Do you have fall allergies? Here’s everything you need to know about Benadryl.

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Over-the-counter medications can be safe and effective for all types of minor ailments.

However, just because a medication is over the counter, does not mean that it cannot have severe effects, or even be harmful if taken incorrectly.

If you have fall or winter allergies and are looking for ways to get more sleep, you may be wondering how long Benadryl (diphenhydramine) lasts. We find answers to how long it lasts, how long it takes to hit, how many pills you should take, how to fight drowsiness, and what side effects to look for.

How long does it take for Benadryl to kick in?

According to GoodRx, it usually takes about 15-20 minutes to start feeling the effects of Benedryl. If you take it for allergy symptoms, you may start to get relief from itching, sneezing or coughing. You may also feel drowsy, which could be the desired effect if taken as a sleep aid while congested.

It is important to note that the use of Benadryl as a sleep aid if you do not have other symptoms may not be recommended. In an interview with Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Philip Alapat, an assistant professor of medicine, says, “Using Benadryl or any antihistamine for sleep has no long-term benefit,” adding, “most people develop a tolerance very quickly.”

How long does Benadryl last?

When we take Benadryl, our body metabolizes or processes. The concentration of the medication reaches its peak (highest point) about 2 hours after ingestion. Then, the concentration decreases in increments called half-life. Half-life is the time it takes for the concentration of the medication to be cut in half. The duration of the half-life depends on the person, but for this medication, it varies from about 4 to 9 hours. For every half-life that passes, the amount of medication in your system will be cut in half.

This is where it’s important – you may stop feeling the effects of the medication after about 4-6 hours, but Benadryl can be in your system for up to 60 hours. That’s why it’s vital to follow the instructions found on the package or given by your doctor, so you don’t take too much.

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How Long Will Benadryl Make You Sleep?

You may feel drowsy for about 4-6 hours, but this may differ depending on the person. The best way to combat the drowsiness caused by Benadryl (if this is not the purpose) is to simply take a non-drowsy antihistamine, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. If sleepiness is the goal, you may want to take it about 30 minutes before bedtime.

What are some of the side effects of Benadryl?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the common side effects of Benadryl include:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache outlines some of the serious side effects:

  • Heart palpitations or pounding in your chest
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Little or no urination
  • Confusion
  • dizziness
  • Tightness in your neck or jaw
  • Uncontrolled movements of your tongue

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Can I take two Benadryl at once?

An adult can take 1-2 tablets at a time, but no more than 6 tablets should be consumed in 24 hours. Be sure to follow any instructions on the package or ask your doctor for more instructions.

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