About Hydroxyzine for Anxiety: Treatment, Side Effects, Cost

Written by Shivam Patel, PharmD, BSPS, RPh | Posted February 02, 2021 | Updated April 06, 2021

The United States is rapidly shedding its stigma around anxiety and depression as more and more folks realize just how common this condition is. If you feel anxious for a prolonged period of time, know that you are not alone. People can feel anxious due to a number of reasons, whether it’s directly tied to a stressful life event, such as unemployment or the loss of a loved one, or perhaps it feels entirely inexplicable. When it comes to treating these uncomfortable feelings, medication is a viable option. One such medication is called hydroxyzine

Hi, Hydroxyzine 

Hydroxyzine is part of the antihistamine drug class. It works by blocking a natural chemical in your body called histamine, which is produced when you are experiencing an allergic reaction. This is why hydroxyzine can be used to address allergic reactions. With a valid prescription, though, hydroxyzine stands out among regular OTC antihistamines because it actually treats anxiety. Hydroxyzine has been shown to affect serotonin and hydroxyzine levels in our brain. Serotonin is a chemical in our body that helps regulate our mood. Hydroxyzine will start working within 30 minutes and will peak in effectiveness after about two hours. 

Unlike other anxiety medications, which mostly need to be taken daily, hydroxyzine can be taken for anxiety as needed. Also, hydroxyzine is not habit-forming like Xanax (part of the benzodiazepine class.). Because of this, I would recommend trying hydroxyzine before resorting to a benzodiazepine. The brand name Atarax has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but generic hydroxyzine is available at your local pharmacy.

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Hydroxyzine Side Effects

Common side effects of hydroxyzine include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Dry Mouth

  • Constipation

Pharmacist Tip: Make sure you are not operating heavy machinery (including driving) when starting hydroxyzine so you are able to identify how your body reacts to its sedative side effects.

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How much does hydroxyzine cost without insurance?

Hydroxyzine is a relatively affordable medication at $15.30 for 90, 25mg capsules using a U.S. Prescription Discount Card. Patients can save around 75% off the average U.S. retail price. The discount card will provide you with maximum savings on hydroxyzine. Brand name hydroxyzine (Atarax) has been discontinued in the U.S. but is still available at accredited online pharmacies for as low as $27.99 here. You can also compare prices on other anxiety medications below including brand and generic forms of Xanax and Lexapro.

Compare Anxiety Medication Prices

Drug Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price PharmacyChecker.com U.S. Discount Card Price Lowest International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings 
Atarax (hydroxyzine) 25mg 90 tablets  - - $27.99 -
Generic Atarax (hydroxyzine) 25mg 90 capsules  $58.50 $15.30 $30.06 75%
Xanax (alprazolam) 0.5mg 30 tablets $475.61  $176.63 There are no Canadian or international prices listed for this drug. 63%
Generic Xanax (alprazolam) 0.5mg 30 tablets $32.65 $7.21 There are no Canadian or international prices listed for this drug. 78%
Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10mg 90 tablets $1291.50 $1131.28 $35.10 97%
Generic Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10mg 90 tablets $37.80 $13.00 $27.00 66%

Average U.S. retail price is based on that listed on GoodRx.com unless noted otherwise. International and discount card pricing provided by PharmacyChecker.com.

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How much is hydroxyzine at Walmart?

Thirty tablets of Hydroxyzine 25mg is currently around $4.25 at Walmart

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Is hydroxyzine covered by Medicare?

Hydroxyzine is covered by most insurance and Medicare plans. In many cases, though, it may be cheaper to use a prescription discount card.  

Download U.S. Discount Card 

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Where is hydroxyzine manufactured?

Hydroxyzine sold in the U.S. is made in India and the U.S. per the drug labels below.

hydroxyzine label

hydroxyzine label

hydroxyzine label

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Compare drug prices among reputable online pharmacies

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