Sleep problems are common, with recent statistics showing that about 14.5% of adults in the U.S. had trouble falling asleep 30 days back. The high prevalence of sleep issues underscores the importance of finding effective sleep aids.
Hydroxyzine can be effective in treating short-term insomnia, especially when combined with healthy sleep hygiene. But, like most drugs, hydroxyzine carries the risk of side effects. We’ll discuss hydroxyzine’s unwanted reactions, including the connection between hydroxyzine and weight loss, among other concerns.
How Hydroxyzine Works—Basic Facts
Hydroxyzine works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic and anaphylactic symptoms. It also slows down the activity in the subcortical area of the central nervous system, contributing to the drug’s sedative properties and helping induce sleep.
Clinical studies show that patients who took hydroxyzine experienced reduced anxiety, improved relaxation, and more restful nights than those who took the placebo. However, while the medication can be effective in treating sleep issues related to anxiety, it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Does Hydroxyzine Cause Weight Loss?
There’s not enough information to claim that hydroxyzine causes weight loss. Still, some patients may experience side effects that affect their appetite, potentially causing weight changes. Check out how some unwanted reactions to hydroxyzine may contribute to weight loss in the table below:
The connection between hydroxyzine and weight loss isn’t definitively established. You should consult your healthcare provider if you experience unexplained weight gain or loss after using this medication.
Hydroxyzine and Diarrhea
Some patients may experience diarrhea when taking hydroxyzine. The medication may cause gastrointestinal irritation, resulting in loose bowel movements. This side effect is typically manageable and may subside naturally over time.
If the diarrhea is severe, follow these five steps:
- Stay hydrated—Diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Drink more water and other clear liquids to replace the fluids lost because of loose stool
- Eat bland foods—Spicy or greasy foods can worsen diarrhea. Opt for bland foods instead
- Avoid certain medications—If you’re using stool softeners, laxatives, or other drugs that can cause loose stool, talk to your doctor about adjusting the treatment
- Consider probiotics—Talk to your healthcare provider about taking supplements containing healthy bacteria (probiotics) or eating yogurt. Some of these products may reduce the risk of diarrhea
Persistent diarrhea can contribute to weight loss. If the diarrhea is severe, you should inform your doctor immediately.
Can Hydroxyzine Cause Lightheadedness?
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Hydroxyzine can cause dizziness and drowsiness, leading to a feeling of lightheadedness. While these effects may wear off naturally, especially if you sleep for at least seven hours after taking the medication, you should watch out for daytime effects like brain fog and poor balance.
Some tips for managing lightheadedness after taking this medicine are:
- Lie down—Rest until the dizziness subsides, then get up slowly
- Move slowly and carefully—Quick movements can exacerbate feelings of lightheadedness
- Stay hydrated—Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- Avoid certain substances—Taking alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, or other drugs may enhance this side effect
- Avoid activities that require sharp focus—These include driving and operating heavy machinery
Persistent lightheadedness and drowsiness can cause the loss of appetite and contribute to weight loss, so you should inform your doctor if these effects don’t subside.
Hydroxyzine—Is It Effective for Sleep?
Hydroxyzine can be effective for sleep, but results may vary based on your lifestyle, medical history, and specific sleep problems. Insomnia can stem from several complex issues, so the drug alone may not provide a sustainable solution. The best treatment combines gentle medications like hydroxyzine with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) to address the root causes of your sleeplessness.
Rather than only treating the symptoms, the holistic approach leads to more effective and long-lasting relief. To get a treatment plan tailored to your specific sleep problems and health status, you should see a sleep specialist. However, with less than 1% of U.S. healthcare professionals specializing in sleep medicine, getting an appointment may require a long wait.
The fantastic news is that Kick, a telemedicine performance clinic, has an excellent sleep program that lets you skip the waiting line and begin treatment almost instantly.
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Kick—Better Sleep, Better Performance
When you join the program, our expert will prescribe two trial medications to reduce the risk of dependence on one drug and optimize the treatment quickly. Getting the medication is easy—you can either collect it from your nearest pharmacy or choose convenient doorstep delivery.
Your doctor will check in with you each month and adjust the treatment if the initial approach doesn’t yield the desired results. Our expert will also offer tips on cultivating healthy sleep hygiene, helping you get comprehensive treatment.
Getting Started With Kick
Joining Kick is effortless. Follow these steps to get started:
- Go to our signup page to begin your brief visit
- Enter the required details to help us understand your sleep issues and medical history
- Choose between home delivery or local pharmacy pickup
The consultation happens online and takes only 15 minutes. Our expert will review your information within 24 hours and select a safe and effective treatment based on your case. If your designated doctor deems Kick isn’t the right fit for you, you won’t pay for the initial consultation as per our Doctor Guarantee.
Kick’s sleep program has earned stellar ratings on Trustpilot, showing that it has helped many patients regain restorative sleep and look forward to joyful mornings. Sign up for our program to experience the benefits first-hand.
What Happens if You Take Hydroxyzine Every Night?
Taking hydroxyzine every night increases the risk of side effects like headache, brain fog, and fatigue. Elderly patients may experience more concerning side effects like confusion, drowsiness, and liver or kidney problems. Long-term use may also lead to hydroxyzine tolerance, making it ineffective for you.
The medication is intended for short-term use, typically 3–4 months maximum. You can only take the drug every night if instructed by a healthcare professional. In that case, you should take your medicine as prescribed to reduce the risk of unwanted reactions and get the best results.
Hydroxyzine Side Effects—FAQ
Check out some frequently asked questions regarding the side effects of hydroxyzine.
Does Hydroxyzine Cause Water Retention?
Water retention isn’t a commonly reported side effect of hydroxyzine, but some patients reported it when taking the medication. For example, hydroxyzine has been associated with urinary retention, a condition where the bladder doesn’t empty. This could potentially lead to fluid buildup (edema) in the legs. Symptoms of urinary retention may include the following:
- Difficulty starting a urine stream
- The urge to urinate frequently
- Weak urine flow
- Feeling like your bladder isn't empty after urination
Other signs of edema to watch out for include swelling in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or legs, weight gain, and bloating or puffiness. If you notice these symptoms while taking hydroxyzine, contact your doctor immediately. They can help determine whether the medication is causing these side effects and discuss potential alternatives, such as:
You shouldn’t stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your healthcare provider.
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Does Hydroxyzine Cause Dry Eyes?
Hydroxyzine can cause dry eyes and blurred vision. These adverse reactions occur because the drug blocks the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the body, reducing tear production and resulting in dry eyes.
If you experience dry eyes or blurred vision while taking hydroxyzine, follow these guidelines:
Can Hydroxyzine Cause Tremor?
Tremor is a rare side effect of hydroxyzine, occurring in 0.01% to 0.1% of patients. The exact mechanism by which hydroxyzine could cause tremors isn’t fully understood, but it may be related to its potential to lower the seizure threshold. This could disrupt the balance between excitatory and inhibitory activity in the brain, increasing the risk of seizures.
The symptoms of a seizure may include:
- Temporary confusion
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of consciousness
- Staring spells
- Jerking movements
- Lip smacking or chewing movements
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Combining hydroxyzine with other drugs that lower the seizure threshold may contribute to the risk of unwanted reactions. Some such medications are:
- Antipsychotic medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
Does Hydroxyzine Cause Dry Mouth?
Hydroxyzine can cause dry mouth, but this side effect can be alleviated by drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum. When taking hydroxyzine, you should avoid substances that may dry out your mouth, such as tobacco.
These side effects aren’t exhaustive. You should talk to your doctor about what other potential unwanted reactions to hydroxyzine are and how to take this drug safely. Inform your doctor about any medicines or substances you use before taking hydroxyzine.
Featured image source: Vika Glitter