Question: Is diphenhydramine (Benadryl) safe when taken on a daily basis for allergies?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Benadryl is a very effective antihistamine. Its major side effect is drowsiness, and there are better options for you that are not nearly as sedating. Zyrtec is a once-a day antihistamine, safe for adults and children and can produce great results. But about 10 percent of people who take it may have drowsiness, so start it a night. You will notice results within 10 minutes and it is also great for periodic use.
Other non-sedating products, including Allegra and Claritin, take longer to work, but you may want to consider them if Zyrtec makes you drowsy. But be aware that they do not seem to work as well in all patients, they have more side effects in some, and need to be modified if you’re taking them with some other medications. That’s why it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before trying them.
Some patients may benefit by using a leukotriene blocker such as Singulair once a day, in addition to periodic antihistamine use. But it takes three months of once-daily treatments to see the maximum effects from this medication. For those with medication problems or need more than periodic use, consider a visit to the allergist for a consultation.
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