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Benadryl Plus

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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Benadryl is the brand name for a range of over-the-counter products that are used to manage allergies. Generally, most of these products contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine. Benadryl Plus is a product that contains the hay fever medication diphenhydramine as well as the decongestant medication phenylephrine. This product is formulated as tablets and liquid for children over the age of 6.

Doctor’s advice

Who should take the medication?

Antihistamines can help relieve allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and an itchy nose or throat. They work well for conditions like hay fever, pet allergies, and dust allergies. If you are also experiencing nasal congestion due to your allergic condition, a combined product with a decongestant can help relieve that stuffy blocked-up feeling.

How does it work?

During an allergic reaction, your immune system releases a chemical called histamine, which is responsible for the bothersome symptoms. Antihistamines stop histamine from binding to its target sites in your body, reducing the immune response and also the symptoms.

Phenylephrine helps relieve nasal congestion, which can occur due to allergies. The nasal congestion is caused by swelling (inflammation) of blood vessels in your nose. Phenylephrine is a vasoconstrictor and works by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose. This leads to a reduction in the swelling, leading to an improvement in breathing through your nose.

Should anyone avoid taking it?

Like all medications, don’t take them if you previously had an allergic reaction to the medication. You should also make sure you do not take a combined antihistamine and decongestant product alongside another antihistamine or decongestant medication. Avoid taking this medication with the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease (including hypertension).
  • If you take beta blockers.
  • Have breathing problems.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Pheochromocytoma.
  • Closed angle glaucoma.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Severe renal impairment.
  • Enlarged prostate.

In addition, if you’re taking, or have taken, monoamine oxidase inhibitor medication within the previous 14 days you shouldn’t use this product.

Are there any side effects?

As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. All antihistamines have the potential to cause drowsiness. Avoid use in the elderly.

Potential side effects from decongestants like phenylephrine can include nausea, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, restlessness, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Occasionally, some people may develop fast or irregular heartbeats. If this happens, you should stop using the medication and seek medical advice.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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