Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drug #2 in My Medicine Cabinet

This week I'm talking about what most doctors keep in their own medicine cabinets. The first drug was ASPIRIN, which I discussed yesterday- how appropriate for Labor Day, right? What's next?

Diphenhydramine, better known as BENADRYL. This drug is probably the best known antihistamine. We use it for it's good effects- fighting allergic reactions- AND for its major side effect: SEDATION. Did you realize that benadryl is the sleep-inducing agent in all the "PM" medications (like tylenol PM and advil PM)? All they do is add some benadryl to the well known pain medication.

I tend to keep benadryl both in the liquid and in the tablet form, in case we have someone who cannot swallow pills (either young or old!) who needs immediate antihistamine for what may be a serious allergic reaction- to a bee sting, or food, or even medication.

Of note, I do NOT keep the topical benadryl preparations around for itchy rashes- I use topical steroids (hydrocortisone) for that type of problem, as they are more effective.

So, itchy & sneezy and can't sleep? Benadryl is a great choice, unless you feel too hung over from it in the morning. Some people (like myself) feel groggy way longer than the suggested 8-12 hours after taking benadryl.

BOTTOM LINE: Item number two in my medicine cabinet is diphenhydramine (trade name, Benadryl).

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