Diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine Side Effects
Some side effects of diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine: liquid, sustained-release tablets, tablets
Other dosage forms:
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 while taking diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine:
Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth, nose, and throat; excitability; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness or anxiety; trouble sleeping; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or other vision changes; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hallucinations; mood or mental changes; persistent trouble sleeping; restlessness; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; tremor; trouble urinating or inability to urinate; unusual bruising or bleeding.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine: oral liquid, oral tablet, oral tablet disintegrating
The CNS depressant effect of diphenhydramine parallels its plasma concentrations. The plasma concentration threshold for sedation is 30 to 42 ng/mL, and to cause mental impairment is 58 to 74 ng/mL. Patients should be warned against driving while taking diphenhydramine, and should avoid concomitant ingestion of alcohol.
Dystonic reactions to diphenhydramine have been accompanied by dizziness, mental confusion, rigidity, lip and tongue protrusion, trismus, torticollis, and swallowing difficulties. These reactions generally resolve spontaneously. Toxic encephalopathy has been reported in a child with chicken pox treated generously with topical diphenhydramine.
Delirium has been reported in elderly patients with mild dementia following small oral doses of diphenhydramine.
Central nervous system (CNS) depression commonly occurs with diphenhydramine administration, resulting in drowsiness and sedation in nearly all patients treated. Motor skills may be impaired. Dystonic reactions have been reported after single doses of diphenhydramine.
Pseudoephedrine produces nervous system stimulation, resulting in tremor, anxiety, and nervousness. Insomnia is reported in up to 30% of pseudoephedrine-treated patients. Headache may also occur in patients receiving pseudoephedrine.
Cardiovascular effects of diphenhydramine may include hypotension, tachycardia, and palpitations.
Cardiovascular adverse effects more commonly may be associated with pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine generally causes a significant rise in heart rate. Hypertension and arrhythmias may be problematic in susceptible patients.
Pseudoephedrine causes vasoconstriction which generally does not produce hypertension, but may be problematic for patients with pre-existing hypertension. Arrhythmias may be produced in predisposed patients. Rarely, pseudoephedrine has been reported to cause coronary artery spasm and chest pain.
Hypersensitivity reactions may occur with diphenhydramine, generally resulting in rash, pruritus and eczema. Photosensitivity reactions have also been reported with diphenhydramine.
Hypersensitivity reactions to pseudoephedrine may also occur. Fixed drug eruptions secondary to pseudoephedrine have been reported.
Most commonly, hypersensitivity to diphenhydramine manifests itself in patients receiving systemic drug after being sensitized to it by topical application. Sensitization with systemic administration has also been reported.
Gastrointestinal tract adverse effects of diphenhydramine are mild, and may include nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.
Gastrointestinal adverse effects of pseudoephedrine may include anorexia and gastric irritation in approximately 5% of patients. Dry mouth, nose, or throat may occur in up to 15% of patients.
Ocular affects of diphenhydramine may include blurred vision, diplopia, and dry eyes due to its anticholinergic effect.
The genitourinary tract may be adversely affected due to the anticholinergic effects of diphenhydramine, resulting in urinary retention and dysuria.
Hematologic adverse effects such as hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and agranulocytosis may be rarely caused by antihistamines.
More diphenhydramine/pseudoephedrine resources
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