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Excedrin PM (Generic Diphenhydramine)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Diphenhydramine is commonly prescribed for various conditions, primarily as an antihistamine. Its main uses include:

  • Allergic reactions: It helps relieve symptoms like itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes caused by allergies to pollen, dust, pets, or other substances.
  • Motion sickness: Diphenhydramine can alleviate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness associated with motion sickness.
  • Insomnia: It is sometimes used as a sleep aid due to its sedative effects. However, it’s important to note that it’s not recommended for long-term use for sleep problems.
  • Cough: Diphenhydramine can be included in some cough medicines to help suppress coughing.

How should this medicine be used?

Diphenhydramine should be used exactly as directed by your healthcare provider or as instructed on the medication label. Here are some general guidelines for using diphenhydramine:

  • Dosage: Follow the recommended dosage provided by your doctor or pharmacist. The dosage may vary based on factors such as age, weight, medical condition, and the specific formulation of the medication. Never exceed the recommended dose unless directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Administration: Diphenhydramine is typically taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid. Swallow the tablets or capsules whole with a full glass of water. Shake the liquid form well before measuring the dose using a special measuring device or spoon. Do not use a household spoon, as it may not provide the correct dosage.
  • Timing: Take diphenhydramine as directed, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed for symptom relief. Avoid taking more than the recommended number of doses in a 24-hour period, unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Food: Diphenhydramine can be taken with or without food. However, taking it with food may help minimize stomach upset, especially if you experience nausea after taking the medication.
  • Avoid driving or operating machinery: Diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to perform tasks that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Avoid these activities until you know how diphenhydramine affects you.
  • Do not crush or chew: If you’re taking diphenhydramine in tablet or capsule form, do not crush or chew them. Swallow them whole to ensure the proper release of the medication.
  • Do not take with alcohol: Avoid consuming alcohol while taking diphenhydramine, as it can increase drowsiness and other side effects.
  • Storage: Store diphenhydramine at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to use diphenhydramine, or if you experience any unexpected side effects, consult your healthcare provider for guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

  • In addition to its antihistamine properties, diphenhydramine may also be used for other purposes, such as relieving symptoms of itching due to insect bites, poison ivy, or chickenpox.
  • It can also be used in some cases as a mild sedative for anxiety or to help with nausea and vomiting.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be followed when taking Diphenhydramine to ensure safe and effective use:

  • Drowsiness: Diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to perform tasks that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery. Avoid alcohol and other sedatives while taking diphenhydramine.
  • Children and Elderly: It should be used with caution in children and older adults, as they may be more sensitive to its effects, including dizziness, confusion, and urinary retention.
  • Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, enlarged prostate, asthma, or hyperthyroidism should use diphenhydramine cautiously and under medical supervision.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: While diphenhydramine is generally considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding when used as directed, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider before using it.
  • Interactions: Diphenhydramine may interact with other medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements. Always check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before combining medications.
  • Overdose: Taking more than the recommended dose of diphenhydramine can lead to overdose symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and even coma. Seek medical attention immediately if an overdose is suspected.

Always follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider or the instructions on the medication label when using diphenhydramine. If you have any concerns or questions about its use, consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with diphenhydramine. However, it’s always a good idea to maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated while taking any medication.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • If you forget to take a dose of diphenhydramine, take it as soon as you remember.
  • If it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Diphenhydramine, like any medication, can cause side effects. Common side effects of diphenhydramine may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, nose, or throat
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Stomach upset or nausea
  • Headache
  • Difficulty urinating

Some people may also experience less common side effects such as:

  • Confusion
  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Excitability (especially in children)
  • Tremors
  • Rash or itching
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)

Serious side effects are rare but can occur. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Severe dizziness or fainting
  • Severe drowsiness or difficulty waking up
  • Hallucinations or severe confusion
  • Seizures

It’s important to note that this is not a complete list of side effects. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking diphenhydramine, contact your healthcare provider for advice. Additionally, inform your doctor of any side effects that persist or worsen over time.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal:

  • Store diphenhydramine at room temperature away from light and moisture.
  • Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details on how to safely dispose of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an overdose, seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Symptoms of overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, seizures, fainting, difficulty breathing, or coma.

What other information should I know?

  • Diphenhydramine may interact with other medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbal supplements. Inform your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications you are currently taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol while taking diphenhydramine, as it may increase the risk of certain side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Diphenhydramine may cause drowsiness and impair your ability to perform certain tasks such as driving or operating machinery. Use caution until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Do not take diphenhydramine for longer than recommended or in higher doses than prescribed. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about diphenhydramine or its use, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidelines when using diphenhydramine or any other medication to ensure safe and effective treatment. If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional for assistance.

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