinergic (drying) and sedative properties used to treat allergic reactions. Vistaril is used to relieve itching caused by various allergic conditions. Vistaril is also used to treat anxiety and tension, to induce sedation prior to or after anesthesia, and to treat nausea, vomiting, and alcohol withdrawal.

Common side effects of Vistaril include

  • sedation,
  • tiredness,
  • sleepiness,
  • dizziness,
  • disturbed coordination,
  • drying and thickening of oral and other respiratory secretions, and
  • stomach upset.

Other important side effects of Vistaril include

Drug interactions of Vistaril include alcohol and other drugs that can cause sedation such as benzodiazepines, narcotic pain medications, tricyclic antidepressants, certain antihypertensive medications such as clonidine and propranolol, and other medications with anticholinergic properties such as dicyclomine, bethanechol, propantheline, amitriptyline, and chlorpromazine.

Vistaril should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy because it may harm a fetus. It is unknown if Vistaril is excreted into breast milk. In general, antihistamines are not recommended for use during breastfeeding because they can cause stimulation or seizures in newborns.

What are the important side effects of Vistaril (hydroxyzine)?

Common side effects of Vistaril are:

  • Sedation
  • Tiredness
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Disturbed coordination
  • Drying and thickening of oral and other respiratory secretions
  • Stomach distress

Other important side effects include:

Vistaril should be used with caution (if at all) in persons with narrow-angle glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate gland), hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and asthma.

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Vistaril (hydroxyzine) side effects list for healthcare professionals

Side effects reported with the administration of Vistaril are usually mild and transitory in nature.

Skin and Appendages : Oral hydroxyzine hydrochloride is associated with Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP) and fixed drug eruptions in post-marketing reports.

Anticholinergic: Dry mouth.

Central Nervous System: Drowsiness is usually transitory and may disappear in a few days of continued therapy or upon reduction of the dose. Involuntary motor activity, including rare instances of tremor and convulsions, has been reported, usually with doses considerably higher than those recommended. Clinically significant respiratory depression has not been reported at recommended doses.

Cardiac System: QT prolongation, Torsade de Pointes.

In post-marketing experience, the following additional undesirable effects have been reported: Body as a Whole: allergic reaction, Nervous System: headache, Psychiatric: hallucination, Skin and Appendages: pruritus, rash, urticaria.

What drugs interact with Vistaril (hydroxyzine)?

The potentiating action of hydroxyzine must be considered when the drug is used in conjunction with central nervous system depressants such as narcotics, non-narcotic analgesics and barbiturates. Therefore, when central nervous system depressants are administered concomitantly with hydroxyzine, their dosage should be reduced. Since drowsiness may occur with use of the drug, patients should be warned of this possibility and cautioned against driving a car or operating dangerous machinery while taking Vistaril (hydroxyzine pamoate). Patients should be advised against the simultaneous use of other CNS depressant drugs, and cautioned that the effect of alcohol may be increased.

Summary

Vistaril (hydroxyzine) is an antihistamine with anticholinergic (drying) and sedative properties used to treat allergic reactions. Vistaril is used to relieve itching caused by various allergic conditions. Vistaril is also used to treat anxiety and tension, to induce sedation prior to or after anesthesia, and to treat nausea, vomiting, and alcohol withdrawal.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/17/2019
References
FDA Prescribing Information

Professional side effects list and drug interaction sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.