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Benadryl Products for Allergy Relief

Benadryl is a brand name for a hydrochloride of diphenhydramine (as antihistamine) and some other antihistamines. This brand is used for several different medicines for treating allergy. As diphenhydramine they belong to the first generation antihistamine (or H1-receptor antagonists) and are available containing only one active ingredient or combination of some others that are also sold under various Benadryl names.

It should be mentioned, that in some countries Benadryl products may contain other active ingredients (such as Benadryl Once a Day contains cetirizine, United Kingdom) or may even belong to another antihistamine generation (as Benadryl Allergy Relief with acrivastine as an active component). But as the most of Benadryl products contain diphenhydramine (the first generation antihistamine) and acrivastine (the second generation antihistamine), it would be the focus of this article.

Benadryl products with diphenhydramine as an active ingredient

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that is used for treating different types of allergy (most often of hay fever), allergic reaction (in order to limit allergic reactions to various substances and products), as well as for some other conditions (that do not considered to be called Benadryl products). As one of the side effects it has sedative properties, for that reason diphenhydramine is often used for sleep inducing. In some forms (for example as a syrup) it is used for treating cough as a symptom of hay fever (caused by minor throat irritation).

Among the examples are:

  • Benadryl For Allergy Relief,
  • Benadryl Allergy Relief, Kapseals (Ultratab, Liqui-Gels/Softgels, Dye-Free Liquigels)
  • llergy - Quick Dissolve Strips, (in different tastes, as Vanilla Mint)
  • Benadryl Maximum Strength Antihistamine Severe Allergy & Sinus Headache Caplets
  • Children's Benadryl (with different taste, as Cherry Flavored Liquid)

It comes in different forms – as a tablet (could be a tablet that is swallowed, chewable tablet, or dissolving tablet – put into a glass of water), syrup, a liquid-filled or ordinary capsule, in forms of dissolving strip and liquid (that requires taking by mouth) and even of lotion and cream.

In all available form when diphenhydramine is used for allergy relief – it is taken every 4-6 hours. It begins to work one hour after you take the medicine and stops after about 5 hours. Its action it based on blocking the histamine from attaching to the receptor, so the symptoms of allergy won’t occur.

The dosage will vary depending on your symptoms and their response to the medicine. The average dose for adult is 25 mg to 50 mg, 3- 4 times a day (but not more that 400 mg), as for the children: 12.5 mg to 25 mg, 3- 4 times a day (but not more that 300 mg, from age of 2).

Among side effects there are:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness and different coordination difficulties
  • Nervousness, confusion, headache, sleepiness, fatigue
  • Blurred vision and ringing in the ears
  • Stomach upset
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Difficulty (or frequent) urinating
  • Allergic reactions (such as rash or dry mouth and nose)
  • Low blood pressure (especially in elderly patients)
  • Deterioration of muscle tissue is more serious side effect that is very unlikely to occur

You probably won’t be allowed to use diphenhydramine if you have increased pressure in the eye, enlarged prostate or different problems with your bladder, stomach ulcer, asthma or hyperthyroidism. Also you need a special consultation if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Benadryl products with acrivastine as an active ingredient

Acrivastine is an antihistamine that is used to treat different types of allergic rhinitis (such as hay fever) and different allergic reaction (even with no known cause). It belongs to second-generation antihistamines that also blocks H1 histamine receptors (second-generation H1-receptor antagonist antihistamine). The difference lies in non-sedating effect that this generation provides, as it does not enter the brain and that’s why it most likely won’t cause drowsiness.

Among the examples are:

  • Benadryl Allergy Relief (in the U.K. by Pfizer) available in capsule form
  • acrivastine and decongestant combinations (that are used to treat the nasal congestion and other symptoms caused by colds and hay fever): Benadryl® Plus, Semprex-D (in the US), and many others

Unlike diphenhydramine, acrivastine starts working right after you take the medicine – in 15 minutes.

Among side effects from taking acrivastine you may experience drowsiness, but extremely rare. Together with some other active ingredients medicines may have the following side effects:

  • Chest (or abdominal) pain
  • Allergic reactions (such as rash, difficulty breathing or wheezing and enlarged tongue)
  • Difficulty urinating
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  • Palpitations
  • Muscle contractions
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure 

You should tell your doctor if you have diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, disease of kidney or liver, over active thyroid, prostate trouble, urinary disorders, stomach ulcer, high blood pressure and some other conditions. You may be advised not to use the medication. Better not used when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have allergic reaction to acrivastine (and other active ingredient of the medicine). Some of the medicines are not allowed for children less than 12 years of age and for elderly people.

In any case, your doctor will help you to choose the most effective medicine for you with the lowest risk.

Valentyna Ant.

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