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Treatments > Medications Used In MS


Brand Name Chemical Name

Atarax

Hydroxyzine
(hye-DROX-I-zeen)

Primary Usage in MS

Generic Available
Itching Yes

Description
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergy. In MS it is used to relieve the symptoms of pruritis or paroxysmal itching-one of the sensory symptoms, or dysesthesias, which can be associated with MS.

Proper Usage
Tell your physician if you are on a low-sodium, low-sugar or any other special diet before using hydroxyzine.

Tell your physician if you have any of these medical problems: enlarged prostate; urinary difficulties; glaucoma; heart arrhythmias; low blood potassium levels; liver disease.

Before taking hydroxyzine you should inform your physician if you are taking aspirin on a regular basis.

Precautions
Hydroxyzine will add to the effect of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants such as sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping medications, prescription pain medications, barbiturates, seizure medications, muscle relaxants, and anesthetics including dental anesthetics.

Hydroxyzine may cause drowsiness and make you less alert. You should be familiar with the effects of this drug before driving or using machinery.

Hydroxyzine may cause dryness of the mouth, nose and throat. If dryness continues for more than two weeks check with your physician or dentist as prolonged dryness may cause dental disease.

Hydroxyzine may cause nausea or vomiting, which may cover up the symptoms of overdose or appendicitis.

Most antihistamines have not been studied in pregnant women; some animal studies have shown increased birth defects.

Antihistamines pass into breast milk. They may also decrease the flow of breast milk in some patients. Babies may also be susceptible to side effects such as irritability or excitement.

Possible Side Effects
Side effects that usually go away as your body adjusts to the medication and do not require medical attention unless they persist or are bothersome: drowsiness; thickened mucus; blurred vision*; difficult urination*; dizziness; dry mouth; fast heartbeat; sensitivity to sun; appetite changes; nightmares; ringing or buzzing in the ears; skin rash; stomach upset; nervousness or restlessness.

Side effects that should be discussed with your physician as soon as possible: fast or irregular heartbeat; sore throat and fever; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness * or weakness*.

Symptoms of overdose include: clumsiness or unsteadiness; seizures; severe drowsiness; feeling faint; flushing; hallucinations; shortness of breath; sleeping difficulties.

*Since it may be difficult to distinguish between certain common symptoms of MS and some side effects of hydroxyzine, be sure to consult your health care professional if an abrupt change of this type occurs.

Medication Index

About Itching

About Anticonvulsants

About Antidepressants


Reprinted with permission from Rosalind C. Kalb (ed.), Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have—The Answers You Need, 3rd Edition. New York: Demos Medical Publishing, Inc., 2004

Last updated December 21, 2004

     

 

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