Hydroxyzine vs Xanax in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Several anxiolytic drugs are available for the treatment of anxiety disorders; among them Xanax and Hydroxyzine. Xanax is the trade name for Alprazolam which belongs to the Benzodiazepine class of drugs. The drugs in this class act by binding to specific sites of GABAA receptor resulting in a reduction in the functioning of the receptor. This causes one to calm down in case of an anxiety attack which is often triggered by overactivity of the GABA receptors in the brain. On the other hand, Hydroxyzine belongs to a class of drugs known as Piperazine. It acts as a H1 receptor inverse agonist which has antiserotonergic effects resulting in reduced reuptake of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin in the brain. This result in the calming effects experienced when Hydroxyzine is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Hydroxyzine is also used to treat allergy-like symptoms like in chronic urticaria and dermatitis.
Hydroxyzine is available in two formulations namely the pamoate salt and the dihydrochloride salts. The former is sold under the trade names, Vistaril, Masmoran, Equipose and Paxistil while the latter is sold as Tranquizine, Quiess, Atarax, Aterax, Durrax, Alamon and Tran-Q. No matter which form one takes, a prescription is a must-have. Hydroxyzine will be prescribed for treating generalized anxiety disorders as well as more specific neurological problems. The efficacy, tolerance and acceptability of this drug for the aforementioned purposes has been shown to match that of other anxiolytic agents including Benzodiazepines. Xanax is also a prescription-only drug that is often prescribed for use in the treatment of general anxiety disorders and specific disorders like hypersomnia. Long-term use of Xanax however is not recommended and doctors are advised to keep evaluating the usefulness of the drug. It could lead to reversible depression and even become addictive if used for a long time.
The recommended dose of Hydroxyzine in treating anxiety is 50-200mg taken orally or intra-muscularly four times a day. The exact dose can only be determined by a qualified physician. If the tablets are prescribed, they should be taken with a glass full of water. The effects of this medication are experienced within an hour after uptake. It is metabolized in the liver and has a half-life of about 3hours. On the other hand, the recommended dosage for Xanax is 1-4mg per day taken orally every 8hours. It is available as tablets and oral solutions of differing strengths. The effects can be felt as soon as 30minutes after administration with the blood levels peaking at after an hour or two. It is metabolized via the complement system by Cytochrome P450 3A4.