Promethazine is a drug used to treat a variety of conditions.

Doctors sometimes prescribe it to help people relax. It can be prescribed off-label to treat anxiety.

This article explores how promethazine works and how it works in treating anxiety.

Promethazine is an antihistamine. That means it blocks the effects of histamine, a chemical involved in allergic reactions.

When you detect an allergy like pollen or pet dander, your immune system makes and releases a chemical called histamine. Promethazine helps relieve allergy symptoms by blocking the effects of histamine.

Promethazine also has several other effects throughout the body. For example, it helps with motion sickness by blocking specific receptors in the medulla oblongata, a part of the brain involved in nausea and vomiting.

It targets brain cells involved in blood pressure, sleep, and muscle tension.

There are no recent clinical studies assessing how effective promethazine is in treating anxiety. This makes it impossible to say how it compares to other anti-anxiety drugs.

With that said, it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sedation. According to its label, it eases apprehension and triggers a gentle sleep.

Medical professionals may administer it in hospital settings to reduce anxiety and induce sleep before or after surgery. A 2015 review reports that when used prior to surgery, promethazine can relieve anxiety.

Promethazine may help treat mental health issues when used with other drugs.

For example, the authors of a 2019 article recommend promethazine use with the antipsychotic drug haloperidol to treat severe agitation in psychiatric care settings. In this case, promethazine protects against side effects caused by haloperidol.

A 2016 review states that there’s enough evidence to use haloperidol and promethazine to treat episodes of severe aggression caused by schizophrenia. The authors write that promethazine can help to cause drowsiness and reduce “nervous tension.”

There is not enough evidence to show that promethazine is useful for treating mild to moderate anxiety outside of a hospital. It is not FDA-approved for this use. If you think promethazine might help with your symptoms, you can always talk to your doctor.

The main side effect of promethazine is drowsiness. If you take it during the day, you might feel lethargic or have trouble staying awake. For this reason, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery after taking promethazine.

There are other possible side effects.

  • blurred vision
  • There is confusion and disorientation.
  • It is a problem of the colon.
  • Difficult to urinate.
  • dilated pupils.
  • dizziness
  • The mouth is dry.
  • There are headaches.
  • The muscles are flexing
  • nightmares
  • Poor coordination.
  • It is restless.
  • It is stiff.

Adults can take promethazine as prescribed by their doctor. It may pose increased risks for people who are not familiar with it.

Promethazine can interact with other drugs.

If you are taking other medications, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist.

You should not drink alcohol while taking promethazine. Side effects like drowsiness and sedation can be made worse by it.

Is promethazine safe for children?

Promethazine is not safe for children younger than 2 years, as it can cause severe respiratory problems and even death.

In children older than 2 years, promethazine should be used carefully according to a doctor’s instructions. Parents shouldn’t use it to treat nausea and vomiting that has an unknown cause.

Children under the age of 16 should not take promethazine medications with codeine or other pain relievers.

What is the typical dose for promethazine to treat anxiety?

According to StatPearls, the recommended dose of promethazine for adults to help with anxiety and sleep before or after surgery is 25 to 50 milligrams (mg). Your doctor will determine the appropriate dose of promethazine for you.

How quickly does promethazine work?

How quickly promethazine works depends on its method of administration. In general, it should work within 30 minutes. Injections may work slightly faster.

Can I take promethazine with other anxiety medications?

No, you should not take promethazine with other anxiety medications, as this could increase your risk of side effects. Talk with your doctor to learn more about which medications are safe to take with promethazine.

In what forms is promethazine available?

Promethazine is available in many forms.

  • An injection solution.
  • A solution that is liquid.
  • A rectal suppository.
  • A liquid.
  • There are tablets.

Is promethazine available over the counter?

Promethazine is not available in the US. You need a prescription to take promethazine.

Promethazine is a prescription drug used to treat nausea. It can be given to you in the hospital to help you sleep.

Evidence shows that haloperidol can ease aggression and agitation.

The FDA has not approved promethazine for use outside of medical settings, and it is not known if it is effective for this use. It could affect your ability to function during the day.

If you have anxiety, talk to your doctor about your options.