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First Aid for Hydroxyzine Overdose

Last updated Feb. 24, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

Hydroxyzine is a medication that is used to relieve motion sickness, dermatitis, anxiety, and allergy. Hydroxyzine Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the drug in dosage higher than the prescribed values.


What is Hydroxyzine Overdose?

  • Hydroxyzine is a medication that is used to relieve motion sickness, dermatitis, anxiety, and allergy
  • Hydroxyzine Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the drug in dosage higher than the prescribed values.
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Hydroxyzine Overdose may be also referred to as the following:

  • Atarax Overdose
  • Vistaril Overdose

What are the Causes of Hydroxyzine Overdose?

  • Hydroxyzine Overdose is caused by intake of hydroxyzine containing medication in an amount that is higher than the recommended amounts
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • It is sold as Durrax, Vistaril, Atarax, Rezine and Ucerax among others

Note: The drug can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of the drug or other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects (such as an overdose).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hydroxyzine Overdose?

The signs and symptoms of Hydroxyzine Overdose can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the nervous system, vascular system, respiratory system, and urinary system may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Hydroxyzine Overdose include

  • Depressed breathing rate; shallow breath
  • Dizziness, lack of alertness
  • Confusion, hallucination
  • Increased excitement; in some cases, depression
  • Increased heart rate; decreased blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Palpitations
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty with urination
  • Flushed skin
  • Convulsions
  • Lack of coordination, tremors, and muscle spasms
  • Coma

How is First Aid administered for Hydroxyzine Overdose?

First Aid tips for Hydroxyzine Overdose:

  • Hydroxyzine Overdose can be a life-threatening condition. If someone is suspected to have overdosed on hydroxyzine, call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance immediately
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Determine the amount and type of medication taken, time of consumption, patient’s age, weight and general health status
  • Take individual to emergency room for further treatment
  • Always try to take the medication strip/bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might take the following steps for treatment:

  • Administration of laxatives for elimination of drug
  • Gastric lavage for elimination of drug from the stomach
  • Administration of activated charcoal to prevent absorption of the drug
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and breathing difficulty
  • Also, relieve respiratory distress with an artificial respirator and administer fluids by an IV drip 
  • Administration of a hydroxyzine antidote

Who should administer First Aid for Hydroxyzine Overdose?

First aid for Hydroxyzine Overdose is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who overdosed, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Hydroxyzine Overdose?

The prognosis of a Hydroxyzine Overdose is dependent on the amount of drug taken, time from overdose to treatment, severity of the symptoms, and general health status of individual who overdosed.

  • The prognosis can be complicated due the drug’s effect on the nervous system
  • If the patient survives the first 24 hours, the prognosis is usually good
  • In case of severe symptoms including abnormal heart-rates, seizures, and coma, it may considerably worsen the outcome. Severe cases of overdose are even known to be fatal

In general, overdoses are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Hydroxyzine Overdose be Prevented?

Hydroxyzine overdose can be prevented by:

  • Always taking the right dose of medication at recommended times
  • Exercising caution while taking multiple drugs with hydroxyzine or extended release medications
  • Avoiding drugs that interact with hydroxyzine
  • Exercising caution while taking other antihistamines, while already taking hydroxyzine
  • Refrain from self-medication
  • Keeping medications out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • For older individuals and those who tend to be forgetful, medications should be stored in single dose containers with time labels, to avoid multiple dosage
  • Monitor intake of this drug especially in patients, who have depression or harbor suicidal thoughts and behavior

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, dosage and time of administration of medication
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 6, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 24, 2018