What is Benadryl (diphenhydramine) used for?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Diphenhydramine, better known by the brand name Benadryl, is probably the best known antihistamine. It is used for fighting allergic reactions and for sedation, its major side effect  Diphenhydramine is the sleep-inducing agent in all the PM medications, such as Tylenol PM and Advil PM.

If someone can't sleep because of itching and sneezing, Benadryl is a great choice, unless you feel too hung over from it in the morning. Some people feel groggy way longer than the suggested 8-12 hours after taking Benadryl.

Continue Learning about Nasal Agent

What should I know before taking a decongestant?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
If you have an enlarged prostate, decongestants may prevent you from completely emptying your bladde...
More Answers
Is there an alternate medicine to Doxylamin and diphenhydramine?
Doxylamine and diphenhydramine are both H-1 antagonists, which mean they are both antihistamines in ...
More Answers
What is a decongestant?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Decongestants are available as pills, nasal sprays, or drops. They are meant for short-term use only...
More Answers
What should I know before taking cromolyn?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
It is not known if cromolyn is safe or effective for children and adolescents under 18 years of age....
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.