May 09, 2024



Hydroxyzine Pamoate vs Hydroxyzine HCl: Which is Right for You?

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When seeking effective treatment for anxiety and other conditions requiring an antihistamine, many patients and healthcare providers consider the options between hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl. Though similar, these two formulations of hydroxyzine have subtle differences that might make one more suitable for certain patients over the other. 

In this detailed guide, we will explore the distinctions between hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl, their uses, side effects, and how you can potentially reduce medication costs with a prescription discount card like CareCard.

Discover the best prices for hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl, plus get free access to instant savings coupons for your local pharmacy using CareCard’s prescription discount card. No insurance or sign-up is necessary.

Understanding Hydroxyzine: Basic Pharmacology

Before discussing the specifics of hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl, it's important to understand what hydroxyzine is. Hydroxyzine is a first-generation antihistamine primarily used to treat itching caused by allergies and anxiety. It is also sometimes used as a sedative before medical procedures. Unlike second-generation antihistamines, hydroxyzine crosses the blood-brain barrier and may cause drowsiness.

What Is Hydroxyzine Pamoate?

Hydroxyzine pamoate is a salt form of hydroxyzine and is commonly prescribed under brand names such as Vistaril. It's primarily used in the treatment of anxiety, nausea, and itching. This form is known for its effectiveness in treating anxiety and tension. It is also used as a part of the preoperative sedation and to alleviate the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

What Is Hydroxyzine HCl?

Hydroxyzine hydrochloride (HCl) operates similarly to its pamoate counterpart but is more commonly sold under the brand name Atarax. It is often utilized to relieve pruritus (itching) due to allergic conditions and can also be effective in managing anxiety.

Hydroxyzine Pamoate vs. Hydroxyzine HCl: Key Differences

Though both drugs share the same active ingredient, hydroxyzine, their salt forms differ, which can influence their usage, side effects, and how they are processed in the body. 

Here are the key differences:

  • Bioavailability and absorption: Hydroxyzine HCl is often reported to have a quicker onset of action than hydroxyzine pamoate. However, both forms of hydroxyzine start to work at about the same rate, usually within 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Usage: Both medications can be used for anxiety and itching, but hydroxyzine pamoate is sometimes preferred for its effectiveness in longer-term anxiety management. In contrast, hydroxyzine HCl is often chosen for its efficacy in allergy and rash treatments.

  • Side effects: The side effects of both medications are generally similar and can include dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and headache. However, the intensity of side effects may vary from person to person based on the formulation.

Clinical Considerations and Patient Preferences

Choosing between hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl often comes down to patient-specific factors, including:

  • Medical history: Patient's overall health and medical history can affect which type of hydroxyzine is prescribed.

  • Intended use: Depending on whether the primary need is for managing anxiety or treating allergies can also influence the choice.

  • Doctor’s preference: Physicians might have a preference based on their experiences with each form.

Cost-Effective Solutions With CareCard

Managing healthcare costs is important for many patients, especially regarding frequently needed medications like hydroxyzine. Here's how using a prescription discount card like CareCard can help:

  • Reduced prices: CareCard can significantly lower the cost of prescriptions, making it easier for patients to afford their medications.

  • Accessibility: With CareCard, patients can access discounts at a wide network of pharmacies, increasing the accessibility of affordable medications.

Conclusion: Which Hydroxyzine Formulation Should You Choose?

Both hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl offer effective solutions for anxiety and itching. The decision on which formulation to use should be based on a thorough consultation with a healthcare provider, considering all personal health factors and the conditions being treated.

Whether you choose hydroxyzine pamoate, hydroxyzine HCl, or an alternative to hydroxyzine, managing medication costs is also a crucial part of treatment. Utilizing tools like CareCard can provide substantial savings, making treatment affordable and effective.


What are the main differences between hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl?

Hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine HCl are different salt forms of the same active ingredient, hydroxyzine. Hydroxyzine pamoate, often branded as Vistaril, is typically used for longer-term anxiety management and sedation. Hydroxyzine HCl, often branded as Atarax, is commonly used for allergy-related itching and short-term anxiety relief. Their absorption rates and onset of action can vary slightly, but both are effective for their intended uses.

Can hydroxyzine cause drowsiness?

Yes, hydroxyzine can cause drowsiness as it is a first-generation antihistamine that crosses the blood-brain barrier. This sedative effect can be beneficial for treating anxiety and promoting sleep but may be a drawback for individuals who need to remain alert.

Are there any significant side effects associated with hydroxyzine?

Common side effects of hydroxyzine include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and headache. These side effects are generally mild but can vary in intensity based on the formulation and individual response. Severe side effects are rare but can include allergic reactions and significant sedation.

How can I reduce the cost of my hydroxyzine prescription?

Using a prescription discount card like CareCard can help reduce the cost of hydroxyzine. CareCard offers discounts at various pharmacies nationwide, making medications more affordable for uninsured or underinsured patients. Checking for generic versions and comparing prices at different pharmacies can also help save on costs.

Can hydroxyzine be used as an alternative to other anxiety medications?

Yes, hydroxyzine can be used as an alternative to other anxiety medications, particularly for patients who may not tolerate other treatments well. It is effective for short-term anxiety management and can be a non-addictive option compared to benzodiazepines. However, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment option based on individual health needs and conditions.

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Pharmacy names, logos, brands, and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Prescription savings may vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and in some cases may be discounted up to 85% off cash price*. Please note, this is NOT insurance. CareCard offers you the opportunity to find prescription discount prices, which ultimately depend on the provider. You are fully responsible for paying for all health care services but will be entitled to receive a discount from those health care providers in accordance with the specific pre-negotiated discounted rates. CareCard Inc. is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. This information is not mean to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. For additional information, please reach our customer support at 1-866-410-1217, Mon- Friday 9am – 5pm Est or email us at By using the CareCard prescription discount card or service, you are agreeing to CareCard’s Terms of Service.

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