Benadryl is a common over the counter drug that has many uses. It can serve as an antihistamine to treat sneezing, runny nose, and other allergies. Others use this drug as a remedy for motion sickness. This also applies as sleeping pills to those suffering from sleeping disorders. However, a recent study shows that this OTC drug could increase the risks and chances of having a serious health problem like dementia.

Does Benadryl Cause Dementia?

To address the question, a study was recently conducted. This study involved more than 3,000 randomly selected respondents. These include a combination of men and women belonging to age bracket of 65 and above. The respondents didn’t suffer from dementia during the time they were selected to participate in the study. Moreover, all the respondents belong to a health plan for at least 10 years. The participants were divided into several groups based on their health records as well as their consumption of anticholinergic drugs. Researchers monitored and followed the participants for more than 7 years, on the average, to determine the effects of this drug in the health and body.

Based on the results, those who were exposed to anticholinergic drugs for roughly 1 to 3 years had a slightly higher risk to have dementia as compared to those with no exposure at all. But the difference was not statistically significant. On the other hand, those respondents who take anticholinergic drugs every day for more than three years tend to increase the risk for dementia. The difference is about 54% as compared to those who didn’t use the drug, which indicated significant results.

This study shows that frequent use of the anticholinergic drugs such as Benadryl, which is usually measured in days, can lead to higher risk of dementia.

Fortunately, there are other available drugs that can act as substitutes to anticholinergics depending on the problems encountered and symptoms observed. People suffering from depression can opt to take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as citalopram (Celexa) or fluoxetine (Prozac). Those who have irritations and allergies can use second generation antihistamine such as loratadine (Claritin).

Other Side Effects of Benadryl That Should Be Given Attention

Now you have known the answer to "does Benadryl cause dementia", you'd better know that although Benadryl is an OTC drug taken for most conditions, this drug is also associated with several side effects that one should be aware of.

Common Side Effects of Benadryl

  • Benadryl can greatly affect the respiratory system of a person. It can lead to an increased thickness of the lung or bronchial secretions which may lead to chest problems.

  • Benadryl can cause drowsiness. One should avoid activities such as driving or operating machinery because the performance and safety may be affected.

Rare Side Effects of Benadryl

  • Benadryl can sometimes lead to severe allergic reactions. This may include itching and occurrence of rashes and hives. Difficulty in breathing can also occur as a result of the tightness in the chest area. Swelling and/or dryness of the mouth, nose, face, lips, throat, and tongue can also be experienced when taking this drug.

  • Benadryl may cause blood disorder which may occur especially for people with high blood pressure and severe heart blood vessel disease. The heartbeats may become irregularly fast or slow.

  • Benadryl can lead to hallucinations and seizures in some persons.

  • Benadryl intake may cause urinary problems in both men and women. This may include difficulty in urinating and troubles in emptying the bladder.

  • Benadryl can also give adverse effect in the digestive system. The occurrence of stomach cramps increases due to this drug. Diarrhea may be experienced by some. Loss of appetite may also be observed leading to weakening of the body.

  • Benadryl may affect the eyesight or vision. Blurred visions and other eyesight problems may also be experienced by the person taking this drug.

  • Benadryl can make a person becomes easily annoyed, irritated, confused, and increases the rate of nervousness.

  • Benadryl may lead to chronic troubles in sleeping. This may be experienced together with excessive sweating, especially during night time.

  • Benadryl can cause frequent headaches and dizziness.

The sides effects may vary among individuals. When any of these signs of allergic reactions occur, immediately seek advice and help from medical doctors. Never take other OTC drugs as this might interact with each other, causing more serious health problems.

Knowing "does Benadryl cause dementia" and its other side effects would help you use this kind of drug more carefully. In fact, any kind of drugs, including over the counter drugs, should be understood thoroughly before taking and you'd better consult a doctor before taking them. And best of all, stay healthy!


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