Benadryl is a common OTC drug and alcohol is too rampantly used and abused by people. Benadryl may be taken accidentally or intentionally with alcohol. Mixing Benadryl and alcohol may cause serious side effects. The combination can be lethal in people mixing these two.
Benadryl is commonly used to treat common conditions like runny nose, allergic reactions, itching, a non-prescription sedative in many countries across the world. It is easily available in medical shops at every nook and corner.
What is Benadryl?
Benadryl is a brand name of a medicine called diphenhydramine. It is an antihistamine of the first generation.
Being an antihistamine of older category Benadryl is sedative in side effects. It is available as tablets or syrups.
In many countries it is available as over the counter medicine and does not need a prescription to buy it.
For what conditions Benadryl is used?
Benadryl being an antihistamine it is an effective anti allergic medicine. It blocks H1 and H2 receptors in your body. It negates the effects of histamine.
It is used for treatment of the following conditions.
- It is used to treat colds and sneezing. It has antihistaminic and also anticholinergic effects. It dries up your nasal mucosa and opens up a stuffy nose.
- It reduces irritation and itching sensation in nose, throat and eyes.
- Benadryl is used to treat allergies like urticaria as it is an antiallergic and antihistaminic medicine.
- It is used to treat sleep and can be used in the short term treatment for inability to fall asleep.
How does Benadryl work?
Benadryl contains diphenhydramine. It is an antihistamine drug of older antihistamines. Bilastine is a newer antihistamine.
It blocks H1 and H2 receptors. So it counters the action of histamine. With this action it acts as an antiallergic drug. It treats the symptom of allergy like urticaria and itching.
It also has anticholinergic action. It decreases the mucosal secretion. It dries mucosa and opens a stuffy nose.
Being older, antihistamine crosses the blood brain barrier and can induce sleep. So it can be used as treatment for insomnia.
It also acts on the vomiting centre in the brain. It can be used to treat vomiting or motion sickness.
How does alcohol affect you?
Alcohol is a drug that acts on the brain. It stimulates the brain for a short time and then depresses it for a long time.
It acts on GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors reduce brain activity. Large doses suppress the function of CNS.
What happens when you mix Benadryl and alcohol?
Benadryl and alcohol used together can be a deadly combination.
Benadryl suppresses brain activity and alcohol also has similar activity.
When both are taken together this action may get multiplied as both drugs have similar brain suppressing effects.
In larger doses your respiratory centre in the brain may get suppressed. You may experience respiratory failure.
Also Benadryl can induce cardiac arrhythmias. It changes the rhythm of heart beats.
Larger doses may push you to coma and failure of the respiratory centre may be lethal.
Can you die if you mix Benadryl and alcohol?
Yes,both these drugs have a suppressing effect on the brain.
You may go into a coma and the respiratory centre in your brain may stop working.
Also Benadryl in large doses may alter the rhythm of the heart and can cause arrhythmias in few patients. Arrhythmias need emergency treatment.
If not given respiratory support with a ventilator, you may die of hypoxia.
What to do if I accidentally mixed Benadryl and alcohol?
As this combination is lethal, you should immediately go ER (emergency room).
You may need observation and monitoring for the symptoms. If there are no symptoms you will be discharged after a few hours.
If you have symptoms, you will be treated for that.