Meet Jane, a dedicated nurse working long hours to care for her patients. After a demanding shift, she craves a good night’s sleep. But sleep doesn’t come easy.
Jane has tried everything, from herbal teas to meditation, but the realm of dreams continues to elude her. Then, she remembers a medication her doctor once mentioned—hydroxyzine, a drug that could potentially be her ticket to restful nights.
But questions linger in her mind: How long does hydroxyzine last? Will it provide the uninterrupted sleep she needs to face her demanding job?
Almost all of us can relate to Jane’s woes, so learning about effective sleep solutions can benefit everyone. We’ll present what you need to know about hydroxyzine and why you should combine it or any other sleep medication with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) to achieve lasting results.
How Long Does It Last for Sleep?
Source: Miriam Alonso
Hydroxyzine is a fast-acting medication—its sedative effects typically begin within 15–30 minutes of taking it. After about two hours, it reaches the highest concentration in the body, and its effects subside around 4–6 hours after administration, offering ample time for sleep.
The duration of hydroxyzine’s effects varies from one patient to another, depending on the following factors:
- Age—Drug absorption is slower in elderly people due to reduced metabolism, so hydroxyzine’s effects may subside later
- Body weight—A higher body weight may lead to longer retention of the drug
- Health history—Liver and kidney diseases slow down hydroxyzine’s elimination
- Dosage—Larger doses of hydroxyzine increase the duration of its effects
- Taking other medications—Certain drugs slow down the metabolism of hydroxyzine, prolonging its effects
How Long Does It Stay in Your System?
The time your body needs to eliminate a drug is measured in half-lives—the period it takes to reduce the concentration by 50%. The half-life of hydroxyzine is about 20 hours in adults. It takes around five half-lives for your system to metabolize the drug.
In healthy users, hydroxyzine should leave the body after around 100 hours—a little over four days.
Patients who experience drowsiness or other effects more than five days after discontinuing treatment should consult their healthcare providers. Prolonged effects indicate slow metabolism, interaction with other medications, or other underlying factors requiring immediate attention.
Hydroxyzine Dosage Guidelines
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Hydroxyzine is available in four doses:
- 10 mg
- 25 mg
- 50 mg
- 100 mg
The typical hydroxyzine starting dose for treating sleep issues is between 10–50 mg, but the dosage depends on your age, health history, and the medications you’re currently taking.
You should take hydroxyzine 30 minutes before bedtime and ensure you can sleep for at least seven hours to benefit from its full potential. Still, you should stick to the prescribed dosage and follow your doctor’s instructions. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible—unless it’s time for your next dose soon.
How Long Should You Take Hydroxyzine for Sleep?
In the treatment of sleep and anxiety issues, hydroxyzine should be used for a maximum duration of 3–4 months. Clinical studies confirmed the positive results of the drug over three months in adult patients. Still, there’s limited information on the effects of using hydroxyzine in the long-term treatment of sleep issues.
While hydroxyzine does not carry the risk of addiction, you should follow your healthcare provider’s instructions to avoid developing psychological dependence or experiencing side effects.
Can Hydroxyzine Resolve Your Sleep Issues?
Hydroxyzine can help with sleeplessness, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for complex issues like insomnia. You should visit a specialist to get the best treatment. Primary healthcare providers often prescribe controlled drugs like Ambien and Sonata, which, while beneficial in the short term, may not address the root causes of sleep issues. This is where Kick’s innovative approach comes in.
Kick is a leading online performance medicine clinic that offers a holistic and customized approach to addressing sleep issues. By integrating prescription medications like hydroxyzine with sleep therapy, Kick provides a well-rounded strategy for achieving restful sleep.
Kick—Better Sleep, Better Performance
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Kick’s efficient sleep program is led by Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a distinguished sleep specialist with a Stanford affiliation. The experience and expertise of our team of sleep doctors underscore the program’s credibility and commitment to delivering top-notch care and guidance.
Your designated doctor will work with you to understand your unique needs, ensuring your treatment is tailored to your age, lifestyle, and health history. Kick also introduces a remarkable feature—two personalized trial prescriptions that allow you to find the most effective option quickly. Our sleep medications include the following off-label prescriptions:
Kick’s sleep specialist will also offer ongoing coaching and support, including tips on healthy sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) best practices to improve your sleep. This multifaceted approach has earned Kick a string of positive reviews on Trustpilot, demonstrating our sleep program’s effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
Our team will analyze your medical information, and if they decide Kick is not the optimal solution for your sleep issues, they’ll refer you to your primary healthcare provider. In such cases, you won’t pay for the initial consultation as per our Doctor Guarantee.
With Kick, you can communicate with sleep specialists, receive practical advice, and get prescription medication shipped directly to your home or nearest local pharmacy. This ease of access and delivery, coupled with a customized treatment plan, make Kick a preferred choice for many dealing with sleep issues.
How Kick Works
Starting your journey to better sleep with Kick begins with three simple steps:
- Navigate to the signup page and initiate your 15-minute sleep visit
- Complete a brief questionnaire by providing details about your sleep issue and medical history
- Input your delivery address and payment information
Your designated sleep doctor will review your details and prescribe two trial medications tailored to your needs. They will also check in with you monthly to track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
This streamlined process allows you to skip the long waiting times and extensive travel that seeing a sleep specialist usually entails because experts in the field are scarce. Kick offers a convenient solution to sleeplessness, and you can get a good night’s sleep quickly.
Potential Side Effects
Hydroxyzine carries the risk of side effects, but most are manageable.
The most common ones are:
- Drowsiness—Patients should take hydroxyzine at bedtime to benefit from its sedative effects. They should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery the next day if drowsiness persists
- Dry mouth—Patients can solve this issue by staying hydrated. Drinking water or consuming sugarless candies offers some relief
- Dizziness—Patients should get up slowly from sitting or lying positions to prevent lightheadedness
- Blurred vision—Patients should avoid activities requiring sharp focus until their vision returns to normal
- Gastrointestinal upset—Taking hydroxyzine with food or milk may help alleviate this discomfort
- Constipation—Patients should drink plenty of water, include fiber-rich foods in their diets, and stay physically active
More serious side effects of hydroxyzine may include the following:
- Allergic reactions
- Mood or mental changes
- Severe drowsiness
- Tremors or seizures
- Fast or irregular heartbeats
- Difficulty urinating
- Yellowing of the eyes/skin
Clinical studies show that most patients tolerate hydroxyzine without experiencing these adverse reactions. Still, patients who experience frequent or severe side effects should inform their healthcare providers, who will provide specific guidance and treatment tailored to their needs to avoid severe side effects and ensure their safety while using the drug.
Alternatives To Consider
Source: Ron Lach
If you’re considering hydroxyzine for sleep issues, consult a healthcare professional. After a thorough evaluation, they will help you decide whether hydroxyzine is the right choice for you or if you should explore alternatives, including the following:
- Ativan (Lorazepam)
- Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCl)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Valium (Diazepam)
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
Food and Drug Interactions To Be Aware of When Using Hydroxyzine for Sleep
When using hydroxyzine for sleep, you should consider the potential interactions with food and other drugs. These interactions can affect how hydroxyzine works in your body and increase the risk of side effects.
Potential Hydroxyzine Interactions With Other Drugs
Clinical studies show that using hydroxyzine with other medications may contribute to the drug’s side effects. Check out the table below for more details:
You should inform your healthcare provider if you’re using any medication or have a condition because this list is not exhaustive.
Potential Hydroxyzine Interactions With Food and Alcohol
Hydroxyzine also interacts with certain foods and alcohol, as shown in the following table:
Hydroxyzine is generally safe to take with food, but you should inform your primary care physician if you’re allergic to any food or substance for specific guidance.
Featured image source: Timur Weber