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Mixing Benadryl with Alcohol: Is It Safe?

Picture showing the risks of mixing Benadryl with alcohol

Benadryl is one of the most used over-the-counter medications. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, and Benadryl is the brand-name version of it. Antihistamines are medications that affect the actions of the compound histamine in your body. 

You might believe Benadryl is safe to take in any situation because it is available without a prescription at pharmacies and grocery stores. However, Benadryl is a medication that carries risks. If you take it with alcohol, it may have serious side effects.

Antihistamines and Alcohol

Histamine has a role in the immune system of your body to allergens. This phenomenon shows why you react to something you’re allergic to by getting a stuffy nose, itchy skin, motion sickness, runny nose, hay fever, and other symptoms. 

An antihistamine works to prevent your body’s reaction to these allergens. As a result of this action, your allergy season symptoms may improve.

Alcohol can cause liver problems, while Benadryl doesn’t. However, both substances target the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The medication lessens allergy symptoms like rashes, cough syrup, and itchy eyes, throats, and noses. 

Benadryl and Alcohol: Not Safe

Benadryl and alcohol suppress your central nervous system (CNS), which is one thing they have in common. Your heart rate may drop (heart problems), your breathing may slow down, you may lose consciousness, and in rare instances, your CNS depression could put you in a coma.

One of the main reasons why combining alcohol and Benadryl frequently results in personal damage is the possibility of losing consciousness. Unfortunately, there are other health risks you can encounter.

Risks of Mixing Benadryl and Alcohol

Loss of Consciousness

The combination of alcohol and Benadryl is harmful to many people. Some people are more likely than others to become unconscious when under anesthesia. 

Combining Benadryl and alcohol in these patients increases the risk of unconsciousness. Due to the possibility of falls and other accidents, this could be serious. 

You need to consult with your doctor before taking Benadryl with alcohol.

Drowsiness

The adverse effects of Benadryl include sleepiness and drowsiness. These effects may impair coordination and reduce reaction time. 

Alcohol and Benadryl together produce dangerous levels of tiredness, making it harder for a person to maintain daily activities. It could be fatal if daily life includes particular tasks, like driving or operating heavy machinery.

Memory Impairment

The use of Benadryl blocks the proper functionality of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for autonomic bodily functions. 

The appropriate functioning of acetylcholine is essential for memory and learning. So, inhibiting its action can temporarily compromise these functions. 

Alcohol is known to impair memory and learning momentarily. Therefore, mixing alcohol and Benadryl may have a more pronounced impact on memory and learning.

Dehydration

Alcohol can dehydrate your body in no time. Benadryl also creates the same effects to dehydrate your body. 

So, the mixture of both drugs may produce unhealthy levels of dehydration. It may cause discomfort, and you may lose concentration. You may also experience a worsening hangover in the meantime.

Issues with Sleeping

Both of the drugs (alcohol and Benadryl) increase the level of sedation and drowsiness. The combination of both can exploit sleeping patterns. 

You may sleep too much or feel lazy in the process—the drugs can aid other side effects to disrupt your sleeping, such as nausea and dizziness.

Dementia

According to one study, those who use anticholinergic medication, like Benadryl, daily for at least three years have a higher risk of developing dementia. This study included all anticholinergic drugs, not simply Benadryl.

Another study in 2018 also linked heavy alcohol use to an increased risk of dementia. Long-term use of alcohol and large doses of Benadryl are both directly linked to a higher risk of dementia. 

Long-term studies in these individuals would be necessary to determine if high amounts of alcohol and Benadryl consumption affect dementia risk.

Complications in Older Adults

The aging factor reduces the body’s ability to break down alcohol. The adult’s digestive system may not be able to resist the effects of alcohol compared to younger people. 

Due to this slowness, a person is more likely to experience a negative interaction between Benadryl and alcohol. So, if you are getting older, you must be careful about alcohol consumption.

Interactions with Other Medications

The adverse effects of using Benadryl alongside other medications produce harmful effects. Combining these other prescription drugs with alcohol may make adverse side effects more likely.

Do not mix Benadryl with:

  • Medication for stomach ulcers 
  • Antidepressants
  • Cold and flu medication
  • Additional antihistamines
  • Valium-brand diazepam sedatives

The Misuse of Benadryl

According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, the use of Benadryl is legal only for the treatment of allergic reactions. Do not use Benadryl for any other reason. 

However, some individuals might believe using it as a sleep aid is smart. This is due to the drowsiness that Benadryl creates. 

But if you’re willing to have a good night’s sleep, don’t believe a glass of wine and some Benadryl will do the trick. It’s possible that abusing Benadryl and alcohol will cause you to feel lightheaded and interfere with your ability to fall asleep. 

Additionally, Benadryl, other drugs, and sleep aids may not work together. Therefore, you should only use Benadryl to treat your seasonal allergy symptoms if you want to be safe.

Consult with Your Doctor for More Information

Benadryl is a potent drug. You should not consume Benadryl with alcohol to be safe. Alcohol and medication can interact dangerously, impairing motor skills and attention and causing excessive sleepiness.

Medical experts advise waiting for a specific time after taking Benadryl, which is made for short-term use, before consuming alcohol. 

Beverages, mouthwashes, and other medications that include alcohol as a component should not be consumed with Benadryl. 

Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should wait after taking Benadryl before grabbing a drink to be safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long after drinking can I take Benadryl?

You should wait at least six hours before taking Benadryl after drinking.

Healthcare providers prescribe Benadryl if a person is experiencing allergic symptoms. The drug is a helpful allergy medication. But many times, people misuse this drug. 

They start to take Benadryl after drinking. This combination is very harmful to most people. You should consult your doctor for professional medical advice before taking Benadryl after drinking.

Is mixing Benadryl and alcohol safe?

Benadryl and alcohol can be unsafe when combined. Depending on the quantity consumed of either substance, you may die.

Overall, if you take two Benadryl and drink small amounts of alcohol, you may be alright. However, if you take ten Benadryl and ten vodka shots, you’ll likely end up in the hospital. 

Remember that every person has a unique body composition. Just remember not to overdo it and seek medical attention if you have any worrying symptoms.

What is the lethal dose of Benadryl and alcohol in combination?

The combination of Benadryl with alcohol causes severe side effects. Medical professionals don’t recommend using both drugs at the same time. 

You must be careful while using Benadryl with alcohol. You should be fine if you take two Benadryl before going out and accidentally mix it with a beer. 

However, you’ll probably end up in the hospital if your drink of choice includes ten shots of vodka. Remember that every person’s body is different and may metabolize substances at different rates.

Get Help from Indiana Center for Recovery 

The excessive use of over-the-counter medications is harmful to your health. Its effects may be more severe if you take it with alcohol.If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction, Indiana Center for Recovery is here to assist you.

We offer addiction treatment, detox, and residential treatment. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, contact us. Our qualified staff is waiting to answer any questions you may have about the detox process. 

Call us at (844) 650-0064 to speak with a admissions counselor.