Taking Benadryl® and alcohol together can make a lot of people fall asleep, which has led to some people abusing the combination to fall asleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t just potentially dangerous, it can also reduce the overall quality of your sleep and leave you feeling more tired than you would expect after a full night’s sleep. Done several times in a row, you might find yourself feeling increasingly worse and more of the after-effects of both drugs with each repetition.
You may have heard that you shouldn’t drive or use machinery if you take Benadryl (alone or with alcohol). This warning is because of the risks of CNS depression from the drug. But both drugs work on your central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of your brain and spinal cord. Benadryl is the brand-name version of an antihistamine called diphenhydramine. An antihistamine is a drug that interferes with the action of the compound histamine in your body. “Ethanol is highly pleiotropic. Beyond its reinforcing effects, it alters the functioning of multiple organs and cell types,” Contet says.
- Older adults may have more side effects from Benadryl, including sleepiness, dizziness, or heart problems.
- While they may help you sleep, alcohol consumption and Benadryl will lead to poor quality sleep overall.
- Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while taking Benadryl.
- As an antihistamine, diphenhydramine blocks those responses, which alleviates allergy symptoms.
They can let you know if your other medications contain alcohol and if it’s safe to take them with Benadryl. Alcohol and diphenhydramine can both cause sedation and drowsiness, so you may be tempted to exploit these properties as a sleep aid. This is inadvisable and can bring about adverse side effects detrimental to sleep, including dizziness and nausea.
THE RISKS OF MIXING BENADRYL AND ALCOHOL
That neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine, which is critical for memory and learning. If you’ve felt foggy or like it was harder to remember what happened after taking Benadryl®, this may be part of why. Alcohol also impairs memory formation, and the lingering effects of alcohol on your body can make learning more challenging even after the primary effects of the drug wear off. Unfortunately, while we wouldn’t recommend mixing alcohol with any antihistamine, Benadryl® and alcohol are one of the more dangerous substance combinations for many reasons.
Additionally, using Benadryl with other prescription drugs can produce harmful effects, especially when combined with alcohol. Furthermore, long-term use of alcohol and anticholinergic drugs such as Benadryl has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Combining Benadryl and alcohol, both of which can impair memory and learning, may have a more pronounced impact on cognitive functions. If you lose consciousness once as a result of combining Benadryl® and alcohol, you’re also at increased risk of it happening again.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 2 Jan 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 16 Nov 2023), ASHP (updated 10 Jan 2024) and others. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and can increase the risk that you develop the side effects mentioned above when co-administered with other CNS depressants such as Benadryl.
Small amounts of alcohol can make it dangerous to drive, and when you mix alcohol with certain medicines you put yourself at even greater risk. Combining alcohol with some medicines can lead to falls and serious injuries, especially among older people. This pamphlet lists medications that can cause harm when taken with alcohol and describes the effects that can result.
Side effects in children
If you or a loved one unintentionally mixes diphenhydramine and alcohol, rest in a safe environment should restore balance. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Benadryl or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take it. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you. If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away.
Design For Recovery is committed to helping you or your loved one live a fulfilling life free from alcohol and drug addiction. Below you can find out what to expect when you contact us for help. Design for Recovery empowers men struggling with addiction by providing 24/7 support, mentorship, and teaches them how to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
The list gives the brand name by which each medicine is commonly known (for example, Benadryl®) and its generic name or active ingredient (in Benadryl®, this is diphenhydramine). The list presented here does not include all the medicines that may interact harmfully with alcohol. Most important, the list does not include all the ingredients in every medication. According to the Asthma and alcoholic narcissist alcohol and narcissistic personality disorder Allergy Foundation of American, allergic rhinitis (aka hay fever) affects 20 million adults in the United States each year. And millions more experience various other types of allergies—everything from insect bites and pet dander to shellfish, peanuts, and mold spores (to name a few). If your allergy is severe enough, you might carry an EpiPen or receive allergy shots from your doctor.
Side Effects of Benadryl
Mixing alcohol with Benadryl and alcohol can impair your sexual function and cause you to experience difficulties with arousal, orgasm, or erection. Alcohol and medicines can interact harmfully even if they are not taken at the same time. Cough syrup and laxatives may have some of the highest alcohol, headaches and hangovers alcohol concentrations. In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Benadryl can be taken or mixed with alcohol. Based on the above information, if you are looking to completely avoid alcohol while Benadryl is in your system, you need to wait 24 to 48 hours.
Can Benadryl be used in babies or toddlers? If so, what are the possible side effects?
Some people are more prone than others to losing consciousness when sedated. In these people, combining Benadryl and alcohol after years of enjoying drinking, my body has just stopped is more likely to cause a loss of consciousness. This can be harmful due to the likelihood of falls and other accidents.
If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Benadryl, they’ll decide if you should continue using it. Benadryl works by drying out your body, which may result in blurry vision. Yes, your risk of side effects can vary, depending on the dose of Benadryl you take. The over-the-counter forms of Benadryl are only approved for children 6 years and older, as well as adults. If your child is younger than 6 years, talk with their doctor about whether Benadryl is safe for them. After treatment, a caseworker can connect you to a supportive recovery community to help you sustain your sobriety.
Common Problems With Combining Benadryl® and Alcohol
While less common, there certainly is the risk of more severe side effects (like shallow breathing) if higher than recommended amounts of both are taken. Taking these other types of medications with alcohol could also increase the risk of side effects. This can cause discomfort at the time and may worsen a hangover. Flonase is an over-the-counter nasal spray used to treat allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose. Benadryl is often used in combination with Flonase to ease allergy symptoms. If you’re taking melatonin, L-theanine, or trazodone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Benadryl.
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about other medications you can take to treat your cold or allergy symptoms. Both Benadryl and alcohol share the ability to suppress the central nervous system (CNS), which can have harmful consequences. The combined sedative effect may cause a drop in heart rate and slow breathing, potentially leading to heart problems or even loss of consciousness. In rare cases, CNS depression can even result in a coma or benadryl and alcohol death . Beyond this, both alcohol and Benadryl are known to have dehydrating effects on the body.
While they may help you sleep, alcohol consumption and Benadryl will lead to poor quality sleep overall. They can also disrupt your sleep cycle by causing you to sleep too much or too little. It may be effective for relieving rashes and itchy skin, watery eyes, runny nose or stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, nose, or throat. Benadryl may also be used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.