Generic name: Hydroxyzine hydrochloride.

Other brand names: Anxanil, Vistaril.

Atarax is an antihistamine. It works by blocking the effects of histamine, a body chemical that typically causes swelling and itching. 

Quick Facts About Atarax


Used to treat common anxiety and tension, and in combination with other medications to treat anxiety resulting from physical illness. Also used to treat itching from allergic reactions, and as a sedative before and after general anesthesia.

Atarax Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed. Treatment that begins with injections can be continued in tablet form. Not intended for long-term use — no more than 4 months. If taking narcotics, non-narcotic analgesics, or barbiturates with Atarax, their dosage should be reduced.

  • Usual adult dose: for anxiety and tension — 50 to 100 milligrams 4 times per day. For itching from allergies — 25 milligrams, 3 or 4 times per day. Before and after general anesthesia — 50 to 100 milligrams.
  • Usual child dose: for anxiety and tension under age 6 — 50 milligrams per day total, divided into several smaller doses; for anxiety and tension over age 6 — 50 to 100 milligrams per day, divided into smaller doses. For itching from allergies under age 6 — 50 milligrams per day total, divided into several smaller doses; for itching from allergies over age 6 — 50 to 100 milligrams per day, divided into several smaller doses. Before and after general anesthesia — 0.6 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. If so, skip missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Atarax Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

most common is oversedation; drop in blood pressure, although rare, is another symptom. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: drowsiness.

Less common Atarax side effects: convulsions, dry mouth, tremors, twitches.


Inform your doctor before combining Atarax with:

barbiturates such as Seconal and Phenobarbital, narcotics such as Demerol and Percocet, non-narcotic analgesics such as Motrin and Tylenol.

Do not combine alcohol with this medication; may intensify the effects of alcohol. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Should not be taken in early pregnancy. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Follow doctor’s instructions carefully for children.

  • May cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • If allergic to Atarax, should not take.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Atarax side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.