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Benadryl is a brand name for a number of different antihistamine medications used to stop allergies including diphenhydramine, acrivastine and cetirizine.

Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel (4600729217).jpg
TypeAntihistamine, allergy medication
Inception1946 (1946)
ManufacturerJohnson & Johnson

In the United States and Canada, it is the first-generation antihistamine diphenhydramine. Some products marketed in Australia and New Zealand as a cough medicine with the Benadryl name contain diphenhydramine.[1] In the United Kingdom, the active component of Benadryl is often the antihistamine acrivastine[2] or cetirizine.[3]

Benadryl is available for oral or topical use. It is marketed without a prescription by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Before 2007, Benadryl was marketed by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (originally Warner–Lambert).[4][5]

Diphenhydramine can also cause sleepiness. The product is not recommended for use in children under the age of six[6] where it has caused fatalities.[7][8] In 2014, the FDA posted a warning about swallowing Benadryl gel products that were meant to be used topically. The warning stated that the relatively high levels of diphenhydramine in the gel could cause confusion and loss of consciousness.[9][10]


  1. ^ "ARTG, PI and CMI results searching for Benadryl". Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia.
  2. ^ "Benadryl Allergy Relief - Summary of Product Characteristics". eMC. May 21, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  3. ^ "Benadryl Allergy One A Day 10mg Tablets - Summary of Product Characteristics". eMC. November 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  4. ^ "Johnson & Johnson to Acquire Pfizer Consumer Healthcare" (Press release). Johnson & Johnson. June 26, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  5. ^ "Johnson & Johnson Completes Acquisition Of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare" (Press release). Johnson & Johnson. December 20, 2006. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  6. ^ "Benadryl oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing - WebMD". WebMD. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Bever, Lindsey (June 7, 2016). "A mother's warning after babysitter allegedly gives infant a lethal dose of Benadryl". Washington Post.
  8. ^ Nine, J. S.; Rund, C. R. (March 2006). "Fatality from diphenhydramine monointoxication: a case report and review of the infant, pediatric, and adult literature". Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 27 (1): 36–41. doi:10.1097/ PMID 16501346.
  9. ^ "FDA: Serious Side Effects From Swallowing Benadryl Gel". Fox News. Wall Street Journal. March 27, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Benadryl For Dogs Guide". Saturday, 16 February 2019

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