alcohol and diphenhydramine

An individual may have forgotten they took benadryl, or just did not know about the potential dangers. Either way, the two combined in the body can take a serious toll. Over-the-counter medications like Benadryl can be addictive, especially when combined with alcohol. Steps to Recovery is here to help you defeat this dangerous combination. Benadryl is a potent drug, despite the ease of accessing it for allergy relief.


In acute treatment, you will be monitored by doctors, nurses, and other medical staff around the clock. What’s more, you should also be aware of taking diphenhydramine with substances that have alcohol in them, such as laxatives and cough syrups. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically appear within eight hours of your last drink. However, symptoms can appear days later, usually peaking in 24 hours to 72 hours. Someone drinks when it makes health complications or mental health issues worse.

Users take it recreationally because it reportedly induces calm, mild euphoria, and hallucinations. Diphenhydramine is available as a capsule, liquid-filled capsule, tablet, dissolving tablet, powder, oral liquid, and dissolving strip. The substance can come alone or in combination with other fever reducers, decongestants, or pain relievers. The same could be said for Parke-Davis, which is now a subsidiary of Pfizer. Benadryl, which is the trade name for diphenhydramine, is a perennial, best-selling over-the-counter medication. His daycare provider fed him Benadryl so that he could fall asleep, but the child never woke up.

You do not have to fall victim to alcohol and diphenhydramine abuse. A professional recovery program can provide services to treat you and the people to support you. Be sure to read the labels on all the drugs you’re taking to reduce your risk of accidental interactions or misuse. As previously mentioned Diphenhydramine, and DPH-containing brand medications such as Benadryl, have potent Central Nervous System depressing effects. These effects stem from their ability to enter the CNS and bind to neuronal receptors causing sedation and drowsiness. Therefore, combining Benadryl and Alcohol will produce an additive effect, with each drug amplifying the sedative effects of the other.


Furthermore, dehydration can limit the excretion of ethanol metabolites in urine, worsening hangover. Although Benadryl doesn’t cause liver damage as alcohol does, both are central nervous system depressants, meaning their combined impact can produce heightened side effects. CNS depressants work by depressing or relaxing the central nervous system, causing functions such as breathing to slow down. A Benadryl and alcohol interaction can lead to respiratory depression and prevent the brain and heart from receiving the amount of oxygen they need to work properly. The rate of elimination from the system varies from person to person. As such, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider about when it’s safe to resume alcohol use after antihistamine medication.

Interactions with other types of medication

Antihistamines like Benadryl have a number of side effects that strengthen when in combination with alcohol’s side effects. Usually, combining multiple drugs will compound their negative effects, sometimes creating a deadly combination. If you or anyone you know is in need of alcohol and benadryl treatment then reach out to your local clinics and centers for more information. Alcohol and Benadryl side effects and dangers are not to be taken lightly. The undue stress on the body can result in common symptoms of dependency. Other symptoms include pale skin, stiff joints, fragile bones, malnutrition, and other compounding conditions.

If your allergy is severe enough, you might carry an EpiPen or receive allergy shots from your doctor. For most people, however, over-the-counter allergy medicine is the first line of defense. Addiction Resource does not offer medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice.

Long-how drinking affects the teenage brain use of alcohol and large doses of Benadryl are both directly linked to a higher risk of dementia. Both of the drugs increase the level of sedation and drowsiness. 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. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are dangerous in their own right, which is why someone with an alcohol use disorder should never attempt to quit on their own.

  • When taken as directed when the symptoms and allergies require it, it helps suppress the body’s response to the allergens.
  • This can be dangerous due to the risk of falls and other related injuries.
  • Seniors taking diphenhydramine should always check the alcohol content of all medications they are taking.
  • A professional recovery program can provide services to treat you and the people to support you.
  • Antihistamines are medications that affect the actions of the compound histamine in your body.

Mixing Benadryl with alcohol can intensify these side effects and will impair a person’s daily functioning. Now that you know that Benadryl and alcohol don’t mix, you should be aware of sources of hidden alcohol that you should avoid while taking Benadryl. This is not to say, however, that it is okay to go on a bender while taking Claritin, Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra—Dr. Corry recommends avoiding alcohol altogether while taking any medication. “These concerns are really outside of this particular context of severe, life-threatening situations,” Dr. Corry agrees. The staff is amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better place to just be ME.” -Tiffany W.

Antihistamines and Alcohol

Someone drinks even though they might drive, boat, or participate in some other activity that becomes dangerous when alcohol is consumed. Despite being legal, alcohol is a debilitating substance of abuse. Even in OTC formulations, diphenhydramine can produce a multitude of concerning side effects. Parke-Davis, the largest drugmaker at the time, bought the rights to Benadryl and marketed the drug in 1946.

If the combined effects of both Benadryl and alcohol are strong enough, an overdose can occur. However, this is unlikely without a high enough dosage of either substance or other substances. Simply put, it is never safe to mix diphenhydramine with alcohol, and such polysubstance abuse should be avoided altogether. They may take Benadryl to fall asleep and wash it down with a glass of wine without thinking anything of it. Sometimes, they engage in this sort of use as recreation, to amplify the sedative effects both substances impart.

It’s nice to have people who genuinely care about their clients…” -Robert D. Ingesting Benadryl and alcohol, particularly in large doses, is extremely dangerous. It often causes a headache the day after consumption from a lack of water intake. Symptoms worsen when the person also takes Benadryl, which can cause dry throat, nose, and mouth. Neither Addiction Group nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

Risks for Seniors

This reduces or stops watering and itching eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, and runny nose. Additionally, the combination of these substances can both dehydrate your body. When you mix these substances, this heightens your risk of dehydration. Not only can this cause discomfort at the time, but it can also inflame any hangover you experience the following day. If you are considering the simultaneous use of these CNS depressants, make sure you do not engage in any tasks calling for mental alertness.


This causes sedation and trouble doing physical and mental tasks that need you to be alert. Benadryl has been shown to block the neurotransmitter in your brain called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is essential to your learning and memory. If you get into the habit of taking Benadryl daily alongside alcohol, you could suffer from lapses in memory. The side effects of combining Benadryl and alcohol can be severe.

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But at Silver Maple Recovery, we’re here to help you reach lasting recovery. Our premier addiction treatment center in Lorain, OH is ready to walk alongside you on your journey to lasting sobriety. Benadryl is commonly used to have a comfortable night’s sleep.

Benadryl, or its chemical name Diphenhydramine, classifies as an antihistamine drug. Usually, Benadryl is taken to counteract allergies, insect bites, poison oak/ivy, and sometimes allergic reactions from animals. Since individuals can purchase this drug over the counter without a prescription, it is a fairly common household item, and rarely thought of as a dangerous drug. However, there have been a handful of recorded instances where young individuals abuse the drug to maximize its side effect of drowsiness. Fortunately, though, there are no observations with dependencies or addictions from use.