Skip to main content

Diphenhydramine use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 3, 2021.

Drugs containing Diphenhydramine: Benadryl, Banophen, Tylenol PM, Benadryl Allergy, ZzzQuil, Advil PM, Diphen, Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Sleep, Unisom SleepGels, Show all 262 »Sominex, Motrin PM, Benadryl Allergy Plus Cold, Benadryl Children's Allergy, Headache Relief PM, Nervine, Legatrin PM, FIRST Mouthwash BLM, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, Diphenhist, Siladryl, Aleve PM, Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion, Dimetapp Children's Nighttime Cold & Congestion, Percogesic Original Strength, Mucinex Fast-Max Night Time Cold & Flu, DPH, Sleep Tabs, Sleepinal, Ibuprofen PM, Sudafed PE Sinus Congestion Nighttime, Benadryl Original Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Severe Allergy and Sinus Headache, Equate Allergy & Sinus Headache, Benadryl Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Hydramine, Pharbedryl, Nytol, Itch Relief, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Gel , Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough, Benylin Multi-Symptom, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Formula, Pain Reliever PM, Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Sudafed PE Nighttime Cold, Theraflu ExpressMax Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Actifed Sinus Day and Night, Dicopanol, Buckley's Bedtime, Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Sleep Tab II, Sleep-Eze-3, Valu-Dryl, Help I Can't Sleep, Siladryl Allergy, Endal HD, Benadryl Allergy Sinus, Banophen Anti Itch, Excedrin PM Headache, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Cold & Flu, Mucinex Fast-Max Day Time Severe Cold and Night Time Cold & Flu Maximum Strength, Mucinex Fast-Max Day Time Cold & Flu and Night Time Cold & Flu Maximum Strength, Mucinex Fast-Max Day Time Severe Congestion & Cough and Night Time Cold & Flu Maximum Strength, Mucinex Children's Day Time & Night Time Multi-Symptom Cold Value Pack, Respa C&C, Respa C&C IR, Contac Day and Night Cold and Flu, Bayer Select Max Strength Night Time Pain, ConRx PM, Acetadryl, Night Time Pain, Unisom PM Pain, Genapap PM, Mapap PM, Counteract PM Extra Strength, Midol PM, Wal-Nadol PM Extra Strength, Excedrin PM, Headache Formula PM, Sominex Pain Relief Formula, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Pharbetol PM, Non-Aspirin PM Extra Strength, Acetaminophen PM Extra Strength, Aceta-Gesic, Tylenol Severe Allergy, Percogesic Extra Strength, Anacin PM Aspirin Free, Mucinex Sinus-Max Day and Night Maximum Strength, Dimetapp Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Flu, Tylenol Plus Children's Cold & Allergy, Sudafed PE Severe Cold, Theraflu Warming Relief Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Delsym Cough+ Cold Night Time, Delsym Children’s Cough+ Cold Night Time, Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Congestion & Cough, Suphedrine PE Severe Cold, CounterAct Night, Robitussin Multi-Symptom Cold Night Time, Mucinex Children's Night Time Multi-Symptom Cold, Mucinex Sinus-Max Day & Night (Night), Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat, Benadryl Severe Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, CVS Allergy & Cold, 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 Flu, Cough & Sore Throat, Theraflu Nighttime Multi-Symptom Severe Cold With Lipton Flavors, Benadryl Cold, Contac Day and Night Allergy, Sudafed Sinus Nighttime Plus Pain, Tylenol Allergy Complete NightTime, Benadryl Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache, Allegra Cooling Relief Anti-Itch, Allegra Intensive Relief Anti-Itch, Alka-Seltzer PM, Bayer PM, Ala-Hist, Ala-Hist D, Calamine with Antihistamine, Invarest, Ivarest, Dytan-AT, D-Tann AT, 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, Sominex Maximum Strength Caplet, Unisom SleepMinis, Unisom Liquid, Triaminic Thin Strips Allergy, ConRx Allergy, Hyrexin, Hydramine Cough Syrup, Bydramine, 40 Winks, Diphedryl, Diphen AF, Diphen Cough, Aler-Dryl, Allergia-C, Benahist-10, Benahist-50, Benoject-50, Calm-Aid, Diphenadryl, Genahist, Q-Dryl, Aller-G-Time, Somnicaps, Nytol QuickCaps, Total Allergy, Trux-adryl, Diphenyl, Altaryl, Triaminic Thin Strips Cough & Runny Nose, Beldin, Belix, Vicks QlearQuil Nighttime Allergy Relief, Siladryl DAS, Siladyl SA, Silphen Cough, Sleep-ettes, Tusstat, Diphenylin, Hydramine Compound, Pardryl, Quenalin, Nu-Med, Nytol Caplet, Compoz Nighttime Sleep Aid, Allermax, Diphendryl, Twilite, Banaril, Aler-Tab, Theraflu Thin Strips Multi Symptom, Sleep-ettes D, Diphenydramine Quick Melt, Uni-Tann, Q-Dryl A/F, Diphenmax, Nightime Sleepaid, Ben-Tann, Dytan, Vanamine PD, Histaprin, Z-Sleep, Tranquil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Unisom SleepMelts, PediaCare Children's Allergy, Truxadryl, Simply Sleep, Complete Allergy Relief, Dytuss, Dormin, Miles Nervine, Scot-Tussin Allergy, Sleepwell 2-nite, Banophen M-S, Aller-Dryl, Valu-Dryl Topical, Dermarest Anti-Itch, Derma-Pax, Dermarest Plus, Dermamycin, Dermarest, Hydro-DP, Rindal HPD, 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, Diphentann-D, Uni-Tann D, Aldex-CT, Diphenmax D, Triaminic Thin Strips Night Time Cold & Cough, 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, Actifed Allergy Day/Night, Tavist NightTime Allergy, Benadryl Children's Allergy And Sinus, Respa SA, Tekral, Benaphen Plus, Di-Delamine, SM Anti-Itch, Anti-Itch Extra Strength, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Relief Stick, Benadryl Extra Strength Spray, Diphenhist Topical

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 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.[5]

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Desloratadine, Fexofenadine, Loratadine

References

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. [PubMed: 8498418]
3.
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. [PubMed: 7228996]
4.
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. [PubMed: 3928731]
5.
Kaya FD. A patient with dimenhydrinate dependence: A case report. Klin Psikofarmakol Bull. 2014;24:184–7. [CrossRef]

Substance Identification

Substance Name

Diphenhydramine

CAS Registry Number

58-73-1

Drug Class

Breast Feeding

Lactation

Antihistamines

Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.