Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Is Benadryl Safe for My Allergies?

Friday, 17 May 2013 09:39 AM

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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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Dr. Hibberd's advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital work in emergency medicine and surgery.
 
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