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Diphenhydramine use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Diphenhydramine: Benadryl, Tylenol PM, ZzzQuil, Benadryl Allergy, Advil PM, Diphen, Benadryl Children's Allergy, Sleep, Banophen, CVS Allergy & Cold, Show all 249 »Diphenhist, Sominex, Calamine with Antihistamine, Nytol, Aleve PM, Unisom SleepGels, Mucinex Fast-Max Night Time Cold & Flu, Dicopanol, Legatrin PM, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, Percogesic Extra Strength, Diphenydramine Quick Melt, Triaminic Thin Strips Cough & Runny Nose, FIRST Mouthwash BLM, Q-Dryl, Sleepinal, Allermax, Complete Allergy Relief, PediaCare Children's Allergy, Dermarest, Valu-Dryl, Ibuprofen PM, Unisom PM Pain, Simply Sleep, Sleep Tab II, Airacof, Unisom SleepMelts, Aler-Dryl, Excedrin PM, Non-Aspirin PM Extra Strength, Dytuss, CVS Allergy & Sinus Headache, Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough, Di-Delamine, Benadryl Children's Allergy And Sinus, Ivarest, Banophen Anti Itch, Delsym Children's Night Time Cough & Cold, Buckley's Bedtime, Pharbedryl, Dytan, Aler-Tab, Twilite, Tranquil Nighttime 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Strength Itch Relief Stick, Benadryl Original Strength Itch Stopping Cream, SM Anti-Itch, Excedrin PM Headache, Diphentann-D, Uni-Tann D, Aldex-CT, Sudafed PE Nighttime Nasal Decongestant, PediaCare Nighttime Multi-Symptom Cold, Contac Day and Night Cold and Flu, Respa C&C IR, Respa C&C, Respa SA, Sleep-ettes, Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Sudafed PE Nighttime Cold, Mucinex Sinus-Max Day & Night (Night), Mucinex Children's Night Time Multi-Symptom Cold, Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat, Benadryl Severe Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Robitussin Severe Multi-Symptom Cough Cold + Flu Nighttime, Tylenol Allergy Multi-Symptom Nighttime, Equate Allergy & Sinus Headache, Robitussin Multi-Symptom Cold Night Time, Suphedrine PE Severe Cold, Tylenol Plus Children's Cold & Allergy, Dimetapp Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Flu, Anacin PM Aspirin Free, Tylenol Severe Allergy, Sudafed PE Severe Cold, Theraflu Warming Relief Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Congestion & Cough, Delsym Children’s Cough+ Cold Night Time, Theraflu Warming Relief Sinus & Cold, Benadryl Allergy Plus Sinus Headache, Dytan-CS, D-Tann CT, D-Tann CD, Uni-Tann CS, D-Tann AT, Dytan-AT, Ala-Hist D, Alka-Seltzer PM, Invarest, Dytan-CD, Actifed Sinus Day and Night, Tylenol Allergy Complete NightTime, Contac Day and Night Allergy, Benadryl Cold, Benadryl Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache, D-Tann DM, Endal CD (old formulation), Dytan-DM, Duratuss AC 12, Aceta-Gesic, Pharbetol PM, Aller-G-Time, Sleep-Eze-3, Nytol QuickCaps, Total Allergy, Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Genahist, Benahist-50, Benoject-50, Diphenadryl, Trux-adryl, Diphenyl, Ala-Hist, Tusstat, Diphenylin, Siladyl SA, Siladryl DAS, Beldin, Belix, Siladryl, Benahist-10, Allergia-C, Headache Formula PM, Wal-Nadol PM Extra Strength, Counteract PM Extra Strength, Mapap PM, Sominex Pain Relief Formula, Pain Reliever PM, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Excedrin PM Triple Action, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Genapap PM, Percogesic Original Strength, Diphen AF, Diphen Cough, DPH, 40 Winks, Bydramine, Snooze Fast, ConRx Allergy, Hyrexin, Hydramine Compound

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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