Hydroxyzine (brand names: Atarax®, Vistaril®, Masmoran®, Multipax®) is an antihistamine used to treat allergic and itchy conditions or as a sedative/tranquilizer. Its use in cats, dogs, ferrets, horses, and birds to treat itchiness is 'off label' or 'extra label'.
Hydroxyzine is used to help control anxiety and tension caused by nervous and emotional conditions. It can also be used to help control anxiety and produce sleep before surgery.
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, similar to diphenhydramine (Benadryl). There are two versions of this medication — hydroxyzine hydrochloride (Atarax) and hydroxyzine pamoate (Vistaril) — but they share the same uses.
Hydroxyzine is primarily used for dogs to treat allergies and allergic reactions, such as those related to snake or insect bites and vaccines. The drug is an anti-inflammatory, which can open airways that are inflamed by allergic reaction, allowing dogs to breathe normally.
Hydroxyzine should be used with extreme caution in pets with seizures, in young or old animals, or in pets in their first trimester in pregnancy. Use cautiously in pets that have glaucoma, trouble urinating, enlarged prostate, heart disease, liver disease, or kidney disease.
Hydroxyzine may result in these side effects:
Hydroxyzine for dogs is an antihistamine that relieves symptoms of allergic reactions. Hydroxyzine was created initially as a sedative for humans. During clinical trials, researchers discovered hydroxyzine had the added benefit of stopping allergic reactions.
What Is Hydroxyzine And What Does It Treat? Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine. It is approved for the treatment of anxiety. However, hydroxyzine is also used to treat difficulty sleeping, nausea, vomiting, itching, skin rash, and allergies.
Generally speaking, hydroxyzine is an antihistamine related to over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Benadryl and Zyrtec that are used to treat symptoms of allergies and colds such as runny nose and itchy or watery eyes.
Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril) and alprazolam (Xanax) are two commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Both medications kick in quickly and share some common side effects, such as drowsiness and dry mouth. Alprazolam — especially high doses — can be habit-forming, but hydroxyzine does not have this risk.
For instance, hydroxyzine isn't available OTC, which means you must have a prescription for it. Also, hydroxyzine isn't used to treat seasonal allergies, while OTC antihistamines are. And OTC antihistamines should not be used to treat anxiety, while hydroxyzine is.
Hydroxyzine has demonstrated bronchodilator activity (opening up of the airways); antihistaminic (relieves symptoms of allergy including itch), antiemetic (relieves nausea and vomiting), and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects; as well as skeletal muscle relaxation.
Overdose / acute toxicity: Fine, rapid tremors and rarely seizures will also occur with overdoses. There is no specific antidote available. Treatment consists of supportive and symptomatic care. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet may have received an overdose of hydroxyzine.
Certain medications (e.g., sotalol, quinidine, thioridazine, chlorpromazine, droperidol, pimozide, moxifloxacin, mefloquine, pentamidine, arsenic trioxide, probucol, tacrolimus) can increase the risk of a type of abnormal heart rhythm called QT prolongation and should not be used in combination with hydroxyzine.
Like all prescription medications, hydroxyzine should be taken only as your healthcare provider prescribes it, so be sure to follow the instructions on your prescription. The typical adult dosage is 50 mg to 100 mg up to 4 times daily, with or without food, though some people may start at a lower dose.