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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Antihistamines

02/18/2009

Question:

i take diphenhydramine every night (50-75mg) to sleep. I have been doing this for years. if i don`t take it, i don`t sleep and i feel funny the next day. Am i addicted? does taking this so much hurt the liver? thanks

Answer:

Over-the-counter Diphenhydramine hydrochloride, trade name Benadryl is generally not recommended for insomnia because of poor efficacy and drowsiness the next morning. This medication has also been shown to build tolerance against its sedation effectiveness very quickly, as soon as day 3 of dosing.

This medication is not an addictive substance, however, for the individual with addiction, Benedryl can "wake up" a craving for the drug of choice. This medication may have a place in your medicine cabinet as an antihistamine, useful in an allergic response, but it is not very effective for improving the wake sleep cycle.

The following are recommendations to improve your wake sleep cycle:

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Deborah L Hoy, CNS Deborah L Hoy, CNS
Clinical Instructor at the College of Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University