Is Benadryl a Risky Sleep Aid?

Friday, 20 Sep 2013 11:07 AM

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Question: Many nights I take Benadryl to help me sleep. I have year-round allergies and asthma and they keep me up at night. Is it safe for me to keep taking the Benadryl?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:

Allergies that persist at night are usually best managed by a combination regimen. Benadryl works, but only for six hours and it does cause extreme drowsiness. Try a longer-acting antihistamine, such as Zyrtec (10 milligrams daily) and consider asking your doctor to add a leukotriene blocker such as Singulair.

After three weeks of using Singulair, the effects should be noticeable, but it must be taken daily to be effective. By contrast, Zyrtec
's effects should be noticeable after 10 minutes.

Seasonal flare-ups may require a cortisone shot, but shouldn
't be used long term. Immunotherapy and allergy shots are also available. So you should discuss your options with your doctor and allergist. Sometimes oral immunotherapy is available and can be as effective as allergy shots in many patients, though is yet to be generally accepted as a substitute for the needle.

You might also consider changing to non-feather pillows to see if this helps, since you may be allergic to feathers. And don
't forget to change your air handler and air conditioner's air filter monthly.

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