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Psychiatry & Medication

Meclizine for Anxiety

 April 27, 2020

By  Natalie Kirilova

Medicinal Mushrooms

The Bottom Line

  • Meclizine for anxiety is a prescription antihistamine generic.
  • Meclizine is used for treating vertigo and major symptoms of vestibular system diseases.
  • Used as an off-label medication for moderating panic attacks and its anxiety-like manifestations.
  • Meclizine is not FDA approved for anxiety.
  • Available in oral and chewable tablets.
  • Released in 12.5, 25, 50mg strengths.

What Is Meclizine?

Meclizine is a prescription medication from the class of antihistamines that are usually used to treat allergies. It is also occasionally prescribed for treating vestibular system diseases such as vertigo, dizziness, muscle spasm, and nausea in adults. It blocks natural chemicals in charge of vomiting. There is limited evidence about the efficacy of Meclizine for anxiety. It is believed to alter the dizziness during panic attacks which are anxiety symptoms, excessive emotional stress or anticipation of dangerous outcomes typical for air and car travels. 

Meclizine is a generic medication. It is distributed in oral tablets which come in 12.5, 25, 50 mg strengths, and chewable tablets available in 25 mg. The therapeutic effect of Meclizine for anxiety is unknown. It is linked to the reduction of the histamine chemical activity in capillaries, bronchial and gastrointestinal smooth muscles. Meclizine hydrochloride may have an antiemetic effects by anticholinergic actions or by a direct effect on the medullary chemoreceptive trigger zone. The hydrochloride salt is a piperazine with sedative properties.

The composition of Meclizine tablets contains dibasic calcium phosphate, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, starch, sucrose. The chewable form contains corn starch, colloidal silicon dioxide, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, raspberry flavor, saccharin sodium, and talc.

Meclizine for dog anxiety comes as an off-label treatment in veterinary medicine. It is used to minimize motion sickness during long travel.

Can Meclizine Be Taken for Anxiety?

Meclizine for anxiety is used as an off-label medication which can alter the anxiety symptom of panic attacks and excessive worry. Its first-line indication is to treat vertigo and accompanying symptoms.

Is Meclizine FDA Approved for Anxiety?

Meclizine used for anxiety does not have proof of efficacy from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As per FDA Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (“Orange Book”), Meclizine Hydrochloride is an effective medication with no known or suspected bioequivalence problems and is safe in treating vestibular system diseases only. However, a doctor may prescribe it as an off-label medication for anxiety.

What Research Supports Meclizine for Anxiety? 

Limited evidence on the efficacy of Meclizine for anxiety exists.

  • Meclizine used for anxiety was studied to find its response in the treatment of non-cardiovascular symptoms manifested in anxiety disorders in comparison with beta-blockers prescribed off-label in anxiolytic treatment. The antiemetic muscarinic receptor antagonist available over-the counter (OTC), suppressed psychic central nervous system symptoms, vomiting, excessive sweating, and nausea. The results of the Meclizine application proved more results compared to beta-blockers treatment. And, beta-blockers are not efficient against anxiousness.

What do experts say about Meclizine for anxiety? 

Meclizine for Anxiety-1

Clinical Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy

“Those with a specific anxiety trigger like air travel may take it before a flight, as the effects [of Meclizine] will last between eight and 24 hours"

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Meclizine for anxiety has drowsiness as a major adverse reaction. Patients who operate heavy machinery, have access to hazardous equipment or drive a car should be warned about taking Meclizine. Patients with glaucoma, prostate gland diseases, asthma should take Meclizine for anxiety with caution. The anticholinergic property alters the effect. It is contraindicated for use in patients with hypersensitivity to Meclizine Hydrochloride. 

Use in Children. No known efficacy of Meclizine for panic attacks in children. It is not recommended in patients under 12 years old.

Use in Pregnant Women. Meclizine for anxiety reviews in some countries including Sweden has shown no risk of intake for nausea in pregnant women. Doctors may prescribe it during the first trimester. It does not appear to increase the possibility of abnormalities in a fetus. In the USA, the evidence of risks is recognized in 2-4% pregnancies. 

Possible Adverse Reaction of Meclizine for Anxiety:

  • Dry Mouth;
  • Headache;
  • Blurred Vision;
  • Abdominal Distress;
  • Constipation;
  • Fatigue.

It is impossible to measure and confirm other adverse reactions when taking Meclizine for anxiety. It is not linked to liver damage or abnormalities in patients. One should speak to a doctor before taking Meclizine and especially in case the patient is of senior age, resides in hot weather conditions, or already takes medications that affect the central nervous system.

Does Meclizine Have Interactions With Other Medications? 

It is important to inform your physician about all the current treatments with medications, vitamins, health supplements. Meclizine for anxiety may alter their efficacy or be contraindicated for interaction. 

The following medications may interact with Meclizine for anxiety:

  • Medications for insomnia;
  • Medications for allergy;
  • Medications for anxiety;
  • Medications for muscle pain;
  • CYP2D6 inhibitors;
  • CNS depressants.

They increase the sedative effect and lead to slowed breathing. CNS depressants’ interaction is linked to the risk of developing depression. Abstain from alcohol consumption during the treatment of anxiety. 

How to Take Meclizine? 

Meclizine for anxiety is used both in short- and long-term treatment. It is released with prescription only and associated with severe negative consequences if you don’t take it as directed and without a doctor’s approval.

  • Vestibular System Diseases, Vertigo. The initial dose for adults (18 up to 64 years old) is 25-100mg daily, in divided dosage. Depending on the body’s response and health condition, a doctor can increase the dosage.
  • Children patients. Meclizine for anxiety can be prescribed as an off-label medication only when no other pharmaceutical treatment shows efficacy or causes many side effects. The dose is 25-100mg daily in the divided dosage.
  • In senior patients, the anxiety treatment starts with the lowest dosages of 25mg. Their liver and kidney function is less responsive and medication can cause more side effects in comparison with adults.

The Meclizine for anxiety tablets can be taken with or without a meal. Swallow them with a lot of water. Chewable tablets should be previously crushed. Don’t swallow them whole.

Please, don’t abruptly stop the intake. If you skip a dose, address this concern with a doctor. If you believe you have overdosed, seek emergency help immediately (call 911).

Are there Alternatives to Meclizine? 

Prescription medications as Alternatives to Meclizine for Anxiety 

Meclizine is an off-label medication for anxiety as its primary indication is for vestibular system diseases such as vertigo, dizziness, nausea, vomiting. There are a variety of other prescription medications for anxiety:

  • Klonopin

  • Buspirone

  • Lexapro

  • Prozac

  • Paxil

  • Xanax

  • Valium

  • Inderal

  • Cymbalta

  • Tofranil

  • Hydroxyzine

  • Zoloft

There are various alternatives. If you’d like to learn more about whether Meclizine, another medication or treatment modality is right for you, we recommend that you speak with a licensed psychiatrist. Here are the best online psychiatry platforms so you can speak with someone right away!

Therapy as an Alternative to Meclizine

Learn more about different therapy options for anxiety here

Energy & Holistic Modalities as an Alternative to Meclizine 

Learn more about different energy & holistic modalities for anxiety here

Tech & Devices as Alternative Treatments to Meclizine 

Learn more about tech & devices for anxiety here

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Natalie Kirilova


Natalie is a writer with a focus in medical research with over 10 years of experience

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