This is comment to the claim that Vistaril is a 'psych drug' (Vistrasil was found in the dead body of L Ron Hubbard).
From: [NAME REMOVED]
Subject: Accuracy of statements
Date: Thurs, 23 Mar 2006
As a former long time scientologist and staff member (18 years off and on) I have no sympathy for the church , but you should try to be more accurate in your statements to give them legitimacy. Trying to pawn vistaril in the Hubbard autopsy off as some anti psychotic drug is simply ludicrous. It is more likely he was given it to suppress skin problems or an allergic reaction which is what it is commonly used for or perhaps pancreatitis which it seems from the autopsy he suffered from. I also find many of the other statements on your site about the church simply inaccurate. Some of them are very accurate. I haven't looked at the sight in great detail but perhaps I will get a chance here soon. It appears some of it is embellished or just hearsay. This was one of the things I greatly disliked about scientology. I finally left the church after coming to the conclusion that I was seeing in myself the same bigotry and intolerance that is bred in almost all organized religion as well as realizing that my spiritual well being was not dependent upon how much money I spent. If you care to discuss my experiences let me know.
GENERIC NAME: hydroxyzine
BRAND NAMES: Atarax; Vistaril
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine with anticholinergic (drying) and sedative properties that is used to treat allergic reactions. Histamine is released by the body during several types of allergic reactions and -- to a lesser extent -- during some viral infections, such as the common cold. When histamine binds to its receptors on cells, it causes changes within the cells that lead to sneezing, itching, and increased mucus production. Antihistamines compete with histamine for cell receptors; however, when they bind to the receptors they do not stimulate the cells. In addition, they prevent histamine from binding and stimulating the cells. After ingestion, the molecule of hydroxyzine is changed slightly, and this changed hydroxyzine that also binds to cells. (This changed hydroxyzine-called an active metabolite--is cetirizine (Zyrtec), which is now an FDA- approved drug.) Though both hydroxyzine and cetirizine act as antihistamines, hydroxyzine causes sedation as a side effect, and cetirizine does not. Hydroxyzine was originally approved by the FDA in 1957.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: yes
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 10mg, 25mg, 50mg, 100mg. Capsules: 25mg, 50mg, 100mg. Syrup: 10mg per teaspoonful (5mL). Suspension: 25mg per teaspoonful (5mL).
STORAGE: Capsules, tablets, and liquids should be stored below 30°C (86°F). Liquid should not be frozen, and should be shaken well prior to each use.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Hydroxyzine is used for the relief of nasal and non-nasal symptoms of various allergic conditions such as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Although antihistamines are the preferred class of drugs in allergic rhinitis, they only reduce symptoms by 40-60%. Hydroxyzine also is used as an aid for insomnia and to induce sedation prior to certain uncomfortable diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.
DOSING: Hydroxyzine has its maximal effect about 30 to 60 minutes after it is taken. Its effects last for 4 to 6 hours. Therefore, it is often prescribed to be taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed for relief of allergy-related symptoms. When used to combat insomnia, it is prescribed to be taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime as needed. Patients over the age of 60 years are especially sensitive to the sedating effects of hydroxyzine, and the dose should be reduced. Hydroxyzine can be taken with or without food.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Hydroxyzine adds to (exaggerates) the sedating effects of alcohol and other drugs that can cause sedation such as the benzodiazepine class of anti-anxiety drugs (e.g., Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax), the narcotic class of pain medications and its derivatives (e.g. , Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Codeine, Darvon), the tricyclic class of antidepressants (e.g. Elavil, Tofranil, Norpramin), and certain antihypertensive medications (e.g., Catapres, Inderal). Hydroxyzine can also intensify the drying effects of other medications with anticholinergic properties (e.g., Bentyl, Urecholine, Probanthine, Elavil, Thorazine.) When using these drugs, the dose of hydroxyzine may require reduction, therefore.
PREGNANCY: A limited number of studies of hydroxyzine in pregnant women suggests that there may be a relationship between its use in the first trimester of pregnancy and congenital abnormalities in the fetus. Therefore, hydroxyzine should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy.
NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known if hydroxyzine is excreted into breast milk. In general, antihistamines are not recommended for use during breast-feeding because they can cause stimulation or seizures in newborns.
SIDE EFFECTS: Hydroxyzine can commonly cause sedation, tiredness, sleepiness, dizziness, disturbed coordination, drying and thickening of oral and other respiratory secretions, and stomach distress. Hydroxyzine may also cause confusion, nervousness, irritability, blurred vision, double vision, tremor, loss or appetite, or nausea. Hydroxyzine should be used with caution (if at all) in persons with narrow-angle glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate gland), hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and asthma.
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From: "Orkeltatte aka Ulf Brettstam" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Vistaril is a 'psych drug'?
Date: Thurs, 23 Mar 2006
Hydroxyzine [Atarax] is still used in psychiatry today, despite the fact that we have a whole lot of new and more specified pharmacological substances then collegues had back in 1957 when this drug was approved by the FDA.
Atarax is a potent Histamin-1 receptor antagonist with itchreducing and antiallergic mechanisms of action. Labeling Atarax an antiallergic drug is correct.
Labeling Atarax a "psych drug" is also correct considering its widespread and common use in the field of contemporary psychiatry. The "psychiatric" mechanism of action would be the "calming" effect on "formatio reticularis" an area in the upper level of the brainstem ( medulla oblongata - pons) regulating alertness. An overactivity in formatio reticularis is seen in different states of anxiety and that is why Atarax is used as an unspecific anxiolytic medicine. Alsothere is no risk of developing tolerability, eg, drugabuse, compared to the specific anxiolytic drugs , eg, bensodiazepines, barbiturates. Treating psychiatric patients with anxiety, sleepdisorders and simultaneous drugaddiction, Atarax may well be first choice of treatment, avoiding the risk of replacing the addiction with a bensodiazepine addiction.
I would also say that back in 1986, when Hubbard died, Atarax had a relatively larger role in the psychiatric therapeutic arsenal as measured in pdd ( prescribed daily doses ) than it has today.
Conclusion: Labeling Atarax ( hydroxyzine ) a "psych drug" 1986 and 2006 is correct from a semantical and professional point of view.
"Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic."- Thomas Szasz