How Vistaril Is Used to Treat Social Anxiety Disorder

Antihistamine Also Affects Anxiety

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Vistaril (hydroxyzine pamoate) is used for symptomatic short-term relief of anxiety and tension, as well to treat allergic reactions. As an antihistamine, it blocks histamine, which relieves allergic skin reactions. Its other action is to decrease activity in the brain, which is desirable in treating social anxiety disorder. It may be used for this disorder by itself or in combination with other medications.

How to Take Vistaril

Vistaril is taken in tablet or capsule form. It comes in 25-milligram two-tone green capsules and 50-milligram green and white capsules. There are also formulations as a syrup or suspension. You can continue your normal diet while taking Vistaril.

There haven't been clinical studies on the effectiveness of Vistaril for anxiety for long-term use of more than four months. Your doctor should periodically assess whether it is still appropriate for you to continue taking.

Dosage Guidelines

A typical adult dosage for Vistaril for anxiety and tension is 50 to 100 milligrams up to four times a day. Dosages for children under 6 years old are 2 milligrams per kilogram per day in divided dosages, not to exceed 50 milligrams per day.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it, but not if it is near the time for your next dose. In that case, skip it rather than taking a double dose.

Symptoms of an overdose include stupor, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or seizures. You should contact the poison control center or 911. Usually, they will induce vomiting if it hasn't occurred already.

Who Shouldn’t Take Vistaril

Vistaril should not be taken if you have a hypersensitivity to hydroxyzine, Zyrtec (cetirizine), or Xyzal (levocetirizine) and is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Those with a heart condition that has a long QT interval should not take this medication, and you should discuss it with your doctor if you have any history of heart disease or a slow or irregular heartbeat.

Medication Interactions

Vistaril can potentially interact with several medications including narcotics, antihistamines, analgesics, and barbiturates. The effect of alcohol may also be increased when taking Vistaril. Be sure to tell your doctor about any nonprescription or prescription drugs you are taking or plan to take. Your dosages may need to be adjusted or you may need to be monitored for side effects.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Vistaril include dry mouth and drowsiness. However, these effects are usually mild and short-lived. In older adults, there may be constipation or confusion. Dizziness and headache are also reported. Rarely, tremor or convulsions can develop, usually with high dosages. Call your doctor immediately if you experience trembling or seizures. Stop taking it immediately and call your doctor if you develop a rash, pus-filled sores, swelling, and fever.

Associated Risks

Caution should be exercised if driving, operating dangerous machinery, or participating in hazardous activities while using Vistaril.

Risk of overdose is low with the result generally being hyper-sedation.


Hydroxyzine. MedlinePlus.

Vistaril Prescribing Information. Pfizer.