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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suffering from sleep less night. Taking zzzquil. What are the side effects?

Answered by
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Dr. Aparna Kohli

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 983 Questions

My 16yo son has difficulties falling asleep. Is it safe to take an over the counter medication called zzzquil regularly? It is the only thing that helps him sleep. Adavan did not help when it was prescribed.

On further look, it turns out this product is the same medication as Benadryl. no additional chemicals.

Are there any concerns for side effects... can it become addictive?

Thanks you...

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 56 minutes later
I understand your concern.
You're right that this drug contains Diphenhydramine, the active agent in Benadryl. While this is not addicting, we do run the risk of your son developing tolerance. This means that with time higher doses would be required to produce the same effects. Also, if we start giving higher doses , and then stop, he might have severe withdrawal symptoms. There are other side effects like a dry mouth and nose; constipation but these are generally not very serious.
But it is intriguing that your young son has such a condition. He does need a basic psychiatric evaluation to rule out other causes of sleep issues (like anxiety or depression.
Apart from that, I hope he has been taught about basic sleep hygiene measures which can make a substantial difference to the quality of sleep.
I hope I have addressed your concern
Let me know if you have any more questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffering from sleep less night. Taking zzzquil. What are the side effects? 2 days later
Dr. Kohli;

You mentioned "basic sleep hygiene measures which can make a substantial difference to the quality of sleep". Could you please elaborate?

Thank you very much,
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 22 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
Sleep hygiene measures include:
a. The room in which he sleeps should be as dark and quiet as a cave
b. Drinking chamomile tea in the evening
c. No exercise or tea/coffee 2-3 hours before bedtime
d. He should avoid watching TV or surfing the net while sitting or lying down on his bed. He should be sitting on a chair and doing this
e. A cup of warm milk at night helps a lot of people sleep
f. Having a light dinner and exercising for 1-1.5 hours during the day also helps
These basic measures can help a lot of people with their sleep problems.
I hope this clarifies.
Let me know if you have any more questions
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