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Diphenhydramine use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Diphenhydramine: Benadryl, Benadryl Allergy, Tylenol PM, ZzzQuil, Banophen, Diphen, Diphenhist, Advil PM, CVS Allergy & Cold, Sominex, Show all 249 »Nytol, Calamine with Antihistamine, Benadryl Children's Allergy, Sleep, Aleve PM, Q-Dryl, Excedrin PM, Unisom SleepGels, Valu-Dryl, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, Allermax, Sleepinal, Triaminic Thin Strips Cough & Runny Nose, Dicopanol, Headache Relief PM, Diphenydramine Quick Melt, Legatrin PM, PediaCare Children's Allergy, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Formula, Unisom SleepMelts, Simply Sleep, Complete Allergy Relief, CVS Allergy & Sinus Headache, Triaminic Thin Strips Allergy, Dytuss, Non-Aspirin PM Extra Strength, Motrin PM, FIRST Mouthwash BLM, Dermarest, Acetadryl, Unisom PM Pain, Hydramine Cough Syrup, Banophen Anti Itch, Benylin Multi-Symptom, PediaCare Children's Allergy & Cold, Airacof, Benadryl Children's Allergy And Sinus, Benadryl Allergy Sinus, Aler-Dryl, Tranquil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Pharbedryl, Dytan, Siladryl 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Compound, Pardryl, Aler-Tab, Theraflu Thin Strips Multi Symptom, Ben-Tann, Histaprin, Z-Sleep, Nightime Sleepaid, Diphenmax, Sleep-ettes D, Uni-Tann, Q-Dryl A/F, FIRST Duke's Mouthwash, FIRST Mary's Mouthwash, Robitussin Night Time Cough & Cold, Alahist LQ, Dytan-D, Benadryl Children's Allergy Plus Congestion, Theraflu Thin Strips Nighttime Cold and Cough, Dimetapp Children's Nighttime Cold & Congestion, Children's Triacting Night Time, Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough, D-Tann, Benadryl-D Allergy Plus Sinus, Tavist NightTime Allergy, Respa SA, Tekral, Actifed Allergy Day/Night, Di-Delamine, Benadryl-D Children's Allergy & Sinus, Respa C&C IR, Respa C&C, Triaminic Thin Strips Night Time Cold & Cough, Diphenmax D, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Anti-Itch Extra Strength, FIRST BXN Mouthwash, Sleep-ettes, Benadryl Original Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Diphenhist Topical, Benadryl Extra Strength Spray, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Relief Stick, Doans PM, SM Anti-Itch, Diphentann-D, Uni-Tann D, Aldex-CT, Sudafed PE Nighttime Nasal Decongestant, PediaCare Nighttime Multi-Symptom Cold, Excedrin PM Headache, Contac Day and Night Cold and Flu, Delsym Children's Night Time Cough & Cold, Benaphen Plus, Siladryl, Equate Allergy & Sinus Headache, Severe Allergy and Sinus Headache, Benadryl Severe Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat, Tylenol Allergy Multi-Symptom Nighttime, Children's Tylenol Plus Cold And Allergy, Benadryl Cold, Benadryl Allergy Plus Cold, Theraflu Warming Relief Sinus & Cold, Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Sudafed PE Nighttime Cold, Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Congestion & Cough, Delsym Children’s Cough+ Cold Night Time, Theraflu Warming Relief Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Suphedrine PE Severe Cold, CounterAct Night, Mucinex Sinus-Max Day & Night (Night), Mucinex Children's Night Time Multi-Symptom Cold, Robitussin Multi-Symptom Cold Night Time, Contac Day and Night Allergy, Sudafed Sinus Nighttime Plus Pain, Dytan-CS, D-Tann CT, D-Tann CD, Uni-Tann CS, D-Tann AT, Dytan-AT, Ala-Hist, Invarest, Ivarest, Dytan-CD, Bayer PM, Actifed Sinus Day and Night, Benadryl Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache, Tylenol Allergy Complete NightTime, Alka-Seltzer PM, D-Tann DM, Endal CD (old formulation), Dytan-DM, Duratuss AC 12, Sudafed PE Severe Cold, Tylenol Plus Children's Cold & Allergy, Genahist, Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Aller-G-Time, Sleep Tabs, Calm-Aid, Benoject-50, Allergia-C, Benahist-10, Benahist-50, Sleep-Eze-3, Nytol QuickCaps, Belix, Vicks QlearQuil Nighttime Allergy Relief, Ala-Hist D, Siladryl DAS, Beldin, Altaryl, Total Allergy, Trux-adryl, Diphenyl, Diphen Cough, Diphen AF, Acetaminophen PM Extra Strength, Pharbetol PM, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Aceta-Gesic, Excedrin PM Triple Action, Dimetapp Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Flu, Anacin PM Aspirin Free, Tylenol Severe Allergy, Pain Reliever PM, Sominex Pain Relief Formula, ConRx Allergy, Bydramine, 40 Winks, Sominex Maximum Strength Caplet, Snooze Fast, Wal-Nadol PM Extra Strength, Counteract PM Extra Strength, Genapap PM, Siladyl SA

Diphenhydramine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Small, occasional doses of diphenhydramine would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. Larger doses or more prolonged use may cause effects in the infant or decrease the milk supply, particularly in combination with a sympathomimetic such as pseudoephedrine or before lactation is well established. Single bedtime doses after the last feeding of the day may be adequate for many women and will minimize any effects of the drug. The nonsedating antihistamines are preferred alternatives.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. One old study that used a biologic assay system reported that after a 100 mg intramuscular dose of diphenhydramine in four women, drug levels in milk were undetectable in two and 42 and 100 mcg/L in two others at one hour after the dose. Five hours after the dose, milk levels were undetectable in two women and 20 and 100 mcg/L in two others.[1] No studies using modern assay methods have been reported.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

In one telephone follow-up study, mothers reported irritability and colicky symptoms 10% of infants exposed to various antihistamines and drowsiness was reported in 1.6% of infants. None of the reactions required medical attention. In this study, drowsiness was reported in 1 infant of 12 exposed to diphenhydramine in breastmilk.[2]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Antihistamines in relatively high doses given by injection can decrease basal serum prolactin in nonlactating women and in early postpartum women.[3][4] However, suckling-induced prolactin secretion is not affected by antihistamine pretreatment of postpartum mothers.[3] Whether lower oral doses of antihistamines have the same effect on serum prolactin or whether the effects on prolactin have any consequences on breastfeeding success have not been studied. The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Desloratadine, Fexofenadine, Loratadine


1. Rindi V. La eliminazione degli antistaminici di sintesi con il latte e l'azione latto-goga de questi. Riv Ital Ginecol. 1951;34:147-57.

2. Ito S, Blajchman A, Stephenson M et al. Prospective follow-up of adverse reactions in breast-fed infants exposed to maternal medication. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993;168:1393-9. PMID: 8498418

3. Messinis IE, Souvatzoglou A, Fais N et al. Histamine H1 receptor participation in the control of prolactin secretion in postpartum. J Endocrinol Invest. 1985;8:143-6. PMID: 3928731

4. Pontiroli AE, De Castro e Silva E, Mazzoleni F et al. The effect of histamine and H1 and H2 receptors on prolactin and luteinizing hormone release in humans: sex differences and the role of stress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981;52:924-8. PMID: 7228996

Diphenhydramine Identification

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Administrative Information

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