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    Is Diphenhydramine addictive?

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Posted on Thu, 27 Jul 2017 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: Can you get addicted to diphenhydramine (Benadryl)? I take one 50 mg pill a night to help me fall asleep. I have been doing this for about 5 years. I am afraid I won't be able to sleep without the drug. Is this safe or should I try to quit this habit? If so, how should I stop and will there be withdrawal symptoms?
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Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 37 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Considerations

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for sending the query.

Benadryl can be somewhat habit forming when used for sleep but one can generally slowly wean the dose over time.

50 mg once daily is not a dangerous dose but if you care interested in stopping the Benadryl Inwould suggest a slow taper.

The taper would involve obtaining 25 mg tablets and first start by taking 1.5 tablets by mouth nightly for total dose of 37.5 mg for 10 days. Then would wean dose to just 25 mg nightly for another 10 days. Then would decrease to 12.5 mg nightly for 10 more days and then stop.

Before doing this, I would suggest you discuss this with your primary care doctor as well.

I would not anticipate significant withdrawal symptoms if you do a slow taper.

Sincerely,

Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Follow up: Dr. Robert Galamaga 45 minutes later
Tapering is sounds like a good idea and I actually tried it tonight. I took one 25mg pill and cut another is half. Unfortunately the pills were capsules and I think because the powder was loose the medicine hit me faster and now my heart is racing. I feel like I am having a panic attack. I feel very anxious, how long will this last? Tomorrow I will look for some solid pills so this doesn't happen again.

Thank you, I feel a bit better after drinking some water. I will take your advice and call my doctor tomorrow. One last question, is it possible that taking diphenhydramine on a nightly basis could play a role in hair loss or thinning?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Followup

Detailed Answer:
Hello again,

These symptoms should pass in a short period of time. try and drink some fluids and this should help.

As I suggested before - you should consult your doctor before adjusting the daily routine of your medication.

Sincerely,

Dr Galamaga

Brief Answer:
Followup

Detailed Answer:
I have not seen any information suggesting Benadryl use is linked to hair loss.

Sincerely,

Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Answered by
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Dr. Robert Galamaga

Oncologist

Practicing since :2002

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