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Are there long term health risks associated with taking anti-histamines long term?

By Anonymous July 15, 2009 - 9:17am
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Hello. I've been taking Benadryl for a few years on a daily basis, just before going to bed. I have bad allergies and find that I have trouble breathing/sleeping if I don't take one before bed time. Does anyone know if there are long term health risks associated with taking these meds long term? Thanks.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your question and welcome to Empowher!

It's a great question: the main ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine (which is also used as a sleep aid in over the counter formulas like Sominex).

From my own doctor at the University of Michigan, the only "side effect" of note is that a person may become immune to the effects or need more of the pill for it to work.

And that's not particularly common. All in all, diphenhydramine is considered quite safe for MOST adults who are in good health, but bear in mind that that's not a guarantee! Some people have had sensitivity to bright lights, drowsiness (unwanted), blurred vision, irregular heartbeat and dry mouth, amongst others. But do take into account that every single medication out there has a list of side effects the length of your arm. You may experience some, you may experience none.

As far as "long term" side effect, all of the above can be long term, as well as that it may ultimately stop working or an increase in dose in needed to achieve the same result.

Does this help?

July 15, 2009 - 12:14pm
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