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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:42 PM
Original message
Why Benadryl is a bad sleep aid
http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/features_julies...

It's tempting to pop a Benadryl when you can't sleep. But seemingly benign over-the-counter drugs taken for insomnia and other common conditions, such as allergies, motion sickness or incontinence, can damage the aging brain, according to research published in the journal Neurology.

The drugs, called anticholinergics, work by blocking acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter. They're widely used, especially by the elderly and sold under the names Benadryl, Dramamine, Exedrin PM, Nytrol, Sominex and Tylenol PM. Some anticholinergics, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil, are available only by prescription. (Heres a list of medications with anticholinergic effects.)

In a six-year observational study, researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute and Wishard Health Services evaluated 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began. The study was longitudinal, which means it collected data on people at more than one time point and analyzed the change.

The scientists monitored cognition and tracked all over-the-counter and prescription medications taken by study participants. They found that consistently taking one anticholinergic "significantly increased an individuals risk of developing mild cognitive impairment" while taking two of the drugs doubled the risk.

The finding was especially significant for African Americans, who are already known to be at high risk for developing cognitive impairment, said lead author Noll Campbell, a clinical pharmacist with Wishard Health Services. But the results can be generalized to other races, the researchers said.


Benadryl is the "PM" ingredient in Tylenol PM.

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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. I took a benedryl once. Never again
made me so stupid I wouldn't have known my own name if it wasn't stenciled in my underwear.
Thanks for a list of those drugs.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. It's also very effective when used occassionally.
Plus, it's the one of the most effective allery and hay fever medications available, by prescription or over the counter.

In fact, I just took one an hour ago. It seems a mean old spider bit me on the arm yesterday while I was cutting some weeds. It was just itching like crazy. So, I took one benadry (Waldryl, to be exact). The itching is gone, and at a cost of, maybe 2 cents. Hurrah for modern medicine.
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safeinOhio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. I have had massive allergy attacks
send me to hospital. When I feel one coming on I inject it and it keeps me out of emergency. Much safer than an eppipen. If I can't sleep, I just enjoy being up. Problem with using it for sleep is, it becomes weaker and less effective the more often you take it.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. Damn
I've had bronchitis and I'm pregnant. I was able to take the Z Pack, but the doctor told me that Benadryl was the safest of all medications to take while pregnant to help any cold symptom that I might have. Plus Robitussin DM. Without my benadryl, I probably wouldn't have slept for the past two weeks at all.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-29-10 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
20. I Take It For Sleep
now and then and find it effective. It's not addicting, and if I take it early enough I don't have a hangover the next day. Maybe when I'm 70 I'll stop.
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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. Pot is a much better sleep aid
:)

Seriously...what a wonder drug. Since Ive been using regularly (every few days) I can't keep awake past 12. Instant sleep. No more insomnia. And Im not even taking it for that. I haven't slept this regularly and soundly ever in my entire life (had problems since a very young age)
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. I used to take lots of it for my allergies and sinus
problems. I do believe it has affected my mind or it could be just old age. I haven't taken it in years as I now live in a place that doesn't trigger as many allergies.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. it's interesting that a lot of the cognition supplements
Contain choline.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. yeah tell me about Dallas
a half a Zyrtec turns me into a drooling slack jawed zombie for 24 hours, Allegra makes my stomach bleed, Benadryl makes me stupid, Claritin makes my spit taste funny. All of the anti-cholinergics are bad body trips for me, so WHAT if I don't sneeze.

The best thing to induce sleep at night is to get up and start your day early and don't stop till you drop. Your body will eventually say WTF the sun is down and so am I. Being sedentary, eating within two hours of sleeping, eating sugar, drinking tea, coffee, soda or immoderate amounts of liquor before sleeping are all bad ideas and probably just as bad for your brain in the long run.

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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's an upper
That stuff just keeps me awake

Better to go with Ambien or Melatonin
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Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. I take benadryl for my allergies.
I only take it when they're severe, because it makes me irritable.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. Too many variables.
It would be instructive to know why people were taking it. Were sleep disorders due to other medical problems or a co morbidity with alcohol abuse? Did they compare people with chronic sleep deprivation with insomniacs who self medicated with the recommended dosage of benadryl?

I really hate studies like this one that scare monger without giving more complete information.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-29-10 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
22. It also doesn't address each med by itself but "taking one anticholinergic"
Some in that list have more anti-cholinergic effects than others and there are many drugs that have an effect. Doesn't seem right to single out one and say it is the problem and avoid it.

Too many variables.
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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. Another shitty thing the drug companies do when they relabel Benadryl as a sleep aid...
they double or triple the price.
I occasionally take Benadryl as a sleep aid, especially if my allergies are acting up. I haven't felt any stupider yet.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I took it for allergies longer than I needed it for sleep
(and still consider it more benign than my alternative, Flexeril, which flattens me for about 12 hours) and always got the cheapest knockoff packaged for allergies and still do. If you take it for sleep, buy the allergy packages and look for the generic diphenhydramine.

I've been on the stuff during allergy season since I was four years old. If there was anything to this study, I'd already be tied to a wheelchair in a nursing home, soiling myself.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. I'm the same way
I have severe allergies - so bad that I often can't sleep because of the irritation, the terrible headaches, etc. Benadryl (or a generic version) is the only thing that helps when it gets really bad in the late spring and early fall. The rest of the year I do a nasal spray that works great, but during the worst times, only a Benadryl keeps my going.

Like you, I've been doing that since I was a young kid (I'm only in my late 30's now), but if it really effected my cognitive abilities I'd be brain dead by now.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-29-10 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. Flexeril makes me plain stupid.
Not that I'm all that bright in the first place.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
11. So that's why my dog is so stupid
He takes two 50mg benadryls a day during spring, summer and early autumn for his allergies. Dog couldn't balance my checkbook if his life depended on it and don't even get me started on his trashy reading habits.
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
15. Benadryl never made me sleepy.
Doctor gave me 100 mg to supposedly make me sleepy.

Did not do a damn thing. Whereupon I got incredulous/dirty looks from said doctor.

Yeah it will dry up my sinuses some, and I smear it on my skin when it itches, but it does NOT make me sleepy.

Worthless.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. goes to show you
That drugs affect different people different ways. That's why the anecdote of "I've been taking it for decades and it never hurt me, so it must be okay" doesn't really hold any water.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-10 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
17. Any facts on the damaging effects of Temazepam? I forget the generic name.. nt
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-10 01:08 AM
Response to Original message
19. My dad took this drug since it came on the market.
And when the doctor stopped prescribing it, as he thought my dad's heart problems meant he should no longer take it, dad discovered he could get it over the counter.

And he died at the young age of ninety. With every brain cell he ever had working great.
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