Pain Home > Vistaril

Vistaril is an antihistamine medication used for treating a variety of conditions, such as nausea and allergic reactions to opioids. It can also improve the effectiveness of opioid pain relievers. The medication comes in the form of capsules, an oral solution, or injections, and is typically taken two to four times a day. Possible side effects may include dry mouth, drowsiness, and headaches.

What Is Vistaril?

Vistaril® (hydroxyzine) is a prescription drug licensed for a variety of different uses. It is probably used most commonly as an antihistamine (for allergic reactions or itching reactions to opioids), as a nausea medication, and as a medicine to improve the effectiveness of opioid pain relievers.
(Click Vistaril Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Vistaril?

Brand-name Vistaril is made by Pfizer, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Vistaril belongs to a group of medications known commonly as antihistamines. It works for allergic reactions (or itching reactions to opioids) by blocking histamine receptors. It probably works for anxiety by affecting certain parts of the brain. Vistaril also can cause relaxation of skeletal muscles.
Vistaril also blocks acetylcholine receptors, which is probably why it helps to alleviate nausea.

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations include the following:
  • Vistaril comes in the form of capsules, suspension (oral liquid), and injections (available only in generic form). It is usually taken two to four times daily.
  • It does not matter if you take Vistaril with or without food.
  • Make sure to shake Vistaril oral suspension well before each dose.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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