Growing number of doctors warn Benadryl is less safe than newer alternatives

Health

Benadryl has for decades been used as a go-to drug to treat everything from bee stings to mysterious toddler hives, but a growing number of doctors now say the antihistamine is less effective and less safe than newer alternatives.

A position statement from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published in early October warns against Benadryl and other first-generation H1 antihistamines as first-line treatments for hay fever and hives.

The group of doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability and that it should be restricted to behind-the-counter access in pharmacies.

“It dumbfounds us that people still want to use it,” says Dr. David Fischer a clinical allergist in Barrie, Ont., and an author of the CSACI position statement says of the group of antihistamines that include Benadryl.

Fischer says the medicinal ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, “makes you drowsy and irritable and if you take too high a dose or an overdose, you will end up in hospital.”




In comparison, Fischer says newer generation H1 antihistamines — such as Reactine, Claritin and Aerius, are safer, more effective and work more quickly.

Source: The Canadian Press, National Post, 14 Nov 2019.

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