Vistaril: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Interactions

Vistaril is effective for treating anxiety, nausea and allergies. You should be informed of the important precautions and interactions before taking.

Vistaril is a non-addictive anti-histamine drug, which has various medical uses. For example, it eases the itching caused by allergies, and relieves the nausea and vomiting experienced during conditions such as motion sickness. In addition, it can be used to facilitate alcohol withdrawal and treat anxiety.

What Is Vistaril Used For?

Vistaril is most commonly used to relieve allergies, itching, and vomiting. It is also employed to help patients during withdrawal from drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. Vistaril helps promote sleep and feeling of calmness during withdrawal through rebalancing the levels of neurotransmitters in the body. The drug is not-addictive and is therefore considered safe for use in substance abusers; it is commonly used in rehabilitation facilities. Furthermore, vistaril can also be helpful in treating patients with Parkinson's disease, as the drug eases stiffness and tremors.

Vistaril Dosage

1.   For Adult Use

  • Adults using vistaril to relieve the pruritus due to allergies should take 25mg three or four times a day.
  • For treating anxiety and tension, a larger dose of 50-100mg four times a day is advised.
  • Patients undergoing surgery with general anesthesia may be prescribed 50-100mg vistaril before and after the operation.

2.   For Pediatric Use

  • Pediatric patients with allergic itching (pruritus) or anxiety are usually treated with 50mg vistaril a day if under the age of 6, or 50-100mg if over 6 years old, taken in divided doses throughout the day.
  • For sedation before and after surgery, a 0.6mg/kg vistaril dosage is usually recommended for children.

How to Take Vistaril

1.   Precautions

  • If you are allergic to hydroxyzine, you should not use vistaril. Pregnant women in early pregnancy should also avoid this drug as it can cause birth defects.
  • Women using vistaril need to use adequate birth control methods, but if you do think you may be pregnant, speak to your doctor.
  • ŸBreastfeeding women also need to avoid taking vistaril, as the drug may pass through the breast milk and harm the baby.
  • ŸOlder adults are more susceptible to vistaril's side effects so your doctor should exercise greater caution when prescribed this drug.

Although there have not been sufficient trials in humans, vistaril has been shown to lead to fetal abnormalities in mice and rats.

If you have any of the following conditions, you need to speak to your doctor before taking vistaril:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Epilepsy or other seizure diseases
  • Problems with urination or an enlarged prostate
  • Glaucoma
  • Breathing difficulties, asthma, or emphysema
  • High blood pressure or heart disease
  • Blockages in the stomach or intestines
  • Stomach ulcers

2.   How to Take

When prescribed vistaril, carefully adhere to the instructions on the prescription label, following any additional advice from your doctor. Do not take more than or less than the recommended dose, or consume the drug for longer than advised.

For vistaril prescribed in pill form, swallow the pills with some water. If you have liquid vistaril, measure the amount precisely with a dose-measuring spoon or cup. These can be provided by your doctor or pharmacist. The vistaril should be stored in a cool, dry place.

3.   Miss a Dose or Overdose

If you miss a dose of vistaril, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose and don't take any extra drug to make up for it. If you have overdosed on vistaril, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of overdose include nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and feeling faint.

Vistaril Side Effects and Interactions

1.   Side Effects

Vistaril side effects are usually mild and short in duration. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching, rash, and the development of hives (urticaria)
  • Single red or purple lesions that reappear in the same place on the skin whenever vistaril is taken

Very occasionally, vistaril may produce the following side effects that require immediate medical attention:

  • Uncontrolled shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues, e.g. labored breathing
  • Involuntary movements, for instance in the eye, tongue, jaw, or neck

2.   Interactions

If you are taking any other medications (legal or illegal drugs, herbal remedies, or any dietary supplements), speak to your doctor prior to starting vistaril treatment, as the different drugs may interact to cause further complications. Vistaril may interact with these medications:

  • Opioids
  • Non-narcotic analgesics, e.g. acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Depressants of the nervous system, including barbiturates
  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, e.g. galantamine (Razadyne) and donepezil (Aricept)
  • Anticholinergics, including benztropine (Cogentin) and Clozapine (Clozaril)
  • Phenothiazines, e.g. perphenazine (Trilafon) or chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • Any drugs that induce drowsiness or fatigue. These include other first-generation antihistamine medications, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxants.
  • Alcohol, which can cause tiredness, confusion, and dizziness when taken with vistaril.



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