• Hydroxyzine is used to relieve itching.
  • The most common side-effect is drowsiness.
  • Hydroxyzine may affect your ability to drive and use machines. Do not drive if you are not fully alert.

About hydroxyzine

Type of medicine Antihistamine
Used for Itching
Also called Atarax®
Available as Tablets and syrup

Hydroxyzine is used to relieve itching of the skin due to some allergic reactions. It can be used in adults or children.

Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust or an insect bite, can cause the body to release a chemical called histamine. The release of histamine causes allergic symptoms which may result in an itchy rash on the skin. Hydroxyzine reduces the effects of histamine and so helps to relieve itching.

Before taking hydroxyzine

Before taking hydroxyzine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have heart, liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye).
  • If you have epilepsy.
  • If you have prostate problems, or have been experiencing difficulty passing urine.
  • If you know you have a blockage in your small intestines.
  • If you have porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.

How to take hydroxyzine

  • Take hydroxyzine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • It is not important whether you take hydroxyzine before or after food.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Hydroxyzine may cause drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking hydroxyzine as it will increase these feelings of drowsiness.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking hydroxyzine.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with hydroxyzine.
  • Hydroxyzine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, especially in strong sunlight or until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.

Can hydroxyzine cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome. .

Possible side-effects What can I do if I experience this
Drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert or able to see properly
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor
Dry mouth Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets
Difficulty passing urine Speak with your doctor if this becomes troublesome
Stomach upset Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy foods

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store hydroxyzine

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.