Diphenhydramine use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Diphenhydramine: Benadryl, Ibuprofen PM, Banophen, Tylenol PM, Benadryl Allergy, ZzzQuil, Advil PM, Benadryl Children's Allergy, Hydramine, Diphen Cough, Show all 256 »Diphen, Acetaminophen PM Extra Strength, Diphenhist, Aleve PM, Sleep, FIRST Mouthwash BLM, Diphenadryl, Legatrin PM, Unisom SleepGels, Sominex, Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough, Diphenydramine Quick Melt, Headache Relief PM, Dormin, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, 40 Winks, Q-Dryl, Bayer PM, Valu-Dryl, Motrin PM, Itch Relief, Siladryl DAS, Quenalin, Diphendryl, Derma-Pax, Siladryl, Vicks QlearQuil Nighttime Allergy Relief, Calm-Aid, DPH, Diphedryl, Sleep Tabs, Equate Allergy & Sinus Headache, Tranquil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Nytol, Ivarest, CVS Allergy & Cold, Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Delsym Cough+ Cold Night Time, Dicopanol, Acetadryl, Wal-Nadol PM Extra Strength, Excedrin PM, Percogesic Extra Strength, Ala-Hist, Histaprin, Pharbedryl, Z-Sleep, Unisom SleepMelts, Excedrin PM Headache, Truxadryl, Help I Can't Sleep, Silphen Cough, Sleep-ettes, Tusstat, Diphenylin, Hydramine Compound, Pardryl, Nervine, Nu-Med, Nytol Caplet, Compoz Nighttime Sleep Aid, Sleepinal, Allermax, Vanamine PD, Twilite, Banaril, Aler-Tab, Siladryl Allergy, Theraflu Thin Strips Multi Symptom, Sleep-ettes D, Uni-Tann, Q-Dryl A/F, Diphenmax, Nightime Sleepaid, Ben-Tann, Dytan, PediaCare Children's Allergy, Valu-Dryl Topical, Simply Sleep, Actifed Allergy Day/Night, Dimetapp Children's Nighttime Cold & Congestion, Children's Triacting Night Time, Theraflu Thin Strips Nighttime Cold and Cough, Benadryl Children's Allergy Plus Congestion, Robitussin Night Time Cough & Cold, Alahist LQ, Dytan-D, Pediatex-CT, D-Tann, Benadryl-D Allergy Plus Sinus, Benadryl-D Children's Allergy & Sinus, PediaCare Children's Allergy & Cold, Benylin Multi-Symptom, Tavist NightTime Allergy, Diphenmax D, Benadryl Children's Allergy And Sinus, Benadryl Allergy Sinus, Respa SA, Tekral, Benaphen Plus, Di-Delamine, SM Anti-Itch, Anti-Itch Extra Strength, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Benadryl Original Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Relief Stick, Benadryl Extra Strength Spray, Banophen Anti Itch, Triaminic Thin Strips Night Time Cold & Cough, Aldex-CT, Complete Allergy Relief, Rindal HPD, Dytuss, Miles Nervine, Scot-Tussin Allergy, Sleepwell 2-nite, Banophen M-S, Aller-Dryl, Belix, Dermarest Anti-Itch, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Gel , Dermarest Plus, Dermamycin, Dermarest, Hydro-DP, Endal HD, Uni-Tann D, Tussinate, Gestuss-HC, Dytan-HC, D-Tann HC, HC-Derma-Pax, FIRST Duke's Mouthwash, FIRST Mary's Mouthwash, FIRST BXN Mouthwash, Doans PM, Delsym Children's Night Time Cough & Cold, PediaCare Nighttime Multi-Symptom Cold, Sudafed PE Nighttime Nasal Decongestant, Diphentann-D, Siladyl SA, Triaminic Thin Strips Allergy, Beldin, Sudafed PE Nighttime Cold, Theraflu Warming Relief Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Delsym Children’s Cough+ Cold Night Time, Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Congestion & Cough, Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Suphedrine PE Severe Cold, CounterAct Night, Robitussin Multi-Symptom Cold Night Time, Mucinex Children's Night Time Multi-Symptom Cold, Mucinex Fast-Max Night Time Cold & Flu, Mucinex Sinus-Max Day & Night (Night), Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat, Tylenol Plus Children's Cold & Allergy, Benadryl Severe Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Severe Allergy and Sinus Headache, Tylenol Allergy Multi-Symptom Nighttime, CVS Allergy & Sinus Headache, Children's Tylenol Plus Cold And Allergy, Robitussin Severe Multi-Symptom Cough Cold + Flu Nighttime, Theraflu Warming Relief Sinus & Cold, Theraflu ExpressMax Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Theraflu ExpressMax Flu, Cough & Sore Throat, Benadryl Allergy Plus Cold, Sudafed PE Severe Cold, Dimetapp Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Flu, Benadryl Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Mapap PM, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Formula, Respa C&C, Respa C&C IR, Contac Day and Night Cold and Flu, Bayer Select Max Strength Night Time Pain, ConRx PM, Night Time Pain, Percogesic Original Strength, Unisom PM Pain, Genapap PM, Counteract PM Extra Strength, Anacin PM Aspirin Free, Midol PM, Headache Formula PM, Sominex Pain Relief Formula, Pain Reliever PM, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Pharbetol PM, Non-Aspirin PM Extra Strength, Aceta-Gesic, Tylenol Severe Allergy, Theraflu Nighttime Multi-Symptom Severe Cold With Lipton Flavors, Benadryl Cold, Triaminic Thin Strips Cough & Runny Nose, Benoject-50, ConRx Allergy, Buckley's Bedtime, Hyrexin, Hydramine Cough Syrup, Bydramine, Diphen AF, Aler-Dryl, Allergia-C, Benahist-10, Benahist-50, Genahist, Unisom Liquid, Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Aller-G-Time, Sleep Tab II, Sleep-Eze-3, Somnicaps, Nytol QuickCaps, Total Allergy, Trux-adryl, Diphenyl, Altaryl, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Cold & Flu, Unisom SleepMinis, Contac Day and Night Allergy, Dytan-AT, Sudafed Sinus Nighttime Plus Pain, Tylenol Allergy Complete NightTime, Benadryl Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache, Actifed Sinus Day and Night, Allegra Cooling Relief Anti-Itch, Allegra Intensive Relief Anti-Itch, Alka-Seltzer PM, Ala-Hist D, Calamine with Antihistamine, Invarest, D-Tann AT, Sominex Maximum Strength Caplet, Dytan-CS, D-Tann CT, D-Tann CD, Uni-Tann CS, Dytan-CD, Airacof, Endal CD (old formulation), Dytan-DM, Duratuss AC 12, D-Tann DM, Snooze Fast, Diphenhist Topical
Medically reviewed on Jun 4, 2018
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.
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. 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.
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. However, suckling-induced prolactin secretion is not affected by antihistamine pretreatment of postpartum mothers. Whether lower oral doses of diphenhydramine 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.
One woman became dependent on dimenhydrinate (which is 55% diphenhydramine) during her first pregnancy and continued to take it in a dose of 150 mg (83 mg diphenhydramine) daily while she breastfed her infant for 3 months. The infant did well except for a febrile seizure at 2 years of age, which was probably unrelated to dimenhydrinate. During her second pregnancy, she took dimenhydrinate 300 mg (165 mg diphenhydramine) daily during the pregnancy and while breastfeeding her infant for 2 years.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
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
5. Kaya FD. A patient with dimenhydrinate dependence: A case report. Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bulteni. 2014;24:184-7. DOI: doi:10.5455/bcp.20140131023347
CAS Registry Number
LactMed Record Number
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