- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Precautions & Warnings
Brand Name: Benadryl, Sominex, Unisom, Nytol, and several others
Generic Name: diphenhydramine
Drug Class: Generation Antihistamines, Antihistamines, Alkylamine Derivatives, Dermatologics, Other, Antihistamine/Decongestant Combos
What is diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and what is it used for?
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an antihistamine used for treating 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 receptors on cells, it stimulates changes within the cells that lead to the release of chemicals that cause sneezing, itching, and increased mucus production. Antihistamines compete with histamine for cell receptors and bind to the receptors without stimulating the cells.
In addition, they prevent histamine from binding and stimulating the cells. Diphenhydramine also blocks the action of acetylcholine (anticholinergic effect) and is used as a sedative because it causes drowsiness.
What are the side effects of diphenhydramine (Benadryl)?
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) side effects include:
- disturbed coordination,
- drying and thickening of oral and other respiratory secretions, and
- urinary retention.
Diphenhydramine also may cause:
- low blood pressure,
- palpitations (abnormal heartbeats),
- increased heart rate,
- blurred vision,
- double vision,
- painful urination or difficulty urinating,
- loss of appetite,
- erectile dysfunction, and
Diphenhydramine should be used with caution (if at all) in persons with narrow-angle glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate gland), hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and asthma.
What is the dosage for diphenhydramine (Benadryl)?
Diphenhydramine doses vary depending on the formulation and have their maximal effect about one hour after it is taken.
- When used to treat insomnia, it is prescribed at bedtime. Individuals over the age of 60 years are especially sensitive to the sedating and anticholinergic effects of diphenhydramine, and the dose should be reduced.
- A common regimen for treating adult allergic reactions is 25-50 mg every 4-6 hours not to exceed 300 mg daily.
- Insomnia is treated with 50 mg taken 30 minutes before bedtime.
What drugs interact with diphenhydramine?
Diphenhydramine adds to (exaggerates) the sedating effects of alcohol and other drugs than can cause sedation.
This includes the following drug classes:
- diazepam (Valium),
- lorazepam (Ativan),
- clonazepam (Klonopin),
- alprazolam (Xanax),
Narcotic pain medications and their derivatives
- oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet),
- hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin),
- guaifenesin with hydromorphone (Dilaudid),
- propoxyphene (Darvon),
Certain antihypertensive medications
Diphenhydramine also can intensify the drying effects of other medications with anticholinergic properties (for example, dicyclomine [Bentyl] and bethanechol [Urecholine], probanthine).
Is diphenhydramine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Diphenhydramine has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. It should be used only if the benefit outweighs the potential but unknown risks.
- Diphenhydramine is secreted in breast milk. Because of the risk of stimulation and seizures in infants, especially newborns and premature infants, antihistamines should not be used by nursing mothers.
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Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an OTC and prescription injection medication used to treat hay fever, hives, allergic conjunctivitis, motion sickness, and mild cases of Parkinsonism. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed before taking this medication.
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Inner Ear Infection
An inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner ear infection can cause symptoms and signs, for example, a severe ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and vertigo. An inner ear infection also may cause inflammation of the inner ear or labyrinthitis. Inner ear infections are not contagious; however, the bacteria and viruses that cause the infection can be transmitted to other people. Good hygiene practices will help decrease the chances of the infection spreading to others. Inner ear infection symptoms and signs like ear pain and nausea may be relieved with home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Some inner ear infections will need to be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescription pain or antinausea medication.
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Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
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Scabies are itch mites that burrow under the skin and produce intense itching that's usually worse at night. Symptoms of scabies are small bumps and blisters on the wrists, knees, between the fingers, on the back of the elbows, in the groin and on the buttocks. Treatment involves applying a mite-killing cream, antihistamines for itch relief, washing bedclothes and linens.
What Are the 4 Types of Allergic Reactions?
Allergists recognize four types of allergic reactions: Type I or anaphylactic reactions, type II or cytotoxic reactions, type III or immunocomplex reactions and type IV or cell-mediated reactions.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness, caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and by low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
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Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
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Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
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Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
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Allergy Treatment Begins at Home
Avoiding allergy triggers at home is one of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation are a few ways to allergy-proof the home. Cleaning, vacuuming, and using HEPA air filters also helps control allergies.
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What Is Allergic Cascade?
The allergic cascade refers to allergic reactions that happen in the body in response to allergens. A variety of immune cells and chemical messengers participate in the allergic cascade. Symptoms of the allergic cascade range from mild swelling and itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock. Allergen avoidance and medications are used to prevent or treat allergies.
What Happens When You Get Shingles When Pregnant?
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What Are the Best Treatments for Allergic Conjunctivitis?
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Insect Sting Allergies
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Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)
Insomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a symptom and not a disease. The most common causes of insomnia are medications, psychological conditions, environmental changes, and stressful events. Treatments may include non-drug treatments, over-the-counter medicines, and/or prescription medications.
Do Allergy Desensitization Shots Work?
Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to harmless substances called allergens. Allergy desensitization shots make your body less likely to react to allergen.
Sinus Infection vs. Allergies
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What Causes Allergy Flare-ups?
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Zika Virus (Zika Fever)
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COVID-19 vs. Allergies
Though there is some overlap in allergy and COVID-19 signs and symptoms there are also significant differences. Symptoms that they have in common include headache, fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and sore throat. Fever does not occur with allergies but is one of the defining symptoms of COVID-19 infections.
Why Won’t My Allergy Symptoms Go Away?
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What Causes Nose Allergies?
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How Do You Know if You Are Allergic to Pollen?
Pollen is a powdery yellow grain that fertilizes other plants of the same species. The only way to know for sure if a person has pollen allergy is to see a board-certified allergist for allergy testing.
What Are Typical Allergy Symptoms?
Allergy symptoms differ depending on the type of allergy and body part involved. For example, food allergies may cause different symptoms than nasal allergies or eye allergies. The severity of symptoms may also vary, ranging from mild irritation to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
What Foods Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome?
Oral allergy syndrome, also called pollen food allergy syndrome or PFAS, is a type of food allergy caused by certain allergens found in both pollen and raw vegetables and fruits and some nuts. Foods that cause oral allergy syndrome include those in the birch, grass and ragweed families.
Should I Exercise Outside if I Have Allergies?
An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overresponds to a foreign substance. With the right treatment and precautions, you can completely eliminate allergy flare-ups during your outdoor workout.
How Do You Tell If Your Child Has Allergies or a Cold?
Colds and allergies have different causes, but both involve the body's immune system. Since the symptoms of allergies and the symptoms of a cold overlap, it can be hard to tell which one your child has.
What Are Typical Seasonal Allergy Symptoms?
Typical seasonal allergy symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, congestion, and a sore throat.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Red Spots on the Skin
- Runny Nose
- Swollen Tongue
- Nasal Congestion
- Swollen Lip
- Postnasal Drip
- Pityriasis Rosea
- Hives (Urticaria)
- Inner Ear Infection (Otitis Interna)
- Bug Bites and Stings
- Hay Fever
- Motion Sickness
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- Allergies- Easing Sneezing: House Cleaning Tips
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Chigger Bite
- Bee and Wasp Sting
- Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
- Insect Sting Allergy
- Allergy: Winning the War Against Allergies
- Allergy: Taking the Sting Out of Insect Allergies
- Asthma and Allergies and Your Child
- Allergies: Mold and More:Battling Indoor Allergens
- Allergies, Control Your Spring
- Bed Bugs FAQs
- Allergies FAQs
- Sleep FAQs
- Chickenpox FAQs
- Eczema FAQs
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- Skin: Are Hypoallergenic Cosmetics Really Better?
- Travel Medicine Kit
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- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Questions To Ask Your Doctor - Allergy
- Air Pollution and Allergies: A Connection?
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
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- Bug Bite Treatment
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Medications & Supplements
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Hypnotics (for Sleep) Medications
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- Antihistamines (Oral)
- Anticholinergic and Antispasmodic Drugs
- chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride and clidinium bromide (Librax)
- chlorpheniramine, pseudoephedrine
- diphenhydramine topical
- Nasal Allergy Medications
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