Disclaimer: The information in the article isn't intended to diagnose, treat or cure any known or unknown disease or illness.

Hydroxyzine Addiction: Exploring the Hidden Risks

Unmask the hidden risks of hydroxyzine addiction and learn strategies for safe use.

April 28, 2024

Understanding Hydroxyzine

Before delving into the potential risks associated with misuse and addiction, it's vital to first understand what hydroxyzine is and its intended usage.

What is Hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine is a prescription medication primarily used to treat anxiety and relieve itching from allergic reactions [1]. It affects the brain to decrease anxiety, helping individuals feel calm and relaxed. While useful in managing certain conditions, misuse can lead to a risk of hydroxyzine addiction, which underscores the importance of taking the drug as directed by a healthcare professional.

Uses of Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine serves multiple purposes in the medical field. One of its primary uses is to control anxiety and tension, often administered before surgery to induce sleep and ensure patient comfort.

In addition to its anxiolytic properties, hydroxyzine is also used to alleviate symptoms of certain allergic conditions. These include chronic urticaria, a type of hives, and atopic and contact dermatoses, skin conditions that cause redness and itching.

In summary,

  • Hydroxyzine is used to control anxiety and tension.
  • It aids in producing sleep before surgery.
  • It relieves symptoms of allergic conditions such as chronic urticaria and atopic and contact dermatoses.

Understanding the proper uses of hydroxyzine sets the foundation for a deeper discussion on its potential for misuse and dependency, further exploring the real risks associated with hydroxyzine addiction.

Misuse and Dependency on Hydroxyzine

While hydroxyzine is not considered an addictive substance, there is a potential risk of misuse and dependency. Misuse often involves taking higher doses than prescribed or using it for non-medical purposes, which can increase the risk of dependency and adverse effects Addiction Resource.

Factors Leading to Misuse

Despite hydroxyzine's low risk for addiction, it is possible for individuals to misuse this medication. Factors that can lead to misuse include:

  1. Taking larger doses than prescribed: Some individuals may take more hydroxyzine than recommended in an attempt to enhance its effects. This can lead to a higher risk of adverse effects and dependency.
  2. Using hydroxyzine for non-medical purposes: Hydroxyzine is sometimes misused recreationally for its sedative effects. This misuse can increase the risk of harmful side effects and dependency.
  3. Obtaining hydroxyzine from multiple sources: Some individuals may seek out multiple prescriptions from different doctors or obtain the drug from friends or relatives. According to SAMHSA, approximately 29% of adults aged 26 or older who misused hydroxyzine got it through prescriptions from multiple doctors, while around 70% obtained it from a friend or relative for free.

Risks of Hydroxyzine Dependency

While hydroxyzine dependency is not common, it can occur, especially in individuals who misuse the drug. The risks associated with hydroxyzine dependency include:

  1. Physical and psychological dependency: Over time, regular misuse of hydroxyzine can lead to both physical and psychological dependency. This means that the individual may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.
  2. Increased risk of side effects: Misuse of hydroxyzine can increase the risk of side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and changes in vision.
  3. Interactions with other substances: Hydroxyzine can interact with other substances, including alcohol and other medications. These interactions can increase the risk of adverse effects and complications.
  4. Risk of overdose: Taking large doses of hydroxyzine can increase the risk of overdose. Symptoms of overdose may include extreme drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and decreased coordination.

Taking hydroxyzine as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional can help to minimize the risk of misuse and dependency. If you or someone you know is struggling with hydroxyzine misuse or addiction, it's important to seek help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

Hydroxyzine: Addiction Statistics

As we delve deeper into the issue of hydroxyzine addiction, it's necessary to examine the statistics related to its misuse. This includes the demographic most likely to misuse hydroxyzine and the most common sources of the misused drug.

Age and Hydroxyzine Misuse

Misuse of hydroxyzine does not occur uniformly across all age groups. Based on the data from SAMHSA, it is more frequently misused by adults aged 26 or older. Approximately 1.7% of this age group reported misusing the drug in the past year, compared to 0.6% of young adults aged 18 to 25.

In the United States in 2015, approximately 3.8 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription-type tranquilizers, including hydroxyzine.

Age Group % Misused in Past Year
18-25 0.6%
26 or older 1.7%
12 or older N/A

Sources of Misused Hydroxyzine

The aforementioned statistics bring us to an equally important aspect of hydroxyzine misuse - the source of the misused medication. Among adults aged 26 or older who misused hydroxyzine, the most common source was a friend or relative, with approximately 70% obtaining the drug for free.

However, a significant percentage of people also received hydroxyzine through prescriptions from one doctor (around 35%) or multiple doctors (approximately 29%).

These statistics emphasize the need for responsible prescribing and use of hydroxyzine to prevent misuse and potential addiction.

Source % of Adults (26+)
Friend or relative 70%
One doctor 35%
Multiple doctors 29%

Hydroxyzine Interactions and Side Effects

Understanding the potential interactions and side effects of hydroxyzine is crucial for safe usage. This medication does not only interact with other drugs, but it also has the potential to cause unwanted side effects.

Hydroxyzine and Other Medications

Hydroxyzine can interact with other medications, potentially enhancing its effects. Particularly, it interacts with central nervous system depressants like antihistamines, medicines for allergies or colds, sedatives, and tranquilizers. It's important to consult a healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication while using hydroxyzine.

Interacting Medication Potential Effect
Antihistamines Enhanced sedative effect
Allergy or Cold Medicines Enhanced sedative effect
Sedatives Enhanced sedative effect
Tranquilizers Enhanced sedative effect

Potential Side Effects of Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine has the potential to cause unwanted side effects. These can range from confusion and drowsiness to more serious skin conditions such as acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP).

Patients should inform their doctor if they experience fever, skin rash, or worsening skin problems after using this medicine. Furthermore, hydroxyzine may cause dizziness or drowsiness, and individuals are cautioned against driving or engaging in dangerous activities until the effects of the medicine are known. Additionally, it should not be used with alcohol or other medicines that cause drowsiness [3].

Potential Side Effect Description
Confusion Mental state in which a person is bewildered, perplexed, or unable to self-orient
Drowsiness Feeling unusually sleepy or tired
Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP) Serious skin condition characterized by a widespread, sterile, pustular rash
Dizziness Feeling of unsteadiness or loss of balance
Interaction with Alcohol Enhanced sedative effect

In the context of hydroxyzine addiction, understanding these potential interactions and side effects is critical. It can help users be aware of the risks and take necessary precautions to avoid misuse and dependency.

Hydroxyzine and Special Populations

While Hydroxyzine is a medication used by many, its effects can differ significantly in some populations, notably in the elderly and children.

Hydroxyzine Use in Elderly

For the elderly population, the use of hydroxyzine needs to be cautiously managed. The presence of other medical problems can affect the use of this medication. Elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted side effects, and may require caution and dose adjustments due to age-related problems. Issues like confusion, drowsiness, and liver, kidney, or heart complications are more prevalent in this age group, thus necessitating a more tailored approach when it comes to prescribing hydroxyzine.

Medical professionals must monitor the patient's overall health and other ongoing medications to minimize the risk of hydroxyzine addiction and other adverse effects. The dosage should be carefully calibrated, and regular check-ups are advised to ensure the patient's health is not being compromised.

Hydroxyzine Use in Children

As for children, appropriate studies have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hydroxyzine. However, even though there are no geriatric-specific problems identified that would limit its usefulness in the elderly, elderly patients are still more likely to experience unwanted side effects and may require caution and dosage adjustments [3].

It's crucial to note that children's bodies process medications differently than adults. Therefore, regular monitoring and follow-up are necessary when hydroxyzine is prescribed to this age group. Parents and caregivers should be educated about the potential risks and signs of hydroxyzine addiction.

In conclusion, while hydroxyzine is a widely used medication, it's crucial to understand its potential risks, particularly in vulnerable populations like the elderly and children. Healthcare providers should always consider the patient's overall health, other medications, and potential for addiction when prescribing this drug. Regular monitoring and education can go a long way in preventing hydroxyzine abuse and ensuring safe use.

Safe Use of Hydroxyzine

When it comes to hydroxyzine use, safety is paramount. Hydroxyzine may be beneficial for controlling anxiety, tension, and producing sleep before surgery, and even for relieving symptoms of certain allergic conditions. However, improper use can lead to hydroxyzine addiction and other adverse effects. In this section, we will discuss the guidelines for using hydroxyzine and its implications for breastfeeding women.

Guidelines for Using Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine should always be used as per the direction of a healthcare professional. Misuse of the drug can lead to dependency and addiction, emphasizing the importance of adhering to prescribed dosages and schedules.

Also, it's important to remember that the presence of other medical problems can affect the use of hydroxyzine. For example, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted side effects and may require caution and dose adjustments due to age-related problems like confusion, drowsiness, and liver, kidney, or heart complications [2].

Hydroxyzine may also cause a serious skin condition called acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP). Patients should inform their doctor if they experience fever, skin rash, or worsening skin problems after using this medicine [3].

Additionally, it's worth noting that while studies have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hydroxyzine in children, elderly patients are more likely to experience unwanted side effects and may require caution and dosage adjustments.

Hydroxyzine and Breastfeeding

When it comes to breastfeeding, there are no adequate studies in women determining the infant risk when using hydroxyzine. Thus, the benefits should be weighed against potential risks before use during breastfeeding.

In conclusion, while hydroxyzine can be useful in treating certain conditions, it is crucial to use the medication safely and responsibly to prevent hydroxyzine addiction and adverse effects. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting or changing any medication regimen, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or belong to a special population such as the elderly or children.


[1]: https://addictionresource.com/drugs/hydroxyzine/

[2]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hydroxyzine-oral-route/proper-use/drg-20311434?p=1

[3]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hydroxyzine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20311434?p=1

Related Blog Posts

How to Stop Hiccups After Drinking Alcohol

Discover quick remedies to stop hiccups after drinking alcohol. Say goodbye to hiccups with these effective techniques!

Lithium and Alcohol - A Dangerous Duo

Unveil the dangerous duo: Lithium and alcohol. Learn the risks, interactions, and how to protect your mental health.

Can You Really Drink with Tylenol? The Do's and Dont's

Discover the dos and donts of drinking with Tylenol. Protect your liver and health by knowing the risks and precautions.

How Long After Alcohol Consumption Can You Take Tylenol?

Discover the golden rule: how long after drinking can you take Tylenol? Learn about risks, liver effects, and safe usage.

Can You Take Tylenol After Drinking? Exploring the Effects

Discover the effects of Tylenol after drinking. Is it safe or risky? Get expert insights on combining alcohol and medication.

The Sober Truth: Exploring the Effects of Keppra and Alcohol

Uncover the sober truth about Keppra and alcohol interactions. Discover the risks, effects, and guidance you need for informed decisions.

Buspirone and Alcohol Interaction Exposed

Unveiling the dangers of buspirone and alcohol interaction. Stay informed and stay safe with our comprehensive guide!

Buspar and Alcohol Interactions Exposed

Unveiling the truth about Buspar and alcohol interactions. Discover the risks, dangers, and precautions for your well-being.

Alcohol and Accutane - What Your Dermatologist Wont Tell You

Unveiling the truth about alcohol and Accutane! Discover the risks, side effects, and the importance of abstaining for optimal treatment.

Looking for addiction Treatment?

Wherever you are on your journey, Birch Tree Recovery can work alongside you to create a healthier life, establish self-connection, instill effective coping mechanisms, eliminate anxiety, depression and further the path of your individual success in recovery.