Common brand names: Atarax, Vistaril


Description: Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine drug that relaxes patients, induces drowsiness and prevents nausea and vomiting.


Dental uses: Hydroxyzine can be used alone in adult dental patients as a mild antianxiety agent, but its most frequent use is to sedate uncooperative pediatric dental patients when used in combination with chloral hydrate. In children, hydroxyzine increases the sedative effects of chloral hydrate while reducing that drug’s incidence of nausea and vomiting.


Dosages for dental purposes: The adult dose of hydroxyzine ranges from 25 milligrams to 100 milligrams taken one hour prior to the dental procedure. In children, hydroxyzine usually is administered as a syrup 30 minutes to one hour prior to the dental procedure, with the dose based on the child’s body weight at a dose no greater than 0.6 milligrams per kilogram (one kilogram equals 2.2 pounds).


Concerns and possible side effects: Hydroxyzine is generally a very well-tolerated drug. The most common side effects are drowsiness and a dry mouth (xerostomia). Adult patients should not operate dangerous machinery or drive automobiles for up to 24 hours after receiving hydroxyzine. In children, hydroxyzine usually will be administered in combination with chloral hydrate by a pediatric dentist. The combination tends to produce a much greater degree of drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination than either drug alone. Therefore, following the dental procedure, children should be well supervised at home and refrain from outdoor activities for the remainder of the day.

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