Hydroxyzine is used for the short-term treatment of nervousness and tension that may occur with certain mental/mood disorders (e.g., anxiety, dementia). It is also used to treat itching from allergies and other causes (e.g., reactions to certain drugs). It may also be used to help you feel calmer before/after surgery, or to help certain narcotic pain relievers (e.g., meperidine) work better.
Hydroxyzine belongs to a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. Its other effects (e.g., calming, pain relief) may work by affecting other natural substances (e.g., acetylcholine, serotonin) or by acting directly on certain parts of the brain.