Even though alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the United States, many Americans accept and utilize it. More than 50 percent of US adults regularly use alcohol. While it is widely known that alcohol should not be used with certain medications, such as narcotics like opioids or benzodiazepines, many individuals do not think twice about mixing alcohol with medications. However, mixing alcohol with other substances might have adverse side effects.
Hydroxyzine is a commonly prescribed medication that is often combined with alcohol. Although hydroxyzine is generally harmless and not a habit-forming medication when used alone, it can be extremely harmful and potentially addicting when mixed with alcohol.
What is Hydroxyzine?
Hydroxyzine is an FDA-approved antihistamine prescription medication sold under the brand names Atarax and Vistaril. Hydroxyzine comes in two different forms: hydroxyzine hydrochloride and hydroxyzine pamoate. It is available in capsules, pills, syrups, and an oral suspension, all taken orally.
The prescription drug works by inhibiting the action of histamine, a chemical in the body that triggers allergy symptoms. Hydroxyzine is used to treat anxiety disorders because it reduces activity in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). Unlike certain medications used to prevent anxiety, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), hydroxyzine can assist reduce active anxiety symptoms.
Doctors recommend not mixing hydroxyzine with alcohol or other CNS depressants. This is because hydroxyzine might amplify the severe side effects of other depressants.
Common Side Effects of Hydroxyzine and Alcohol Interaction
People who consume both alcohol and hydroxyzine will experience the effects of both. The exact effects and reactions caused by regular hydroxyzine and alcohol usage are determined by whether you drink more alcohol in proportion to hydroxyzine or more hydroxyzine in relation to alcohol.
However, typical side effects of combining alcohol and hydroxyzine include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Respiratory depression
- Low blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Allergic reactions
- Dry mouth
Accidents and Injuries
Because hydroxyzine and alcohol are both CNS depressants, they might impair a person’s responses, perception, and decision-making abilities. People under the influence of alcohol or drugs may make the life-altering decision to drive behind the wheel, which may end in a DUI/DWI, car accident, or injury. They may also have poor coordination, making them more prone to physical mishaps and injuries.
Dependence and Addiction
Taking hydroxyzine and alcohol combined to become more intoxicated intentionally has not only immediate dangers but also long-term risks with a range of unwanted side effects. People who abuse alcohol and hydroxyzine are more likely to develop physical dependency and addiction.
It might be challenging to stop using hydroxyzine and alcohol once addiction has developed. Addicted people may also be more likely to consume these substances excessively, raising the risk of accidents, injuries, and drug overdose.
Interestingly, due to each person’s distinct genetic composition and tolerance, it is hard to predict how hydroxyzine and alcohol affect them. Because of the possibility of mild, moderate, and severe side effects, it is never recommended to combine hydroxyzine with alcohol.
If you experience an unfavorable reaction after mixing hydroxyzine and alcohol, go to the nearest emergency hospital immediately.
People More At Risk When Combining Alcohol and Hydroxyzine
Everyone experiences the effects of hydroxyzine and alcohol abuse differently. However, certain people may be more impacted by alcohol and hydroxyzine. Older adults and people using other medications that affect the central nervous system (CNS) may be more vulnerable to health conditions.
Your body’s tolerance to alcohol decreases as you age. Older people, those who are 60 and above, experience the effects of alcohol more intensely and swiftly than younger ones.
As a result, drinking alcohol while taking hydroxyzine may be riskier for older people since it increases the chance of severe sleepiness. Alcohol usage can also worsen some common medical conditions in elderly patients, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
People Taking Other Medications Affecting CNS
Hydroxyzine is a CNS depressant. When used with alcohol and other CNS-focused drugs, the risk of side effects for all substances increases. Several medications fit under this category, for example:
- Narcotic medications
- Non-narcotic pain killers
- Non-benzodiazepine sedatives
When to See a Doctor?
Talk to your doctor about medication or alternative treatment options if you are dealing with anxiety issues and want to alleviate your symptoms.
While it may be difficult to discuss questions regarding alcohol intake with a medical professional, it is crucial to explain your habits honestly and openly so that they can adequately prescribe medicine and provide recommendations.
Let your healthcare provider know if you are taking hydroxyzine and want to know about alcohol use. If you are getting treatment for anxiety, it might feel overwhelming to give up alcohol altogether.
However, your medical provider can offer you specialized guidance and recommendations. When it comes to your specific situation, nothing can replace professional medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you take hydroxyzine if you drink alcohol?
Taking hydroxyzine while drinking alcohol will worsen both substances’ harmful effects and reduce mental alertness. This can produce tiredness and cognitive impairment, in addition to the impact of alcohol consumption. Individuals may also have dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and impaired judgment and memory. This combination can also lead to different liver problems and heart problems. Other symptoms might worsen, including nausea, dry mouth, and upset stomach.
How long after I take hydroxyzine Can I drink alcohol?
If you have stopped taking hydroxyzine, you should not consume alcohol for at least 48 to 60 hours (2 to 2.5 days). However, when you start drinking, be aware of the potential risks of replacing alcohol with hydroxyzine, especially if you have been using hydroxyzine to alleviate anxiety symptoms.
What happens if you take 71 doses of 25-mg hydroxyzine?
You will have dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, stomach upset, and headache. Convulsions, seizures, and a slew of other terrible things. If you took it or intend to take it, don’t; if you did, get immediate medical attention, call an ambulance, or go to a medical emergency department.
Get Back To Your Active Life with The Recovery Team
At The Recovery Team, treatment usually begins with medical detox, during which patients are medically monitored as they withdraw. Once the patient’s body has stabilized and severe withdrawal symptoms have subsided, patients can go to inpatient or outpatient treatment, where they will participate in various therapies (CBT, DBT, EMDR) and educational programs to learn how to stay sober.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol or substance use disorder, remember that professional medical help is available. Our staff at The Recovery Team is dedaicated to assisting you in getting and staying healthy.
Contact us at (800) 817-1247 today for additional information.