Generic Name: diphenhydramine (DYE-fen-HYE-dra-meen)
Brand Name: Examples include Benadryl Allergy and Dytuss
Diphenhydramine elixir is used for:
Preventing or treating symptoms of hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies or the common cold, such as runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose and throat, and itchy, watery eyes, and relieving cough. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Diphenhydramine elixir is an antihistamine and anticholinergic. It works by blocking the action of histamine, reducing the symptoms of an allergic reaction. It also works in the brain to cause sedation.
Do NOT use diphenhydramine elixir if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in diphenhydramine elixir or other similar medicines
- you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using diphenhydramine elixir:
Some medical conditions may interact with diphenhydramine elixir. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- if you have a history of asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); chronic bronchitis; lung problems (eg, emphysema); shortness of breath; sleep apnea; heart blood vessel problems; stroke; seizures; a blockage of your stomach, intestine, or bladder; difficulty urinating; diabetes; ulcers; an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems; glaucoma; heart problems; high blood pressure; the blood disease porphyria; phenylketonuria; or an overactive thyroid
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with diphenhydramine elixir. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Sodium oxybate (GHB) because an increase in sleep duration and a decrease in the ability to breathe are likely to occur
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if diphenhydramine elixir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use diphenhydramine elixir:
Use diphenhydramine elixir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take diphenhydramine elixir by mouth with or without food.
- Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
- Use diphenhydramine elixir exactly as directed on the package, unless instructed differently by your doctor. If you are taking diphenhydramine elixir without a prescription, follow any warnings and precautions on the label.
- If you miss a dose of diphenhydramine elixir and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use diphenhydramine elixir.
Important safety information:
- Diphenhydramine elixir may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use diphenhydramine elixir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using diphenhydramine elixir; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Diphenhydramine elixir may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Do not become overheated in hot weather or while you are being active; heatstroke may occur.
- Diphenhydramine elixir may interfere with skin allergy tests. If you are scheduled for a skin test, talk to your doctor. You may need to stop taking diphenhydramine elixir for a few days before the tests.
- Some of these products contain phenylalanine. If you must have a diet that is low in phenylalanine, ask your pharmacist if it is in your product.
- Diphenhydramine elixir may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to diphenhydramine elixir. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Diphenhydramine elixir has diphenhydramine in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has diphenhydramine in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- If your symptoms persist for more than 1 week or if you develop a fever, contact your health care provider.
- Do not use diphenhydramine elixir for a cough with a lot of mucus. Do not use it for a long-term cough (eg, caused by asthma, emphysema, smoking). However, you may use it for these conditions if your doctor tells you to.
- Use diphenhydramine elixir with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially dizziness, sedation, and lightheadedness upon standing.
- Different brands of diphenhydramine elixir may have different dosing instructions for CHILDREN. Follow the dosing instructions on the package labeling. If your doctor has given you instructions, follow those. If you are unsure of the dose to give a child, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using diphenhydramine elixir while you are pregnant. Diphenhydramine elixir is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use diphenhydramine elixir, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of diphenhydramine elixir:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth, throat, and nose; excitability; thickening of mucus in nose or throat.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); convulsions; fast heartbeat or pounding in the chest; decreased alertness; hallucinations; tremor; wheezing.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include coma; excitement; hallucinations; loss of consciousness; muscle twitching; seizures; tremor; weakness.Proper storage of diphenhydramine elixir:
Store diphenhydramine elixir at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep diphenhydramine elixir out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about diphenhydramine elixir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Diphenhydramine elixir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take diphenhydramine elixir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about diphenhydramine elixir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to diphenhydramine elixir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using diphenhydramine elixir.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.