Cold Home > Diphenhydramine Side Effects

Indigestion or heartburn, drowsiness, and coordination problems are some of the most common side effects of diphenhydramine. Typically, this drug's side effects are minor and, in most cases, either do not require medical attention or can be treated easily. However, certain side effects are potentially serious and should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately, including loss of balance, double vision, and difficulty breathing.

An Introduction to Diphenhydramine Side Effects

As with any medicine, diphenhydramine (Benadryl®, Sominex®, and many other brand names) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, some people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with this medication. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of diphenhydramine side effects with you.)
 

Serious Side Effects Seen With Diphenhydramine

Some side effects with diphenhydramine are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. Although generally rare, some of these side effects may actually be fairly common, particularly in young children or the elderly. These include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Heart palpitations
  • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Anemia
  • Low blood platelets
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Loss of balance, especially if accompanied by ringing of the ears (tinnitus) or hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Hallucinations or delirium
  • Worsening of ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Worsening of glaucoma
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:

 

    • An unexplained rash
    • Itching
    • Hives
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.

 

Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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