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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.

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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.