Vistaril is a common antihistamine in the diphenylmethane and piperazine drug class. It has the generic name hydroxyzine. The Belgian company Union Chimique Belge first created hydroxyzine in 1956. Pfizer subsequently obtained a license to sell and market the drug in the US later that same year.

Antihistamines are drugs that can treat allergic rhinitis and other allergies. Vistaril is a prescription drug in most countries including the US. The drug is taken orally with its effects noticeable in just 30 minutes. Some individuals also claim that a patient can benefit if they take Vistaril for anxiety.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental disorder that causes people to experience excessive fear or worry. It is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world. It affects at least 44 million adults in the US alone. However, unfortunately, only about a third of them get the proper treatment. (1)

Anxiety may be due to various factors such as the environment, stress, trauma, or genetics. Its severity can range anywhere from mild worry to disabling panic attacks. Multiple forms of it exist such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders. It may also worsen through time if the patient disregards its symptoms.

How Does Vistaril Work?

Hydroxyzine drugs cross the blood-brain barrier and target the central nervous system. Vistaril’s principal means of action is a strong and selective histamine H1 receptor inverse agonist. Inverse agonists work by binding themselves to our histamine receptors and reducing their activity. Furthermore, this action is what gives hydroxyzine its antihistamine and sedating properties. (2)

Can I Use Vistaril For Anxiety?

Some studies have shown that Vistaril has potential anxiolytic properties. This means that it can treat various types of anxiety. Furthermore, some studies have proven that Vistaril is equally as potent as some benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax in treating generalized anxiety disorders.

Some doctors already prescribe hydroxyzine such as Vistaril for the treatment of the onset of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It can also help a person regulate their normal functions by blocking the symptoms of GAD. Furthermore, The Food and Drug Administration has approved its use as a symptomatic relief of anxiety associated with psychoneurosis

Patients must take extreme caution when taking Vistaril for anxiety. Remember to follow your doctor’s dosage instruction strictly. Otherwise, misuse of the drug may increase anxiety or even cause more severe side effects.

Other Uses Of Vistaril

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Vistaril for the treatment of various illnesses. Some doctors also prescribe the drug for some of its off-label uses. Some of the approved applications of Vistaril include: (3)

  • Antihistamine: Physicians primarily prescribe Vistaril for the treatment of different types of allergy most of which are skin related. Some allergies that Vistaril can also cure include chronic histamine-mediated pruritus, atopic or contact dermatitis, and urticaria.
  • Tranquilizer: Dentists, not doctors, commonly use Vistaril to treat pain during procedures. Doctors prescribe it alongside other opioids due to its ability to lessen some side effects caused by opioid pain medications.

Also Read: Does Benadryl Work For Anxiety?


Understanding Anxiety. (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2017, from Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

Szepietowski; E. Weisshaar (30 August 2016). Itch – Management in Clinical Practice. Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-3-318-05889-5.

Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). VISTARIL® (hydroxyzine pamoate). Retrieved January 19, 2018, from,011795s025lbl.pdf