Benadryl is a drug from the antihistamine class of drugs. It is classified specifically as a 1st generation antihistamine. It has been used medically for a large number of years with it first being discovered and synthesized in 1943. It is also available without prescription as an over the counter medication. There are also many generic and store brand versions of Benadryl available which make it a relatively inexpensive medication. It like most antihistamines is used for the treatment of allergies. It is also approved by the FDA as a sleep aid due to its effects of sedation.
Benadryl as a sleep aid
Benadryl is often recommended for use for those who have a variety of sleep disorders before moving on to prescription medications for sleep disorders. Benadryl poses the advantage of not being as abusable as many prescription sleep medications. It is also cheaper than prescription sleep aids. The toxicity of Benadryl is also lower than that of prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines. Children under two years of age should not be given Benadryl as there is an increased risk of side effects developing. As a sleep aid Benadryl is available in a variety of forms. It is often combined with pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol and marketed under names such as Tylenol PM or Advil PM. It is also available in pure tablet form in doses of 25mg or 50 mg. It is also available in a liquid form which is measurable with a syringe or teaspoon. Some companies also manufacture Benadryl in a gel capsule for. Liquid forms of Benadryl are said to have quicker effects than other forms. Liquid measurable forms of Benadryl pose the advantage of being able to measure more precise dosing amounts.
Benadryl sleep mechanism of action
Benadryl promotes sleep through its actions as an antihistamine. Researchers have linked low levels of histamine to a sleep conducive state. The role that histamine plays in sleep though is still unknown to some extent. Benadryl however targets the H1 receptor in the brain. Many other medications which have hypnotic and sedative effects also are active at this receptor. As an antihistamine Benadryl causes histamine to not be absorbed into the cells so it instead builds up in the spaces between the cells. This results in its sedative and hypnotic properties. It also acts as a cough suppressant and can reduce allergic symptoms which also helps to promote sleep.
Benadryl sleep side effects
Though the majority of those who take Benadryl as a sleep aid to not experience any side effects there are some which are common and should be watched for. It is generally recommended to take no more than 50mg of Benadryl daily as amounts beyond this are likely to increase the chance of side effects developing. The most common side effects of Benadryl are dry mouth and throat. This is due to its activity as an anticholinergic agent. Some users report experiencing vivid or frightening dreams when taking Benadryl as a sleep aid. Some studies have also shown that taking Benadryl more than three nights in a row will drastically diminish its effects.