Antihistamine for Anxiety: Uses and Side Effects

Antihistamine is an alternative to traditional antidepressants that are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety. They are known as well-tolerable with a small potential for side effects however like other medications they may have contraindications interactions as well as precautions from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What Are the Conditions Antihistamine Suitable For?

The conditions that Antihistamine are used for are allergy symptoms cold as well as insomnia. Off-label use includes anxiety treatment. Prescription and caution are required as antihistamine may be abused for sedative effects.

One of the most commonly prescribed antihistamine for anxiety is Hydroxyzine. Its mechanism of action for anxiety is not clearly understood however it is believed to affect the activity of histamine and serotonin chemicals and develop relief for the central nervous system.

Hydroxyzine may serve as on-demand medication when managing anxiety symptoms and a doctor is most likely to combine it with other medications including Buspar or Celexa.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to start feeling the effects of this medication. The maximum relief is commonly observed within 2 hours.

Based on the following studies an antihistamine for anxiety Hydroxyzine has been linked to efficacy in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) treatment:

  •  Hydroxyzine was reviewed for sedative effects in the acute treatment of GAD. Hydroxyzine dosage of 50-100 mg administered 4 times per day was supported for short-term treatment in subjects with GAD.
  •  Hydroxyzine was studied for efficacy against the placebo with a meta-analysis of 39 studies involving 884 subjects with GAD symptoms. The results showed that Hydroxyzine was effective well-tolerable with a minimum of side effects.
  •  Hydroxyzine was studied against Buspirone and the placebo for efficacy in GAD. The results showed that both medications reduced anxiety scores and were more effective over the placebo.

Even though Hydroxyzine and other antihistamines for anxiety are not FDA-approved for anxiety treatment they are often considered as the second-line approach when other medications caused severe side effects or were not effective to provide relief.

What Are the Side Effects of Antihistamine? 

While antihistamine for anxiety like Hydroxyzine is fast in producing therapeutic effects the side effects may appear fast as well. Typically the side effects are of short-term nature and may result from increased dosage or interactions with other medications or alcohol.

Anxiety medication antihistamine may cause the following side effects:

  •  dizziness;
  •  nausea;
  •  low appetite;
  •  confusion;
  •  nervousness;
  •  blurred vision.

The drowsiness and blurred vision are most likely to occur when taking this medication so do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects your system.

Hydroxyzine is contraindicated to take during pregnancy as it has the potential to cause abnormalities or malformations in the fetus. Beyond that it is not known if it excretes into human milk so a doctor will assess whether benefits prevail risks. Other modalities are available for pregnant and nursing mothers for anxiety treatment.

The full list of side effects and their severity depends on the individual patient’s medical history and treatment regimen. Speak to the doctor about the safe intake of antihistamine for anxiety.