Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available



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Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep.

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Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is great for allergies, but curl up on the couch after taking it and get ready for a nap.

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  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is often better than other antihistamines at treating allergy symptoms and hives.
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • It makes you sleepy, so it'll help if your allergies are bothering you at night.
  • The effects wear off in 4 to 6 hours, so side effects don't last that long.
  • It comes as a tablet, capsule, liquid, and quick dissolving tablet.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
  • You shouldn't drive after taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) until you know how it affects you.
  • Talk to a pediatrician before giving Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) to a child.
  • It can increase the risk of falls, so elderly people shouldn't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine).
  • Don't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) if you are breastfeeding.

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Side effects for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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These are side effects of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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What to expect when you start Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Take it as needed every 4 to 6 hours.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can make you dehydrated, so avoid this side effect by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor. A different medication might work better for you long-term.
  • If you only have itchy or watery eyes, try using just an antihistamine eye drop.

Risks and Warnings for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Using other drugs with the same ingredients

    There are a variety of over-the-counter medications with the same ingredients as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine). It's not safe to use more than one medication containing diphenhydramine (the ingredient in Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)) at the same time. Read package labels carefully to make sure you take the right dose of these medications.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • I use as a sleep aid and to help anxiety.
    Age: 19
    Gender: woman
    Taken for: Insomnia
  • As a "before bed" sleep aid, I noticed fewer issues with the day-after hang-over feeling than with Trazadone. It seems to help a little with breathing with my CPAP as well.
    Age: 60
    Gender: man
    Taken for: Seasonal allergies
  • It used to work fine for me as a sleep aid. Now it gives me restless legs for an hour or two before I can fall asleep.
    Age: 46
    Gender: woman