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All about: Atarax

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Generic Name: hydroxyzine (hye DROX ee zeen)
Brand Names: Atarax, Rezine, Vistaril

What is Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Hydroxyzine depresses activity in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which causes relaxation and relief from anxiety. Therefore, hydroxyzine is used to treat anxiety disorders and tension in stressful situations--before surgery, for example.

Hydroxyzine may also increase the effects of other medicines, such as pain relievers and sedatives, so it is useful after surgery also.

Hydroxyzine is also an antihistamine. It blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in your body. This makes hydroxyzine useful for treating allergic conditions, especially those that involve the skin, such as hives, itching, and rashes.

Hydroxyzine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Hydroxyzine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities. Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking hydroxyzine.

Who should not take Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Before taking hydroxyzine, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, especially heart, liver, or kidney disease. You may require a lower dose or special monitoring during hydroxyzine therapy if you have any other medical conditions.

It is not known whether hydroxyzine will harm an unborn baby. Do not take hydroxyzine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant. It is also not known whether hydroxyzine passes into breast milk. Do not take hydroxyzine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from hydroxyzine. You may require a lower dose of this medication.

How should I take Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Take hydroxyzine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

To ensure that you get a correct dose, measure the syrup form of hydroxyzine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not with a regular tablespoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Store hydroxyzine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a hydroxyzine overdose include extreme drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, and decreased breathing.

What should I avoid while taking Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Hydroxyzine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities. Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking hydroxyzine.

Atarax (hydroxyzine) side effects

Stop taking hydroxyzine and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take hydroxyzine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • dizziness, drowsiness, sleepiness, or confusion;

  • blurred vision or a dry mouth; or

  • nausea or vomiting.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Many drugs may increase the effects of hydroxyzine and lead to heavy sedation. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:

  • other antihistamines, such as brompheniramine (Dimetane, Bromphen, others), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin, others), azatadine (Optimine), clemastine (Tavist), and many others;

  • narcotics (pain killers) such as meperidine (Demerol), morphine (MS Contin, MSIR, others), propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet), hydrocodone (Lorcet, Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet, Percodan), fentanyl (Duragesic), and codeine (Fiorinal, Fioricet, Tylenol #3, others);

  • sedatives such as phenobarbital (Solfoton, Luminal), amobarbital (Amytal), and secobarbital (Seconal);

  • phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), mesoridazine (Serentil), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and trifluoperazine (Stelazine); or

  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), phenelzine (Nardil), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with hydroxyzine. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about hydroxyzine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Hydroxyzine is available with a prescription under the brand names Atarax and Vistaril. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Atarax 10 mg--orange, triangular tablets

  • Atarax 25 mg--green, triangular tablets

  • Atarax 50 mg--yellow, triangular tablets

  • Atarax 100 mg--red, triangular tablets

  • Atarax Syrup 10 mg per 5 mL (1 teaspoon)

  • Vistaril 25 mg--two-tone green capsules

  • Vistaril 50 mg--green/white capsules

  • Vistaril 100 mg--green/gray capsules

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.04. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:01:48 PM.

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