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Diphenhydramine use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Diphenhydramine: Benadryl, Ibuprofen PM, Banophen, Benadryl Allergy, Tylenol PM, ZzzQuil, Sleep, Acetaminophen PM Extra Strength, Advil PM, Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Show all 256 »Mucinex Fast-Max Night Time Cold & Flu, Benadryl Children's Allergy, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, Aleve PM, Diphen, Nytol, Unisom SleepGels, Sominex, Simply Sleep, Diphedryl, FIRST Mouthwash BLM, Diphenhist, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Gel , Diphenadryl, Quenalin, Delsym Children's Night Time Cough & Cold, Dicopanol, Theraflu ExpressMax Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Pain Reliever PM, Legatrin PM, Dormin, Diphenydramine Quick Melt, Hydramine, Headache Relief PM, 40 Winks, Anti-Itch Extra Strength, Benadryl-D Allergy Plus Sinus, Pharbedryl, Histaprin, Benadryl-D Children's Allergy & Sinus, Diphentann-D, Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough, Dimetapp Children's Nighttime Cold & Congestion, Sleep Tabs, Acetadryl, Tranquil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Benadryl Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache, Bayer PM, Motrin PM, Respa C&C, Diphenyl, Endal HD, Midol PM, Delsym Cough+ Cold Night Time, Percogesic Extra Strength, Tylenol Severe Allergy, Aceta-Gesic, Airacof, Headache Formula PM, Excedrin PM, Unisom SleepMelts, Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat, Calm-Aid, Severe Allergy and Sinus Headache, CVS Allergy & Cold, Equate Allergy & Sinus Headache, Theraflu ExpressMax Flu, Cough & Sore Throat, Benadryl Allergy Plus Cold, Hydramine Cough Syrup, Diphen Cough, Diphenhist Topical, Sleepwell 2-nite, Excedrin PM Headache, Scot-Tussin Allergy, Banaril, Tusstat, Diphenylin, Hydramine Compound, Pardryl, Nervine, Nu-Med, Nytol Caplet, Compoz Nighttime Sleep Aid, Sleepinal, Help I Can't Sleep, Allermax, Diphendryl, Twilite, Aler-Tab, Miles Nervine, Siladryl Allergy, Theraflu Thin Strips Multi Symptom, Sleep-ettes D, Uni-Tann, Q-Dryl A/F, Diphenmax, Nightime Sleepaid, Ben-Tann, Dytan, Z-Sleep, PediaCare Children's Allergy, Truxadryl, Complete Allergy Relief, Dytuss, Vanamine PD, Tussinate, Banophen M-S, Tavist NightTime Allergy, Benadryl Children's Allergy Plus Congestion, Robitussin Night Time Cough & Cold, Alahist LQ, Dytan-D, Pediatex-CT, D-Tann, PediaCare Children's Allergy & Cold, Benylin Multi-Symptom, Actifed Allergy Day/Night, Benadryl Children's Allergy And Sinus, Children's Triacting Night Time, Benadryl Allergy Sinus, Respa SA, Tekral, Benaphen Plus, Di-Delamine, SM Anti-Itch, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Benadryl Original Strength Itch Stopping Cream, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Relief Stick, Benadryl Extra Strength Spray, Theraflu Thin Strips Nighttime Cold and Cough, Triaminic Thin Strips Night Time Cold & Cough, Itch Relief, Gestuss-HC, Aller-Dryl, Valu-Dryl Topical, Dermarest Anti-Itch, Derma-Pax, Dermarest Plus, Dermamycin, Dermarest, Hydro-DP, Rindal HPD, Silphen Cough, Dytan-HC, Diphenmax D, D-Tann HC, HC-Derma-Pax, FIRST Duke's Mouthwash, FIRST Mary's Mouthwash, FIRST BXN Mouthwash, Doans PM, PediaCare Nighttime Multi-Symptom Cold, Sudafed PE Nighttime Nasal Decongestant, Uni-Tann D, Aldex-CT, Sleep-ettes, ConRx Allergy, Siladyl SA, Children's Tylenol Plus Cold And Allergy, 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), Sudafed PE Nighttime Cold, Benadryl Severe Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Tylenol Allergy Multi-Symptom Nighttime, CVS Allergy & Sinus Headache, Robitussin Severe Multi-Symptom Cough Cold + Flu Nighttime, Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Congestion & Cough, Theraflu Warming Relief Sinus & Cold, Theraflu Nighttime Multi-Symptom Severe Cold With Lipton Flavors, Benadryl Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Benadryl Cold, Contac Day and Night Allergy, Sudafed Sinus Nighttime Plus Pain, Tylenol Allergy Complete NightTime, Actifed Sinus Day and Night, Allegra Cooling Relief Anti-Itch, Allegra Intensive Relief Anti-Itch, Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Delsym Children’s Cough+ Cold Night Time, Ala-Hist, Mapap PM, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Formula, 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, Theraflu Warming Relief Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Wal-Nadol PM Extra Strength, Sominex Pain Relief Formula, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Pharbetol PM, Non-Aspirin PM Extra Strength, Anacin PM Aspirin Free, Dimetapp Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Flu, Tylenol Plus Children's Cold & Allergy, Sudafed PE Severe Cold, Alka-Seltzer PM, Ala-Hist D, Siladryl DAS, Sleep-Eze-3, Allergia-C, Benahist-10, Benahist-50, Benoject-50, Genahist, Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Q-Dryl, Aller-G-Time, Sleep Tab II, Somnicaps, DPH, Nytol QuickCaps, Total Allergy, Trux-adryl, Valu-Dryl, Altaryl, Triaminic Thin Strips Cough & Runny Nose, Beldin, Belix, Vicks QlearQuil Nighttime Allergy Relief, Siladryl, Aler-Dryl, Diphen AF, Calamine with Antihistamine, Endal CD (old formulation), Invarest, Ivarest, Dytan-AT, D-Tann AT, Dytan-CS, D-Tann CT, D-Tann CD, Uni-Tann CS, Dytan-CD, Dytan-DM, Bydramine, Duratuss AC 12, D-Tann DM, Snooze Fast, Sominex Maximum Strength Caplet, Unisom SleepMinis, Unisom Liquid, Triaminic Thin Strips Allergy, Diabetic Tussin Night Time Cold & Flu, Buckley's Bedtime, Hyrexin, Banophen Anti Itch

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 13, 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.

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


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

Diphenhydramine Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding



Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number



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Further information

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