Hydroxyzine Side Effects: Physical And Mental Adverse Reactions

Last Updated: March 11, 2020

Despite being a useful antihistamine drug, there is a hip of side effects from Vistaril. The extent of Vistaril side effects ranges from light dizziness to significant blood pressure fluctuations. Long term side effects of Hydroxyzine (Atarax generic name) may significantly change the quality of life. It is essential to learn about the Atarax side effects, how they can be managed, and how to be safe from them.

Safety And Contradictions of Atarax

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine drug that contains both anticholinergic and sedative attributes. Atarax is considered a safe and effective medicine to use when taken in prescribed amounts. However, there are a few instances when this drug cannot be used. Atarax contraindications include the following conditions:

  • Constipation
  • Pregnancy
  • Depleted magnesium and potassium levels in the blood
  • Severe cardiovascular disease
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Urinary bladder and prostate issues
  • Glaucoma (closed and wide-angle)
  • Enlarged prostate

Is Vistaril safe to use during pregnancy? According to the US FDA, currently, there is no specific Vistaril pregnancy category.

Man Reading Medical Leaflet

Short-Term Side Effects of Hydroxyzine

The most common short-term side effects of Vistaril include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing
  • Constipation
  • Headache

Mental Effects

Hallucinations are one of the possible side effects. Some patients also show symptoms of confusion, disorientation, and even depression. Insomniac behavior can also be present in rare cases, along with aggressive behavior. A comparison of Hydroxyzine with other drugs often yields to the discussion of Atarax vs Xanax. However, both the drugs belong to entirely separate classes; they are both used for the treatment of anxiety and have similar side effects as well, like drowsiness.

The drowsiness on hydroxyzine is also a beneficial side effect. It is the main reason why doctors prescribe Vistaril for sleep disorders. Sleep promoting properties of the Hydroxyzine makes it act as a hypnotic for patients with chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Alarm Clock In Front Of The Bed

So, can one get high on Vistaril? Hydroxyzine is known to be recreationally abused by individuals (mainly teenagers). The drug does not instigate the feeling of euphoria, but Vistaril hallucinations and the sense of sedation after taking medicine can be addictive. Intentional abuse may lead to extreme hallucinations, hyper sedation, and even Vistaril overdose death.

Physical Effects

Some of the more severe physical effects include:

  • Chest pain accompanied by coughing or discomfort
  • Dizziness with the feeling of fainting
  • Increasing heartbeat
  • Irritability and nervousness
  • Shortness of breath and heaviness or tightness in the chest region
  • Not able to swallow properly
  • Swollen face, eyes, or lips
  • Abnormal blood pressure
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

Weight Changes On Vistaril

There is a strong correlation between the usage of Vistaril and weight gain. Vistaril falls under the category of antihistamines and is thus responsible for an increase in appetite. As proven medically, this may lead to weight gain in drug users. Also, it has a similar chemical structure to some psychiatric drugs like antidepressants and antipsychotics that also cause changes in body weight.

Dangers Of Long-Term Use

Minor side effects of Hydroxyzine may not need any medical management, and many of them can disappear with regular use of the drug as the body gets accustomed to it. However, there are some rare Atarax side effects like tremors and convulsions.

Old Women With Hand Tremor

According to studies conducted to evaluate long term use of Hydroxyzine, there are risks of Tardive Dyskinesia(TD) after years of regular usage. Elderly patients may develop athetoid movements like involuntary movements of limbs and head as well.

Vistaril Tolerance

Although Vistaril is considered a safe drug with low abuse potential, regular abuse still can cause tolerance or dependence. Studies show that tolerance to sedative effects of Vistaril and other h1 histamines is achieved after 3 days of use. The withdrawal is possible and its manifestation ranges from a mild cold to chronical unrest. This is why it is important to follow the strict regimen of use and contact a doctor if symptoms of tolerance begin to show up.

Nursing Implications For Hydroxyzine

Whether Hydroxyzine is administered orally or as an intramuscular injection, several Vistaril nursing implications must be taken care of:

  • Alcohol usage is contraindicated during the treatment
  • Mouth dryness can be mitigated by rinsing the mouth with water frequently
  • Patient’s alertness and dosage of medicines require periodical monitoring
  • Hydroxyzine should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding is not recommended while using the drug

Rehabilitation Of Hydroxyzine Abuse And Side Effects

It is essential to learn what Atarax is before the initiation of treatment. The side effects of Vistaril may still be present even if the medication is used according to the prescribed dose. Individuals that experience severe and uncomfortable side effects of Hydroxyzine may consult with doctors for an alternative antihistamine drug or combination of drugs for the treatment of their particular symptoms.

Besides the presence of common side effects, abuse and addiction are also potential risks for Hydroxyzine users. Anyone, who feels that the use of hydroxyzine or addiction affects one’s life, should seek professional help and treatment. Specialized substance abuse rehabilitation facilities can treat such cases successfully with appropriate treatment and therapies. The patient will be available to choose a suitable substance addiction treatment program that fully fits one’s needs.

Page Sources

  1. Clark, B. G., Araki, M., & Brown, H. W. (1982). Hydroxyzine-associated tardive dyskinesia. Annals of neurology, 11(4), 435. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7103423-hydroxyzine-associated-tardive-dyskinesia/
  2. Silke Conen;Eef Theunissen;Annemiek Vermeeren;Johannes Ramaekers; Short-Term Effects of Morning Versus Evening Dose of Hydroxyzine 50 mg on Cognition in Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 31(3):294-301, (JUNE 2011) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21508863

Published on: March 11th, 2020

Updated on: March 11th, 2020


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