Generic Name: doxylamine (dox-IL-a-meen)
Brand Name: Examples include Medi-Sleep and Unisom
Doxylamine is used for:
Treating occasional sleeplessness and reducing difficulty falling asleep.
Doxylamine is an antihistamine. It works by depressing the central nervous system (brain) to produce drowsiness.
Do NOT use doxylamine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in doxylamine or other similar medicines
- you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB) or you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine) in the past 2 weeks
- you are breast-feeding
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using doxylamine:
Some medical conditions may interact with doxylamine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- 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 asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung disease, shortness of breath, or sleep apnea
- if you have blockage of the stomach, intestine, or urinary tract; difficulty urinating; diabetes; ulcers; enlargement of the prostate; glaucoma; heart disease; high blood pressure; porphyria; or thyroid disease
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with doxylamine. 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
- Furazolidone or MAO inhibitors (eg, phenelzine) because serious side effects, such as high blood pressure and seizures, may occur
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if doxylamine 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 doxylamine:
Use doxylamine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Doxylamine may be taken with or without food.
- Use doxylamine exactly as directed on the package, unless instructed differently by your doctor.
- Take at least 30 minutes before bedtime to help fall asleep.
- If you miss a dose of doxylamine 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 doxylamine.
Important safety information:
- Doxylamine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to doxylamine. Using doxylamine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking doxylamine. Doxylamine will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
- Alcohol, hot weather, exercise, and fever can increase the risk of dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. To prevent these effects, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Also, sit or lie down at the first sign of dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness.
- Do not become overheated in hot weather or during exercise or other activities because heatstroke may occur.
- Before you begin taking any new prescription or over-the-counter medicine including one used on the skin, read the ingredients to see if it also contains doxylamine. If it does or if you are uncertain, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
- If sleeplessness persists for more than 2 weeks, contact your health care provider.
- Use doxylamine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially dizziness, sedation, and lightheadedness upon standing.
- Doxylamine is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 12 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using doxylamine during pregnancy. Doxylamine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking doxylamine.
Possible side effects of doxylamine:
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; thickening of mucus in nose or throat.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); convulsions; decreased alertness; excitability; fast heartbeat; hallucinations; tightness or pounding in the chest; 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 doxylamine:
Store doxylamine at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), or according to directions on the package label. Store in the original package or container away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep doxylamine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about doxylamine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Doxylamine 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 doxylamine 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 doxylamine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to doxylamine. 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 doxylamine.
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.