Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

Benadryl is an antihistamine that is used to reduce histamine reactions in the body. It also is used as a sleep aid since one of its side effects is drowsiness.

What is Benadryl?


Benadryl is an antihistamine. It is an over-the-counter drug that is used to treat allergies. Histamines are chemicals released by the body that cause sneezing, coughing, itching and an increase in mucus production. An antihistamine binds to cell receptors, stopping the stimulation of the cell which causes a reaction to an allergen or a virus such as the common cold.

Benadryl is an older antihistamine. It was originally approved in 1946. Antihistamines in this older group have more side effects than newer antihistamines.

Uses of Benadryl

This drug is used to treat allergic reactions, symptoms of the common cold, allergic conjunctivitis, motion sickness, drug-induced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, insect bites and other skin irritations such as poison ivy. It is the most sedating antihistamine and is commonly used to treat drug induced EPS (extrapyramidal symptoms), movement disorders associated with drug withdrawal.

Benadryl is often used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers as a non-addictive sleep aid for those who have detoxed from drugs, especially where benzodiazepines cannot be prescribed. It is not usually used as a first line defense for the treatment of insomnia.

Benadryl Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing

Benadryl is not recommended if you are suffering from asthma, glaucoma, heart disease, liver disease, mood changes, seizures, overactive thyroid gland or kidney problems. Benadryl side effects can also increase the sedation effects of other drugs such as those in the benzodiazepine family.

Looking For Treatment?

Over the counter drugs such as benadryl can be addictive, but you don’t have to chase the drug from store to store. You can stop the madness of addiction today. Speak with one of Recovery Connection’s coordinators at 866.812.8231 our free 24 hour helpline now. Stopping the addiction is possible if you call now.

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