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Growing numbers of doctors warn that Benadryl is less safe than newer alternatives



Benadryl has been used for decades to treat everything from bee stings to mysterious baby nettles, but many doctors now say antihistamine is less effective and less safe than newer alternatives.

A position statement from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology released in early October warns against Benadryl and other first-generation F1 antihistamines as first-line treatments for hay and nettle fever.

It annoys us that people still want to use it

A group of doctors say the drug is overused because of its easy availability and that it should be restricted to access to the counter in pharmacies.

"We don't want to use people," said Dr. David Fisher, a clinical allergist in Bari, Ont., And author of a statement on the CSACI position, telling the group of antihistamines that include Benadryl.

Fisher says the medicine in Benadryl, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, "makes you drowsy and irritable and if you take too high a dose or overdose, you end up in hospital."

By comparison, Fisher says new generations of H1 antihistamines – such as reactive, claritin, and aureus – are safer, more efficient and work faster.


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