Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine, is a medicine available over-the-counter (OTC) that’s frequently used to treat various symptoms related to allergies. People frequently wonder if there are potential side effects or adverse outcomes that can stem from the combination of alcohol and diphenhydramine.
The following provides an overview of the possible side effects of using alcohol and diphenhydramine simultaneously and answers questions like “can alcohol and Benadryl kill you?”
Normal Side Effects of Benadryl
Some of the side effects of diphenhydramine include drowsiness, dry mouth, headache or urination problems. For some people, the level of drowsiness they experience may be significant. Benadryl may rarely cause some to feel the opposite effect of excitability, but this is more common in children. It’s important, even when you’re not combining alcohol and diphenhydramine, that you don’t drive or operate machinery, particularly if you don’t know how you’ll react to diphenhydramine.
Even in a best-case scenario when you combine alcohol and diphenhydramine, the effects of both are going to be heightened.
Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Diphenhydramine
The side effects of diphenhydramine and alcohol can be severe, mostly because both affect the central nervous system and depress its functionality. When the central nervous system is depressed, it means that essential functions like respiration also slow down. If you pair alcohol and diphenhydramine together, it can cause extreme sedation on the central nervous system.
For some, the level of sedation when combining alcohol and diphenhydramine can be so significant that they lose consciousness. Because of this, you should never combine alcohol and diphenhydramine and then drive, operate machinery or plan to be in any potentially risky or unfamiliar situation.
In some people, an overdose is possible with alcohol and diphenhydramine. This could require emergency treatment and hospitalization.
Risks for Seniors
The risks and side effects of alcohol and diphenhydramine can be even more intense for seniors. It can cause problems with their motor skills because of sedation and dizziness, and it can lead to increased risk of falls.
Along with drinking alcohol with diphenhydramine, it’s important that you’re aware of the alcohol content of other medicines you might be taking. For example, some medicines, such as cough syrup, can have up to 10% alcohol content. These may also cause an adverse reaction when paired with Benadryl.
Can Alcohol and Benadryl Kill You?
The answer is yes, although you would likely have to ingest large doses of both. If you overdose on alcohol and diphenhydramine and lose consciousness, death is one of the risks. Despite the fact that it’s commonly used and easily available over the counter, Benadryl can cause dangerous side effects. That’s why you should never mix it with alcohol.
It’s very important to speak with a physician about your use of alcohol and diphenhydramine. It’s also vital that you never try to combine alcohol and diphenhydramine as a way to help you fall asleep or feel more intoxicated.
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