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{"id":556750405705,"title":"Atarax Review: Can An Allergy Drug Treat Anxiety?","created_at":"2022-07-18T13:53:18-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Atarax Review: Can An Allergy Drug Treat Anxiety?\",\n \"keywords\": \"atarax, atarax review, atarax reviews, atarax side effects, why was atarax discontinued, atarax for anxiety, what is atarax, atarax dosage, atarax vs vistaril, what is atarax used for\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team review medical studies on Atarax to determine if it's safe and effective for reducing anxiety. We explain how the drug works, highlight its side effects and suggest a natural anxiety alternative that may cause fewer side effects.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/atarax-review\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"creator\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Atarax_Thumbnail_Optimized.png?v=1658167318\",\n\"width\": \"2500\",\n\"height\": \"2500\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/vistaril-review\", \n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/trintellix-review\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/hydroxyzine-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/7875114\/\",\n\"https:\/\/journals.lww.com\/ebp\/Citation\/2020\/08000\/In_adults_with_generalized_anxiety_disorder,_is.36.aspx#:~:text=Compared%20with%20placebo%2C%20hydroxyzine%20was,CI%2C%200.15%E2%80%930.58).\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3184565\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/linzess-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/21154375\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6415809\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4956432\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK548128\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.drugs.com\/comments\/hydroxyzine\/atarax.html\",\n\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/topics\/neuroscience\/hydroxyzine\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6750292\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29575228\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"hydroxyzine\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"FDA\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"StatPearls\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Drugs.com\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"ashwagandha\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-07-18\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Logo.png?v=1641249064\", \n \"width\": 150,\n \"height\": 150\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Atarax_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1658167036\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax is a prescription drug used for the treatment of anxiety and allergic itching. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. to treat these conditions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eA\u003c\/span\u003etarax is the brand-name version of a medication with a generic name of hydroxyzine. These two drugs contain the exact same active chemical compound, so we will refer to them interchangeably throughout this article. Hydroxyzine is also sold under the brand name \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/vistaril-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eVistaril\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s uncommon for an antihistamine to be prescribed to treat anxiety, given that the majority of the anxiety medications we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health such as \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/trintellix-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTrintellix\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e belong to a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Antihistamines are typically only used for allergy symptoms, and are typically available over-the-counter (OTC) without requiring a prescription. You may be familiar with brand name antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review published medical research on Atarax to find out if it’s safe and effective for anxiety, as well as explain how the medication works. We’ll also highlight an herbal supplement used for anxiety that patients may wish to speak to their doctor about.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax For Anxiety\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax has been primarily studied as an anxiety treatment, and there exist many medical trials examining how effective the drug is. Many of these same trials were also reviewed in our \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/hydroxyzine-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehydroxyzine for anxiety reviews\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e article.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/7875114\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e on Atarax for treatment of anxiety which was published in 1994 (proving how long this drug has been on the market) found that it worked better than a placebo pill both after one week and after four weeks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGiven that many prescription pills take weeks to start working. It’s a good sign that Atarax appears to work rapidly.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/journals.lww.com\/ebp\/Citation\/2020\/08000\/In_adults_with_generalized_anxiety_disorder,_is.36.aspx#:~:text=Compared%20with%20placebo%2C%20hydroxyzine%20was,CI%2C%200.15%E2%80%930.58).\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emore recent medical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e analyzed five different medical trials on Atarax for anxiety. What the study authors found was that the drug was effective at treating symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and that it was similarly effective to other pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety such as benzodiazepines. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGiven that benzodiazepines may have more addictive potential, this is a promising sign.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe located \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3184565\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eone case report\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that trialed Atarax on patients diagnosed with panic disorder. The publication documented how the drug successfully treated a patient’s panic. While this is a good early sign, we don’t believe it’s enough information to suggest that the medication is effective for panic disorder overall. We look forward to future trials with a larger patient population testing Atarax for treating panic disorder.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe will conclude from the available research that Atarax is successful for treating anxiety and may be successful for treating panic, but more research is needed on the latter condition.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\n\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax Side Effects\u003c\/b\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax does cause side effects, but its side effect profile appears to be less severe than many prescription anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) drugs.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA medical review linked earlier in this article found that 52% of Atarax patients experienced side effects while taking the drug, compared with only 35% of those taking placebo pills. More than 50% of patients experiencing side effects is a relatively high rate.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThose taking Atarax were 14% more likely to experience sleepiness than those taking placebo, and those taking Atarax were also more likely to experience dry mouth and weight gain (9% and 2% respectively).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax’s label does not contain a “black box” warning, which is issued by the FDA when a medication can cause severe and life-threatening side effects. As an example, we recently reviewed a prescription drug called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/linzess-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLinzess\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e with a black box warning indicating the drug can cause severe dehydration in children.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall, while Atarax does seem to cause side effects in a high percentage of patients, the severity of said side effects is less worrisome when compared to other medications used to treat anxiety.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow Does Atarax Work?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMedical studies haven’t cleared up the exact mechanism of action of Atarax, but it’s \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/21154375\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ebeen proposed\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e in medical reviews that the medication antagonizes receptors in the brain that influence serotonin levels. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSerotonin is a neurotransmitter that is directly linked with mood, emotional state and sedation, so researchers propose that patients with anxiety disorders may have irregular metabolism of serotonin. Since Atarax normalizes levels of this neurotransmitter, it may be effective for patients whose anxiety is caused by dysfunctional serotonin metabolism.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe medical study linked above proposes that Atarax’s anxiolytic effect is also caused by its “suppression of certain subcortical regions”. This suggests that some patients have anxiety caused by overactivity in specific brain regions, which Atarax can successfully treat.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax Generic Vs. Branded Version\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHydroxyzine is the generic version of the drug, while the branded version is called Atarax.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt can be confusing to some patients new to prescription medication, but these two names refer to the exact same active chemical compound. Thus patients are often curious about which version they should take.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile we can’t recommend one drug over another, we typically recommend that patients speak with their doctor about hydroxyzine rather than Atarax, because it’s typically cheaper to purchase the generic version, and it should work just as well.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAn \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6415809\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eextensive medical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePLOS Medicine\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal compared whether branded or generic drugs were more effective, and the study authors reported that generic drugs were just as effective on average.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis result is what one would expect, considering that generic and brand-name drugs contain the same compound, but this study is a useful tool to convince patients influenced by marketing that generic versions of drugs may be the more logical option.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax For Sleep\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMany antihistamines such as Atarax cause sleepiness as a side effect. However, we wouldn’t recommend that patients take the drug for sleep alone, because that would be an off-label use as it’s not approved by the FDA to treat sleep disorders. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe potential sedative effect of Atarax may be a secondary benefit for patients with both anxiety and sleep disorders, but the drug can only be prescribed to treat anxiety or allergic itching.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere does exist some medical research suggesting that Atarax can successfully treat insomnia in hospital settings, but we haven't found any studies proving that the medication is effective for healthy, non-anxious patients with insomnia.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4956432\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeta-study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of drugs used for insomnia reported the following: “there are few data to support [Atarax’s] efficacy or safety for this indication.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax Vs. Vistaril\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eVistaril and Atarax contain the same base chemical compound and contain a very similar formulation. Atarax has hydroxyzine hydrochloride as the active ingredient, while Vistaril has hydroxyzine pamoate. Patients are often curious about which drug has superior efficacy.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eUnfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any medical studies testing the two drugs against one another. Because both were approved by the FDA, we would consider them equivalently effective and would not recommend one over the other.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax is sold in liquid and capsule form, while Vistaril is formulated as a liquid and tablet. Tablets may be safer for some elderly patients who have trouble swallowing capsules whole.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax Dosage\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK548128\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eStatPearls\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is a free medical database maintained by the National Library of Medicine in the U.S., Atarax’s dosage generally ranges between 25 milligrams (mg) and 100 mg, and is taken three to four times daily. This equals a broad total daily dose range of 75 mg to 400 mg.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePatients using Atarax for allergies generally take a lower dose than those taking the medication for anxiety.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDoctors will typically prescribe a dose in the lower end of the range, and gradually up the dose if the patient isn’t experiencing benefit. If a patient can achieve symptom reduction or elimination at a lower dose, they’re less likely to experience side effects than someone taking the drug at a higher dose.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAtarax User Reviews\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.drugs.com\/comments\/hydroxyzine\/atarax.html\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehas been reviewed\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e over 100 times on Drugs.com; a website which allows patients to publish their experience of prescription drugs. We cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any user reports from this site.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eInterestingly, the average rating of Atarax for allergies is much higher (8.4 out of 10) than the drug’s rating for anxiety (5.8 out of 10). The drug’s overall rating is 6.2 out of 10.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe top positive review of Atarax for anxiety is written by a user named “Sleepymama” who claims the drug helped reduce anxiety symptoms during their pregnancy:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003e“I love this medication. I was prescribed atarax at 35 weeks pregnant for insomnia and panic attacks\/GAD. I was having crazy nightmares before I started taking it as well. The first few times I took it, it made me very tired but eventually that stopped happening- it makes it easy for me to fall asleep but not overly tired, and I’m not groggy in the morning.”\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe top negative review of Atarax for anxiety comes from a user named “Sam” who gave the drug a 2\/10 rating and claims the drug made them too sleepy:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003e“I took 1\/2 tablet for the first time around 6:15 pm and I was out cold by 7 pm. I slept until 7:45 am and had to get up for an appointment. I could barely drag myself out of bed and if I hadn’t only been going 2 miles from home, I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself. I came home and slept on and off til about 3 pm, when I finally started to feel more like normal. I guess you could say it helped my anxiety, because you can’t feel anxious if you’re unconscious!”\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWas Atarax Discontinued?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/topics\/neuroscience\/hydroxyzine\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003erecent research review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, Atarax has been discontinued and is not available for sale in the U.S. It may be available in other countries. It’s unclear why the medication was discontinued, and it’s not due to safety concerns.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe FDA did not require that this drug be pulled from the market, so it seems more likely that the manufacturer simply removed Atarax from the market for business reasons.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would not recommend purchasing Atarax in jurisdictions where it’s not sold by the manufacturer, because this will increase the risk of a patient receiving fake or altered medication.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural Anxiety Treatment\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile Atarax can successfully treat anxiety, there are also OTC supplemental options that patients may want to consider, that can treat anxiety without many (or any) side effects.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAshwagandha is a root native to India that’s been studied extensively for anti-anxiety effects, and this supplement has been proven successful.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA recent \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6750292\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in 2019 tested ashwagandha extract supplementation at a daily dosage of 240 mg on patients that reported high stress levels. It was a very well-designed study in our opinion, because it was placebo-controlled and double-blinded, which means that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group was getting the active treatment and which was getting placebo. This methodology reduces the risk of biased results.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhat the study authors found was that ashwagandha supplementation reduced anxiety scores to a statistically significant degree, reduced levels of cortisol (which is a stress hormone that gets dysregulated in patients with anxiety), and even increased testosterone in male subjects.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29575228\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeta-review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of herbs that can treat psychological disorders found similar results after examining many individual medical trials on ashwagandha: the plant can reduce stress and cortisol levels in anxious patients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would recommend that patients only purchase ashwagandha from manufacturers that publish testing data proving their products are accurately labeled, as potent as advertised, and low in contaminants like heavy metals.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe dietary supplement industry in the U.S. has far fewer regulations than the pharmaceutical industry, so it’s important to vet brands extensively. Companies that won’t provide test results proving their products are safe are not worth trusting in our opinion. Testing is much cheaper than manufacturing, so there’s no excuse.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAtarax can successfully treat anxiety and appears to be safer than many other prescription anxiety medications. The drug doesn't have a black box warning and doesn’t appear to cause any serious adverse events such as suicide that are unfortunately common side effects based on other pharmaceutical reviews we've published.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe it makes sense for patients with anxiety to speak with their doctor about Atarax over other anxiety medications, because it seems logical to start on a drug with a lower risk of severe side effects. If Atarax is unsuccessful for relieving the patient's symptoms, it may make sense to choose another drug which may be more effective but may have a higher risk of side effects.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor patients seeking a more natural approach to treating anxiety, it may be worth speaking with their doctor about using ashwagandha. The herb has been studied extensively for its anxiolytic effect, and doesn't appear to cause any side effects when used at a proper dosage.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-07-18T14:11:42-04:00","updated_at":"2022-07-18T14:11:42-04:00","summary_html":"We review medical studies on anti-anxiety medication Atarax to determine if it's safe and effective for reducing anxiety. We explain how the drug works, highlight its side effects and suggest a natural anxiety alternative that may cause fewer side effects.","template_suffix":"","handle":"atarax-review","tags":"_related:anxiety"}

Atarax Review: Can An Allergy Drug Treat Anxiety?

Atarax Review: Can An Allergy Drug Treat Anxiety?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.

Atarax is a prescription drug used for the treatment of anxiety and allergic itching. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. to treat these conditions.

Atarax is the brand-name version of a medication with a generic name of hydroxyzine. These two drugs contain the exact same active chemical compound, so we will refer to them interchangeably throughout this article. Hydroxyzine is also sold under the brand name Vistaril.

It’s uncommon for an antihistamine to be prescribed to treat anxiety, given that the majority of the anxiety medications we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health such as Trintellix belong to a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Antihistamines are typically only used for allergy symptoms, and are typically available over-the-counter (OTC) without requiring a prescription. You may be familiar with brand name antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin.

In this article we’ll review published medical research on Atarax to find out if it’s safe and effective for anxiety, as well as explain how the medication works. We’ll also highlight an herbal supplement used for anxiety that patients may wish to speak to their doctor about.

Atarax For Anxiety

Atarax has been primarily studied as an anxiety treatment, and there exist many medical trials examining how effective the drug is. Many of these same trials were also reviewed in our hydroxyzine for anxiety reviews article.

A medical trial on Atarax for treatment of anxiety which was published in 1994 (proving how long this drug has been on the market) found that it worked better than a placebo pill both after one week and after four weeks.

Given that many prescription pills take weeks to start working. It’s a good sign that Atarax appears to work rapidly.

A more recent medical study analyzed five different medical trials on Atarax for anxiety. What the study authors found was that the drug was effective at treating symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and that it was similarly effective to other pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety such as benzodiazepines. 

Given that benzodiazepines may have more addictive potential, this is a promising sign.

We located one case report that trialed Atarax on patients diagnosed with panic disorder. The publication documented how the drug successfully treated a patient’s panic. While this is a good early sign, we don’t believe it’s enough information to suggest that the medication is effective for panic disorder overall. We look forward to future trials with a larger patient population testing Atarax for treating panic disorder.

We will conclude from the available research that Atarax is successful for treating anxiety and may be successful for treating panic, but more research is needed on the latter condition.

Atarax Side Effects

Atarax does cause side effects, but its side effect profile appears to be less severe than many prescription anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) drugs.

A medical review linked earlier in this article found that 52% of Atarax patients experienced side effects while taking the drug, compared with only 35% of those taking placebo pills. More than 50% of patients experiencing side effects is a relatively high rate.

Those taking Atarax were 14% more likely to experience sleepiness than those taking placebo, and those taking Atarax were also more likely to experience dry mouth and weight gain (9% and 2% respectively).

Atarax’s label does not contain a “black box” warning, which is issued by the FDA when a medication can cause severe and life-threatening side effects. As an example, we recently reviewed a prescription drug called Linzess with a black box warning indicating the drug can cause severe dehydration in children.

Overall, while Atarax does seem to cause side effects in a high percentage of patients, the severity of said side effects is less worrisome when compared to other medications used to treat anxiety.

How Does Atarax Work?

Medical studies haven’t cleared up the exact mechanism of action of Atarax, but it’s been proposed in medical reviews that the medication antagonizes receptors in the brain that influence serotonin levels. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is directly linked with mood, emotional state and sedation, so researchers propose that patients with anxiety disorders may have irregular metabolism of serotonin. Since Atarax normalizes levels of this neurotransmitter, it may be effective for patients whose anxiety is caused by dysfunctional serotonin metabolism.

The medical study linked above proposes that Atarax’s anxiolytic effect is also caused by its “suppression of certain subcortical regions”. This suggests that some patients have anxiety caused by overactivity in specific brain regions, which Atarax can successfully treat.

Atarax Generic Vs. Branded Version

Hydroxyzine is the generic version of the drug, while the branded version is called Atarax.

It can be confusing to some patients new to prescription medication, but these two names refer to the exact same active chemical compound. Thus patients are often curious about which version they should take.

While we can’t recommend one drug over another, we typically recommend that patients speak with their doctor about hydroxyzine rather than Atarax, because it’s typically cheaper to purchase the generic version, and it should work just as well.

An extensive medical study published in the PLOS Medicine journal compared whether branded or generic drugs were more effective, and the study authors reported that generic drugs were just as effective on average.

This result is what one would expect, considering that generic and brand-name drugs contain the same compound, but this study is a useful tool to convince patients influenced by marketing that generic versions of drugs may be the more logical option.

Atarax For Sleep

Many antihistamines such as Atarax cause sleepiness as a side effect. However, we wouldn’t recommend that patients take the drug for sleep alone, because that would be an off-label use as it’s not approved by the FDA to treat sleep disorders. 

The potential sedative effect of Atarax may be a secondary benefit for patients with both anxiety and sleep disorders, but the drug can only be prescribed to treat anxiety or allergic itching.

There does exist some medical research suggesting that Atarax can successfully treat insomnia in hospital settings, but we haven't found any studies proving that the medication is effective for healthy, non-anxious patients with insomnia.

A meta-study of drugs used for insomnia reported the following: “there are few data to support [Atarax’s] efficacy or safety for this indication.”

Atarax Vs. Vistaril

Vistaril and Atarax contain the same base chemical compound and contain a very similar formulation. Atarax has hydroxyzine hydrochloride as the active ingredient, while Vistaril has hydroxyzine pamoate. Patients are often curious about which drug has superior efficacy.

Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any medical studies testing the two drugs against one another. Because both were approved by the FDA, we would consider them equivalently effective and would not recommend one over the other.

Atarax is sold in liquid and capsule form, while Vistaril is formulated as a liquid and tablet. Tablets may be safer for some elderly patients who have trouble swallowing capsules whole.

Atarax Dosage

According to StatPearls, which is a free medical database maintained by the National Library of Medicine in the U.S., Atarax’s dosage generally ranges between 25 milligrams (mg) and 100 mg, and is taken three to four times daily. This equals a broad total daily dose range of 75 mg to 400 mg.

Patients using Atarax for allergies generally take a lower dose than those taking the medication for anxiety.

Doctors will typically prescribe a dose in the lower end of the range, and gradually up the dose if the patient isn’t experiencing benefit. If a patient can achieve symptom reduction or elimination at a lower dose, they’re less likely to experience side effects than someone taking the drug at a higher dose.

Atarax User Reviews

Atarax has been reviewed over 100 times on Drugs.com; a website which allows patients to publish their experience of prescription drugs. We cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any user reports from this site.

Interestingly, the average rating of Atarax for allergies is much higher (8.4 out of 10) than the drug’s rating for anxiety (5.8 out of 10). The drug’s overall rating is 6.2 out of 10.

The top positive review of Atarax for anxiety is written by a user named “Sleepymama” who claims the drug helped reduce anxiety symptoms during their pregnancy:

“I love this medication. I was prescribed atarax at 35 weeks pregnant for insomnia and panic attacks/GAD. I was having crazy nightmares before I started taking it as well. The first few times I took it, it made me very tired but eventually that stopped happening- it makes it easy for me to fall asleep but not overly tired, and I’m not groggy in the morning.”

The top negative review of Atarax for anxiety comes from a user named “Sam” who gave the drug a 2/10 rating and claims the drug made them too sleepy:

“I took 1/2 tablet for the first time around 6:15 pm and I was out cold by 7 pm. I slept until 7:45 am and had to get up for an appointment. I could barely drag myself out of bed and if I hadn’t only been going 2 miles from home, I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself. I came home and slept on and off til about 3 pm, when I finally started to feel more like normal. I guess you could say it helped my anxiety, because you can’t feel anxious if you’re unconscious!”

Was Atarax Discontinued?

According to a recent research review, Atarax has been discontinued and is not available for sale in the U.S. It may be available in other countries. It’s unclear why the medication was discontinued, and it’s not due to safety concerns.

The FDA did not require that this drug be pulled from the market, so it seems more likely that the manufacturer simply removed Atarax from the market for business reasons.

We would not recommend purchasing Atarax in jurisdictions where it’s not sold by the manufacturer, because this will increase the risk of a patient receiving fake or altered medication.

Natural Anxiety Treatment

While Atarax can successfully treat anxiety, there are also OTC supplemental options that patients may want to consider, that can treat anxiety without many (or any) side effects.

Ashwagandha is a root native to India that’s been studied extensively for anti-anxiety effects, and this supplement has been proven successful.

A recent medical study published in 2019 tested ashwagandha extract supplementation at a daily dosage of 240 mg on patients that reported high stress levels. It was a very well-designed study in our opinion, because it was placebo-controlled and double-blinded, which means that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group was getting the active treatment and which was getting placebo. This methodology reduces the risk of biased results.

What the study authors found was that ashwagandha supplementation reduced anxiety scores to a statistically significant degree, reduced levels of cortisol (which is a stress hormone that gets dysregulated in patients with anxiety), and even increased testosterone in male subjects.

A meta-review of herbs that can treat psychological disorders found similar results after examining many individual medical trials on ashwagandha: the plant can reduce stress and cortisol levels in anxious patients.

We would recommend that patients only purchase ashwagandha from manufacturers that publish testing data proving their products are accurately labeled, as potent as advertised, and low in contaminants like heavy metals.

The dietary supplement industry in the U.S. has far fewer regulations than the pharmaceutical industry, so it’s important to vet brands extensively. Companies that won’t provide test results proving their products are safe are not worth trusting in our opinion. Testing is much cheaper than manufacturing, so there’s no excuse.

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Conclusion

Atarax can successfully treat anxiety and appears to be safer than many other prescription anxiety medications. The drug doesn't have a black box warning and doesn’t appear to cause any serious adverse events such as suicide that are unfortunately common side effects based on other pharmaceutical reviews we've published.

We believe it makes sense for patients with anxiety to speak with their doctor about Atarax over other anxiety medications, because it seems logical to start on a drug with a lower risk of severe side effects. If Atarax is unsuccessful for relieving the patient's symptoms, it may make sense to choose another drug which may be more effective but may have a higher risk of side effects.

For patients seeking a more natural approach to treating anxiety, it may be worth speaking with their doctor about using ashwagandha. The herb has been studied extensively for its anxiolytic effect, and doesn't appear to cause any side effects when used at a proper dosage.





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