Benadryl and Alcohol

by on June 2, 2012

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that is used for relief of allergies and insomnia. Aside from its anti-histaminic effect, it also has an anticholinergic effect. In general, alcohol should not be combined with medications and substances that have an anticholinergic effect.

Mixing alcohol together with Benadryl can result in potential adverse reactions and side effects. The exact mechanism of interaction between alcohol and Benadryl is not fully understood but theoretically, alcohol may enhance the central nervous system (CNS) depressant effect of Benadryl.

Side Effects

The main concern is that both of these substances can cause drowsiness and sedation. It can also lead to a significant impairment in concentration, focus and thinking. Alcohol can potentiate the effects of Benadryl, and vice versa.

The tolerability of the sedative effects depends on the person. Some may be able to tolerate drinking a glass or two of alcohol while on Benadryl while others may develop side effects (such as drowsiness or dizziness) immediately after drinking. Since its potential effects on patients are unpredictable, patients are advised to avoid taking any alcoholic beverage while taking this drug. Patients who operate heavy equipment or drive are highly advised to avoid drinking alcohol because of the possible drowsiness. If you choose to drink alcohol, be sure that you do not drive, operate machinery or engage in other activities that require concentration and focus.

Talk with your doctor

Although alcohol should generally be avoided, you should feel free to discuss with your healthcare provider your alcohol consumption. Each patient experiences a different situation; some may be able to safely drink alcohol while others should totally inhibit from taking alcoholic beverages. If you decide to drink, take each glass at a time and determine how these agents affect you. Do not take too much at one time especially if you are not used or have not learned yet alcohol effects on you.