Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Atarax Alternatives

(Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)

  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Compare Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) or used for similar purposes.

Atarax
(Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)

Zyrtec
(Cetirizine)

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Relieves anxiety and itching caused by allergic reactions. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) is an effective treatment for the itching caused by an allergic reaction. It can also help treat mild anxiety.Treats allergy symptoms. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that won't make you feel too sleepy.Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is great for allergies, but curl up on the couch after taking it and get ready for a nap.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.545454545454546Atarax
Reviews for Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
77%
of people say Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) is worth it
73%
say it works well
9%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
76%
1% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
46%
27% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
7%
+2% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
Reviews for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
85%
+8% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
57%
16% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
8%
+1% vs. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride)
Side effects
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl

We haven’t found good data for Atarax side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Atarax »

We haven’t found good data for Zyrtec side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Zyrtec »

We haven’t found good data for Benadryl side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
How it works
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) is an antihistamine. It treats allergy symptoms by stopping the effects of histamine in the body. It's also used to control anxiety before surgery.Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Zyrtec is a low-drowsiness version.Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.
Type of medication
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription only
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for (click to learn more)
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert and sleepy
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Breastfeeding
  • People 65 years or older
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Glaucoma
  • Urinary problems or enlarged prostate
Detailed Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) risks & warnings »
Coming soon.Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) can be used to treat mild cases of anxiety, and for alcohol withdrawal.
  • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) shouldn't be mixed with other medicines that cause drowsiness like other antihistamines, pain or sleep medications or alcohol.
No specific alcohol-related info.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
Food
  • It can be taken with or without food.
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
  • The dose of Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) should be reduced for people who are older or who have reduced liver or kidney function.
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Shouldn't take other medicines that cause drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) shouldn't be mixed with other medicines that cause drowsiness like other antihistamines, pain or sleep medications or alcohol.
No specific sleep-related info.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) can be used to treat mild cases of anxiety, and for alcohol withdrawal.
  • Can be a better option for some people to treat anxiety than more addicting medications like benzodiazepines.
  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) is available as a liquid or as tablets.
  • It can be taken with or without food.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) works as well as other antihistamines to treat sneezing and runny nose, but causes less sedation.
  • Works well to also treat hives and itchy skin.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is available over the counter without a prescription.
  • It comes as a tablet, liquid, and quick-dissolving tablet.
  • It's okay to take with most other medications because it has few drug interactions.
  • Most people don't get any side effects from Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is often better than other antihistamines at treating allergy symptoms and hives.
  • It makes you sleepy, so it'll help if your allergies are bothering you at night.
  • The effects wear off in 4 to 6 hours, so side effects don't last that long.
  • It comes as a tablet, capsule, liquid, and quick dissolving tablet.
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
Downsides and risks
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
  • The dose of Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) should be reduced for people who are older or who have reduced liver or kidney function.
  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) can cause confusion, dry mouth, constipation, and urinary side effects. These symptoms are worse in older people.
  • As with some medicines, the tablets contain lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant, you could be sensitive to this.
  • Not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Shouldn't take other medicines that cause drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Although it works fast, its effectiveness wears off for some people over time.
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) can be slightly more sedating than Allegra or Claritin.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines, like Benadryl, are more effective for them than Zyrtec (Cetirizine).
  • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
  • You shouldn't drive after taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) until you know how it affects you.
  • Talk to a pediatrician before giving Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) to a child.
  • It can increase the risk of falls, so elderly people shouldn't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine).
  • Don't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) if you are breastfeeding.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AtaraxZyrtecBenadryl
  • Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) shouldn't be taken if you're taking other medications that slow down the nervous system, like narcotics and barbiturates.
  • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness. Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) shouldn't be mixed with other medicines that cause drowsiness like other antihistamines, pain or sleep medications or alcohol.
  • Side effects are more likely in older adults and young children.
  • Takes about 2 hours for full antihistamine effect if you’re taking it for itching or rash.
  • Starts working in a few hours. Only take it once a day.
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
  • Avoid some of the side effects by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated liquids.
  • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor about trying a nasal steroid instead since it might work better for you long-term.
  • Using an antihistamine eye drop instead can also work better to treat itchy or watery eyes.
  • Take it as needed every 4 to 6 hours.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can make you dehydrated, so avoid this side effect by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor. A different medication might work better for you long-term.
  • If you only have itchy or watery eyes, try using just an antihistamine eye drop.
Learn more
More about AtaraxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about ZyrtecSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert