How Long Does Hydroxyzine Stay in Your System? Uses, Safety and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 23, 2024

Dr. Ash Bhatt Reviewed by Dr. Ash Bhatt
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Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in the United States, affecting an estimated 40 million adults (19.1%). Hydroxyzine plays a significant role in managing its symptoms.

Yet, this medication is also prescribed for other conditions such as allergic reactions (i.e., hives, itching and swelling) and insomnia due to its mild sedative properties, aiding in sleep induction and maintenance. Given its diverse applications, understanding how Hydroxyzine works within your body is crucial.

Whether you have a hydroxyzine drug test and need to know how long hydroxyzine lasts in your system, you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have underlying health conditions, read on to explore Hydroxyzine effects to ensure safe and effective administration.

4 Hydroxyzine Uses

Hydroxyzine is a versatile medication with several uses owing to its antihistaminic and anxiolytic properties. Some of the primary uses of hydroxyzine include:

1. Managing Anxiety:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Hydroxyzine is a common prescription for GAD, effectively reducing symptoms like worry, restlessness and muscle tension.
  • Premedication: In combination with other medications, Hydroxyzine is sometimes used before procedures to reduce anxiety and nausea.

2. Relieving Allergy Symptoms:

  • Histamine Blockage: As a first-generation antihistamine, Hydroxyzine combats allergic reactions by blocking histamine, a chemical causing itchiness, hives and swelling.
  • Skin Reactions: It’s particularly useful for alleviating allergic skin conditions like hives and eczema symptoms.

3. Promoting Sleep:

  • Mild Sedative Effect: Hydroxyzine’s sedative properties can aid in falling asleep and staying asleep, making it helpful for short-term management of insomnia.

4. Other Uses:

How Long Does Hydroxyzine Stay in Your System?

Considering the broad spectrum of Hydroxyzine uses, patients need to know how long Hydroxyzine stays in the human body. Drug concentration depends on several factors, including:

  • Dosage: Higher doses will naturally take longer to eliminate from your body.
  • Individual factors: Age, kidney function, liver function and metabolism can all impact how quickly your body processes the drug.
  • Form of administration: An oral tablet or capsule takes longer to be absorbed than liquid forms.

Hydroxyzine Half-life

The half-life of a drug refers to the time it takes for half of a drug dose to be eliminated from your body.

To better understand how long does Hydroxyzine stay in your system, it’s helpful to consider Hydroxyzine half-life and the age group the patient belongs to. For example, children often have a shorter half-life of drugs compared to adults.

Hydroxyzine typically has a half-life of 14 to 25 hours. For adults, the average half-life of Hydroxyzine is around 20 hours, while that of children is about 7 hours. The Hydroxyzine half-life in older patients or those with a weakened metabolic system is approximately 29 hours. Patients with renal or hepatic impairment are likely to have a prolonged half life.

Hydroxyzine Complete Elimination

Considering Hydroxyzine pharmacokinetics, it can take 70 to 125 hours (5 half-lives) for Hydroxyzine to be eliminated from your body after the last dose. However, this doesn’t mean you will experience noticeable effects for that entire duration. On average, Hydroxyzine stays in the human body for 1-36 hours.

Hydroxyzine Detection in the Body

The detection window for Hydroxyzine varies depending on the sample provided for testing. Also, the detection time frames may be different for each patient.

Blood Test

The detection period for Hydroxyzine (Atarax) drug tests using blood tests is up to 27 hours.

Urine Test

Typically, a 30-60 mL urine sample is collected and analyzed in the lab. Hydroxyzine can be detected in urine for up to 24 hours.

Saliva Test

Vistaril’s saliva test has a brief detection window of 8 hours. For accurate results, tests must be conducted within this timeframe; otherwise, traces won’t be detected.

Hair Test

Hair testing for Atarax has an extended detection period, initially up to one month and potentially up to three months based on hair shaft length.

Hydroxyzine Side Effects

Common side effects of Hydroxyzine may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Confusion (especially in elderly people)
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain

Hydroxyzine Safety

  • QT Prolongation: Hydroxyzine can potentially cause QT prolongation, a condition where the heart takes longer to beat. This can increase the risk of serious heart rhythm problems.
  • Drowsiness: Hydroxyzine can impair alertness and coordination. This can be dangerous when driving or while engaging in activities requiring full focus.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Small, occasional Hydroxyzine doses are unlikely to harm breastfed infants. Larger or prolonged use may induce drowsiness, impact the infant or reduce milk supply.
  • Addiction potential: Though low, there’s a potential for drug dependence and abuse, especially at high doses and for extended periods.

Hydroxyzine Final Considerations

Hydroxyzine can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and itching, which may begin to take effect within 15 to 60 minutes after administration. It reaches its maximum effect approximately two hours later. Due to its long half-life, Hydroxyzine can remain in the body for up to 125 hours after the last dose.

Safe and effective use of Hydroxyzine involves adherence to medical guidance. Always follow the doctor’s order and refrain from alcohol, antidepressants and other antihistamines. Hydroxyzine is not widely considered addictive, yet caution and adherence to prescribed dosages are crucial to avoid potential side effects.

In the case of Hydroxyzine addiction, seek professional assistance such as addiction treatment facilities to ensure a supportive environment for recovery.

People Also Ask

How long does Hydroxyzine take to wear off your system?

Hydroxyzine’s effects start wearing off within a few hours, but the complete elimination may take approximately 2 to 4 days due to its half-life of 14 to 25 hours. Individual factors, dosage, and formulations can influence the duration.

Does Hydroxyzine make you sleepy the next day?

Yes, Hydroxyzine can cause drowsiness and this sedative effect may carry over to the next day in some individuals. Especially if taken during nighttime. It’s important to be cautious when engaging in activities that require alertness until you understand how the medication affects you.

Is hydroxyzine addictive?

Hydroxyzine is not considered addictive at all. It is an antihistamine that is commonly prescribed for allergies, and insomnia. It has not been described that this medication has a potential for abuse or addiction.

What is the duration of action of Hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine acts relatively fast, with an onset of effect occurring between 15 and 60 minutes and a duration of action lasting between 4-6 hours.


Page Sources

Retrieved on February 26, 2024.

Published on: March 11th, 2020

Updated on: May 23rd, 2024

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