Can You Take Benadryl Every Day?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not it is safe to take Benadryl (diphenhydramine) every day.

Question

Can you take Benadryl everyday? Will I get a tolerance to it? Are there studies that show that it is less effective if taken daily?

Asked by Teanne On Apr 10, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Apr 11, 2018

Taking Benadryl Every DayTaking Benadryl (diphenhydramine) every day is generally not recommended.


If you are using Benadryl to help you sleep, talk to your doctor about your sleeping issues to determine the cause and/or find an alternative sleep-aid.


If you are using Benadryl for allergies, it may be more beneficial to should take a newer and safer alternative, such as Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin. Benadryl can cause considerable sedation in most individuals, while many newer antihistamines, such as Claritin, are non-drowsy and last all day.


Taking Benadryl Every Day

Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine, meaning it is one of the earlier drugs developed in this category of medications. First-generation antihistamines, like Benadryl, are often noted for their sedative side effects as they have the ability to travel to your brain (i.e. crosses the blood-brain barrier), which is why they can make you sleepy. 


You will not develop a tolerance to Benadryl in terms of having to take more medication to feel the same effect. But, if you are taking Benadryl to help you sleep, your body can become dependent on it and you might have more trouble sleeping without it. In fact, studies suggest that prolonged Benadryl use as a sleep aide reduces sleep quality long term.


While Benadryl will not lose its effectiveness when taken long-term, recent studies have associated long-term use of Benadryl with an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Having said all of above, Benadryl does certainly have a place in therapy for a variety of indications. For example, studies suggest that Benadryl more effective than other antihistamines at reducing the symptoms stemming from an allergic reaction, such as with bee stings.


Summary

  • In order to treat sleep-related problems, talk to your doctor about alternatives other than Benadryl.
  • If you are taking Benadryl for allergies, try one of the newer products (called “second-generation” antihistamines) like Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar is a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate from the University of Colorado. His areas of expertise include pharmacovigilance and drug safety.

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