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Is it safe to take 2 benadryl: BENADRYL® Dosing Guide: Adult & Children’s Diphenhydramine Dosage

Antihistamines (Benadryl) for Sleep: Is It Safe?

Many antihistamines can cause drowsiness, but it’s not recommended to take them for sleep because little research backs up their effectiveness. Long-term use may also lead to harmful side effects.

The inability to fall or stay asleep can have a significant, negative impact on your mood, productivity, and overall health. Insomnia can also be stressful, making it harder to rest.

In an effort to get much-needed sleep, many people use over-the-counter drugs to fall asleep faster. These include sleep aids and allergy drugs that contain antihistamines, such as:

  • diphenhydramine
  • doxylamine succinate

Drowsiness is a common side effect of some antihistamines. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine doesn’t recommend using them as sleep aids, citing weak evidence for their effectiveness.

In addition, long-term use of antihistamines may have potential side effects that can be dangerous, especially in older adults.

In this article, we’ll talk about antihistamine use for insomnia and provide recommendations for alternative treatments.

Antihistamines stop allergic reactions by blocking excess production of histamine in the immune system. Some also block histamine release in the brain.

The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by chemicals that are naturally produced by your body. As you get ready for sleep, histamine levels in the brain decrease. This works to induce non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM).

Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate, cross the blood-brain barrier, mimicking this natural function. That’s why you get sleepy when you take medications containing them.

Medications containing these ingredients

Diphenhydramine can be found in a variety of over-the-counter medications. They include:

  • Benadryl
  • Waldryl
  • Sominex
  • Tylenol PM
  • Sudafed PE Day/Night Sinus Congestion
  • Unisom Sleep Gels

Doxylamine succinate can be found in a number of over-the-counter medications, including:

  • Unisom Sleep Tabs
  • Wal-Som
  • Vicks NyQuil Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief

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In addition to blocking histamine, diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate have anticholinergic properties. Anticholinergic drugs inhibit the action of acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system.

Memory issues

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in several brain functions, including short-term memory and thinking. Anticholinergic medications can produce cognitive impairment that persists even after you stop taking them.

A 2018 case study analyzed the effects of anticholinergic medication use among over 40,000 participants ages 65 to 99.

Researchers found that taking anticholinergic medications increased the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for up to 20 years after exposure.

In a prior study, researchers also found increased risk based upon the cumulative amount of anticholinergic medication taken over time.

Pregnancy and nursing

If you’re pregnant or nursing, it makes sense to be extra careful about the medications you take. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found Benadryl safe to take for allergies during pregnancy, they haven’t made a recommendation concerning the nightly use of a sleep aid in this population.

Anticholinergic medications are FDA pregnancy category B drugs. This means that animal studies haven’t shown a risk to the fetus, but there are no adequate, well-controlled studies indicating safety.

For this reason, it may make sense to use first-generation antihistamines sparingly or not at all, especially as sleep aids, if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Potential side effects of antihistamines include:

  • daytime drowsiness
  • short-term memory loss
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision
  • increased heart rate
  • difficulty urinating

Rather than antihistamines or a sleep aid, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and European Sleep Research Society recommends cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for insomnia.

CBT focuses on sleep hygiene and strengthening the bed-sleep connection. It helps adjust circadian rhythm and reduces anxiety about insomnia.

When choosing an over-the-counter sleep aid, check the ingredients and discuss with a medical professional whether it’s OK for you to take it short term.

There are also natural sleep aids you may wish to consider, such as melatonin or L-theanine (γ-glutamylethylamide).

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced naturally by the body. It doesn’t make you sleepy, but it does help your body get ready for sleep by regulating your natural circadian rhythm. Since it hasn’t been studied extensively during pregnancy, check with your doctor before using it if you’re pregnant or nursing.

L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. Even though it doesn’t make you drowsy, one study found that it supports high-quality sleep by reducing sleep disturbances and sleep quality problems, promoting relaxation, and reducing anxiety.

Practicing good sleep hygiene habits can help train your body and brain to fall and stay asleep. Here are some strategies to try:

  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol and caffeine during evening hours.
  • Don’t use electronic devices, such as computers and phones, in the 2 hours before bed. If this is challenging, use blue light screen protectors on your devices or wear eyeglasses with a blue light filter.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool by running a fan, opening a window, or sleeping on cooling sheets.
  • Shut out sources of ambient light with curtains and a closed door.
  • Keep noise to a minimum. If outdoor noise is beyond your control, use a white noise machine to block out unwanted sound.

For more sleep support, check out our sleep shop.

If you have chronic insomnia, talk with a medical professional. They may recommend prescribed sleep aids or antidepressants with a sedating effect.

Many prescription sleep aids pose some potential risks and may not be appropriate for everyone. Pregnant people and people with certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, shouldn’t take certain prescription sleep aids. Some may also have unwanted side effects such as dizziness. Others may experience dependence.

People sometimes use antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate, to combat insomnia.

These over-the-counter medications are OK for occasional use in most people. However, they may increase the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if taken long term.

Instead, you may want to try alternative sleep aids like melatonin, good sleep hygiene, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

If chronic insomnia is a problem, talk with a healthcare professional. They may also prescribe medications that can help.

Mixing Benadryl with Alcohol: Is It Safe?

Benadryl is one of the most used over-the-counter medications. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, and Benadryl is the brand-name version of it. Antihistamines are medications that affect the actions of the compound histamine in your body. 

You might believe Benadryl is safe to take in any situation because it is available without a prescription at pharmacies and grocery stores. However, Benadryl is a medication that carries risks. If you take it with alcohol, it may have serious side effects.

Antihistamines and Alcohol

Histamine has a role in the immune system of your body to allergens. This phenomenon shows why you react to something you’re allergic to by getting a stuffy nose, itchy skin, motion sickness, runny nose, hay fever, and other symptoms. 

An antihistamine works to prevent your body’s reaction to these allergens. As a result of this action, your allergy season symptoms may improve.

Alcohol can cause liver problems, while Benadryl doesn’t. However, both substances target the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The medication lessens allergy symptoms like rashes, cough syrup, and itchy eyes, throats, and noses. 

Benadryl and Alcohol: Not Safe

Benadryl and alcohol suppress your central nervous system (CNS), which is one thing they have in common. Your heart rate may drop (heart problems), your breathing may slow down, you may lose consciousness, and in rare instances, your CNS depression could put you in a coma.

One of the main reasons why combining alcohol and Benadryl frequently results in personal damage is the possibility of losing consciousness. Unfortunately, there are other health risks you can encounter.

Risks of Mixing Benadryl and Alcohol

Loss of Consciousness

The combination of alcohol and Benadryl is harmful to many people. Some people are more likely than others to become unconscious when under anesthesia. 

Combining Benadryl and alcohol in these patients increases the risk of unconsciousness. Due to the possibility of falls and other accidents, this could be serious. 

You need to consult with your doctor before taking Benadryl with alcohol.


The adverse effects of Benadryl include sleepiness and drowsiness. These effects may impair coordination and reduce reaction time. 

Alcohol and Benadryl together produce dangerous levels of tiredness, making it harder for a person to maintain daily activities. It could be fatal if daily life includes particular tasks, like driving or operating heavy machinery.

Memory Impairment

The use of Benadryl blocks the proper functionality of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for autonomic bodily functions.  

The appropriate functioning of acetylcholine is essential for memory and learning. So, inhibiting its action can temporarily compromise these functions. 

Alcohol is known to impair memory and learning momentarily. Therefore, mixing alcohol and Benadryl may have a more pronounced impact on memory and learning.


Alcohol can dehydrate your body in no time. Benadryl also creates the same effects to dehydrate your body. 

So, the mixture of both drugs may produce unhealthy levels of dehydration. It may cause discomfort, and you may lose concentration. You may also experience a worsening hangover in the meantime.

Issues with Sleeping

Both of the drugs (alcohol and Benadryl) increase the level of sedation and drowsiness. The combination of both can exploit sleeping patterns. 

You may sleep too much or feel lazy in the process—the drugs can aid other side effects to disrupt your sleeping, such as nausea and dizziness.


According to one study, those who use anticholinergic medication, like Benadryl, daily for at least three years have a higher risk of developing dementia. This study included all anticholinergic drugs, not simply Benadryl.

Another study in 2018 also linked heavy alcohol use to an increased risk of dementia. Long-term use of alcohol and large doses of Benadryl are both directly linked to a higher risk of dementia. 

Long-term studies in these individuals would be necessary to determine if high amounts of alcohol and Benadryl consumption affect dementia risk.

Complications in Older Adults

The aging factor reduces the body’s ability to break down alcohol. The adult’s digestive system may not be able to resist the effects of alcohol compared to younger people. 

Due to this slowness, a person is more likely to experience a negative interaction between Benadryl and alcohol. So, if you are getting older, you must be careful about alcohol consumption.

Interactions with Other Medications

The adverse effects of using Benadryl alongside other medications produce harmful effects. Combining these other prescription drugs with alcohol may make adverse side effects more likely.

Do not mix Benadryl with:

  • Medication for stomach ulcers 
  • Antidepressants
  • Cold and flu medication
  • Additional antihistamines
  • Valium-brand diazepam sedatives

The Misuse of Benadryl

According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, the use of Benadryl is legal only for the treatment of allergic reactions. Do not use Benadryl for any other reason. 

However, some individuals might believe using it as a sleep aid is smart. This is due to the drowsiness that Benadryl creates. 

But if you’re willing to have a good night’s sleep, don’t believe a glass of wine and some Benadryl will do the trick. It’s possible that abusing Benadryl and alcohol will cause you to feel lightheaded and interfere with your ability to fall asleep. 

Additionally, Benadryl, other drugs, and sleep aids may not work together. Therefore, you should only use Benadryl to treat your seasonal allergy symptoms if you want to be safe.

Consult with Your Doctor for More Information

Benadryl is a potent drug. You should not consume Benadryl with alcohol to be safe. Alcohol and medication can interact dangerously, impairing motor skills and attention and causing excessive sleepiness.

Medical experts advise waiting for a specific time after taking Benadryl, which is made for short-term use, before consuming alcohol. 

Beverages, mouthwashes, and other medications that include alcohol as a component should not be consumed with Benadryl. 

Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should wait after taking Benadryl before grabbing a drink to be safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long after drinking can I take Benadryl?

You should wait at least six hours before taking Benadryl after drinking.

Healthcare providers prescribe Benadryl if a person is experiencing allergic symptoms. The drug is a helpful allergy medication. But many times, people misuse this drug. 

They start to take Benadryl after drinking. This combination is very harmful to most people. You should consult your doctor for professional medical advice before taking Benadryl after drinking.

Is mixing Benadryl and alcohol safe?

Benadryl and alcohol can be unsafe when combined. Depending on the quantity consumed of either substance, you may die.

Overall, if you take two Benadryl and drink small amounts of alcohol, you may be alright. However, if you take ten Benadryl and ten vodka shots, you’ll likely end up in the hospital. 

Remember that every person has a unique body composition. Just remember not to overdo it and seek medical attention if you have any worrying symptoms.

What is the lethal dose of Benadryl and alcohol in combination?

The combination of Benadryl with alcohol causes severe side effects. Medical professionals don’t recommend using both drugs at the same time. 

You must be careful while using Benadryl with alcohol. You should be fine if you take two Benadryl before going out and accidentally mix it with a beer. 

However, you’ll probably end up in the hospital if your drink of choice includes ten shots of vodka. Remember that every person’s body is different and may metabolize substances at different rates.

Get Help from Indiana Center for Recovery 

The excessive use of over-the-counter medications is harmful to your health. Its effects may be more severe if you take it with alcohol.If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction, Indiana Center for Recovery is here to assist you.

We offer addiction treatment, detox, and residential treatment. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, contact us. Our qualified staff is waiting to answer any questions you may have about the detox process. 

Call us at (844) 650-0064 to speak with a admissions counselor.

Is it safe to give babies Benadryl? – Drink-Drink


  • What is Benadryl?
  • Possible Uses and Safety
  • Considerations for Benadryl
  • Other Tips for Your Child’s Cold
  • Conclusion

Diphenhydramine or its brand name Benadryl is a medication commonly used by adults and children to reduce allergic reactions and as well as allergy symptoms .

This medicine is a common part of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, and some parents even report using it to make their little one sleepy while flying on a plane or in a car.

What is Benadryl?

When your body experiences an allergic reaction, it releases a substance known as histamine. These compounds are designed to identify allergenic substances and destroy them before they harm the body. Although an allergy is designed to protect you from your body, it can sometimes work against you as well.

Benadryl is an antihistamine, which means it neutralizes histamine particles in the body. In addition to this effect, Benadryl may have a sedative effect. This means that it makes you sleepy. These effects are one of the reasons why parents may try to give it to their children. It can help them fall asleep on the plane or even if their child has trouble falling asleep.

Benadryl is also available as a cream to reduce the itching and discomfort that can result from insect bites or other non-specific rashes. This cream contains diphenhydramine HCL (an ingredient in oral Bendadryl) as well as zinc acetate to protect the skin.

Possible Uses and Safety

While it may be tempting to use Benadryl off-label, for example to help your child rest, it is probably too risky to use it on your baby unless your doctor advises it. This is because your child may have an adverse reaction to the medication. Side effects of Benadryl include:

  • dry mouth
  • palpitations
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting

According to Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, Seattle Children’s Hospital physician, some children may have the opposite reaction to the medicine. This includes unintended reactions such as increased energy. If you were hoping to use it for its sleep-inducing effect, chances are it can do just the opposite.

In addition, Benadryl has not been generally tested in children under 2 years of age. This means that there are no recommended standard dosages. The impact on infants can vary. For some babies, the medicine may be particularly sedating or drowsy. This can be worrying as a parent.

Benadryl Anti-Itch Cream is not intended for use in children under 2 years of age unless directed by a physician.

Some parents may try Benadryl for colds. According to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Benadryl is not recommended for colds in children under 4 years of age because it has not been shown to help reduce cold symptoms.

Considerations for Benadryl

Circumstances are individual for each infant. If your child’s doctor recommends using Benadryl for travel or otherwise for your child, you may want to try a trial run at home first to see how your child responds. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction or an unexpected reaction, you can quickly seek emergency medical attention. It’s much better than needing help at a thousand feet.

Also remember that there are different formulations of Benadryl, including children and adults. Always discuss with your child’s pediatrician the drug you plan to use and how it will be delivered. For example, you should use the dropper that comes with the Benadryl baby pack instead of another measuring method or spoon to ensure the most accurate measurement.

Other tips for your child’s cold

If your child has a cold, see a doctor about possible treatment or if your child needs to be examined. Often the risk of giving a child cold medicine or using Benadryl to treat a cold outweighs the benefit and is not recommended. Instead, you can take the following steps:

  • using a saline (salty) water spray to loosen and thin mucus
  • use a blower, blower, or nasal aspirator to remove thick mucus from a child’s nose or mouth;
  • using a cool mist humidifier in your child’s room to loosen mucus so your child can more easily cough it up;
  • ask your doctor about giving your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever
  • encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, such as formula or breast milk in very young children;

However, if your child has symptoms of a more serious illness, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. This includes if your child is struggling to breathe, has convulsive activity, or has blue lips.


Benadryl is best left when your child is older and may be needed in case of an allergic reaction or as part of a cold treatment. If you suspect your child is having an allergic reaction or a cold, ask your pediatrician for instructions.

Medicine should not be used off-label for things like putting an infant to sleep because the baby may have side effects from the medicine.

Can Benadryl be taken during pregnancy?

Can Benadryl be taken during pregnancy? – Pregnancy

Image: iStock

  • What is Benadryl?
  • Can I take Benadryl (diphenhydramine) during pregnancy?
  • How much Benadryl is safe to take during pregnancy?
  • What are the side effects of Benadryl during pregnancy?
  • When should Benadryl be avoided during pregnancy?
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Benadryl is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that helps relieve allergies, colds, coughs, and insomnia when the body is fighting infections. Although this medicine is widely used, you may be wary of taking Benadryl during pregnancy.

Pregnancy can weaken the immune system and make a woman more susceptible to infections (1). Thus, pregnant women may often resort to taking Benadryl. However, before using Benadryl to relieve the symptoms of your condition, it is important to check with your doctor.

Read on to learn about the safety and side effects of using Benadryl during pregnancy, as well as precautions.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine, is a type of antihistamine used to treat coughs, colds, itching, watery eyes, hives, and other allergy symptoms.

The drug is available in two main forms: tablets and syrup (two). Other brand names for diphenhydramine include Sominex, Nytol, and Unisom.

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Can Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) be taken during pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to take Benadryl during pregnancy, but only after consulting your doctor.

The US Food and Drug Administration lists Benadryl as a category B drug for pregnancy risk, meaning it has no known harmful side effects. However, there is no evidence that it is completely safe during pregnancy and should only be taken as directed by a doctor (3).

[ Read: Loratadine during pregnancy ]

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How much Benadryl is safe to take during pregnancy?

The recommended oral dose is 25 mg to 50 mg (one to two Benadryl tablets) once every four to six hours as suggested by the physician. 4 ).

Benadryl can sometimes cause drowsiness or dizziness, so it is best to avoid activities such as driving, working with tools or machinery while you are taking the medicine. In any case, take the dosage prescribed by your doctor to stay safe.

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What are the side effects of Benadryl during pregnancy?

Benadryl is not associated with any birth defects. But if overused, it can put the mother at risk.

    Benadryl has sedative properties and causes drowsiness, which in the long term can lead to depression. It also causes dizziness, blurred vision, spatial and mental disorientation, loss of appetite, hallucinations, nervousness, and insomnia. 5 ).

      Johns Hopkins University studies have shown that diphenhydramine can cause hypersensitivity which can lead to rash, eczema and itching. 6).

        Headaches, hypotension, palpitations and tachycardia as well as mild gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting and dry mouth have also been reported. 7).

          Benadryl in combination with another Restoril drug (or temazepam used to treat anxiety) is likely to increase the risk of fetal morbidity. 8 ).

            Studies show that taking diphenhydramine during the first trimester may increase the chance of having a baby with a cleft lip or palate. 9 ).

            [Read: Is it safe to take labetalol during pregnancy? ]

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            When should Benadryl be avoided during pregnancy?

            Stay away from Benadryl if you have any of the following:


            • Colostomy or ileostomy
            • Breathing problems such as asthma
            • Gastrointestinal problems
            • Liver and kidney problems
            • Urinary problems
            • Glaucoma
            • Blood pressure
            • Thyroid problems

            Continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions about Benadryl during pregnancy.

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            1. Is Benadryl cream safe during pregnancy?

            Topical Benadryl is safe to use during pregnancy as its effects are unknown. It is used to treat an allergy or an irritant reaction in the skin. In any case, consult your doctor before using it.

            2. Can I take Tylenol and Benadryl at the same time during pregnancy?

            Tylenol is used to treat muscle pain and pain associated with colds. Benadryl is intended to treat allergy symptoms. They are safe when taken alone, but check with your doctor before taking them together as the effects of these medicines may be different for everyone.

            3. Can I take Benadryl every night while pregnant?

            Never take Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or any other drug during pregnancy without talking to your doctor. Any medication should be avoided during the first trimester as this is the organogenesis phase when the baby is being formed. Even if needed, Benadryl can be used to relieve symptoms in the second and third trimester for a short time rather than daily. Discuss with your doctor.

            [Read: Dry cough during pregnancy ]


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            Effects on the nervous system:
            Cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems:
            Fetal incidence:
            Birth defects: