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


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

However, just because a drug comes with a prescription doesn’t mean it can’t have serious side 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 does Benadryl (diphenhydramine) last. We find answers to how long it lasts, how long it takes to kick in, how many pills to take, how to combat drowsiness and what side effects to look out for.

How long does Benadryl take to kick in?

According to GoodRx, it generally takes 15-20 minutes for Benedryl to take effect. If you take it for allergy symptoms, you may start to get relief from itching, sneezing, or coughing. You may also feel drowsy, which can be a desirable result if you take it as a sleep aid during congestion.

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

How long does Benadryl last?

When we take Benadryl, our body metabolizes or processes it. The concentration of the drug will reach its peak (highest point) about 2 hours after administration. The concentration then decreases in increments called the half-life. A half-life is the time to halve the drug concentration. The half-life depends on the person, but for this drug it ranges from about 4 to 9 hours. For each semester that passes, the amount of medication in your system will be cut in half.

This is where it becomes important. you may stop feeling the effects of the drug after about 4-6 hours, but Benadryl can stay in your system for up to 60 hours. This is why it is very important to follow the instructions on the package or given by your doctor to avoid taking too much.

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How long will Benadryl make you sleepy?

You may feel drowsy for about 4-6 hours, but this can vary from person to person. The best way to deal with Benadryl-induced drowsiness (if that’s not the intent) is to simply take a non-drowsy antihistamine such as Zyrtec or Claritin. If the goal is sleepiness, you can take it 30 minutes before going to bed.

What are some side effects of Benadryl?

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

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Stomach disturbance presents some serious side effects;

  • Palpitations or fluttering in the chest
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Little or no urination
  • Confusion
  • Slight dizziness
  • Tension in your neck or jaw
  • Uncontrollable movements of your tongue

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor 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 taken in 24 hours. Be sure to follow any instructions on the package or ask your healthcare provider for further instructions.

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