Side effects: Nausea, insomnia, headache, decreased libido, agitation, dry mouth, drowsiness.Whom it may be suitable for: Depression sufferers whose symptoms include fatigue.Other side effects include motor impairment (ataxia), flushed skin, blurred vision at nearpoint owing to lack of accommodation (cycloplegia), abnormal sensitivity to bright light (photophobia), sedation, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, visual disturbances, irregular breathing, dizziness, irritability, itchy skin, confusion, increased body temperature (in general, in the hands and/or feet), temporary erectile dysfunction, and excitability, and although it can be used to treat nausea, higher doses may cause vomiting.As diphenhydramine is extensively metabolized by the liver, caution should be exercised when giving the drug to individuals with hepatic impairment.Whom it may be suitable for: Those whose depression causes fatigue; also ideal for anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders; not ideal where weight gain is a health concern.
These are used to relieve itching and have the advantage of causing fewer systemic effects (e.g., drowsiness) than oral forms.
Because of its sedative properties, diphenhydramine is widely used in nonprescription sleep aids for insomnia.
The drug is an ingredient in several products sold as sleep aids, either alone or in combination with other ingredients such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) in Tylenol PM or ibuprofen in Advil PM.
This article was originally titled "The pros and cons of some popular antidepressants," in the September 2008 issue of Best Health Magazine.
Diphenhydramine is a first-generation antihistamine used to treat a number of conditions including allergic symptoms and itchiness, the common cold, insomnia, motion sickness, and extrapyramidal symptoms.
Source: Best Health Magazine, September 2008 Most of these (among the most-prescribed antidepressants in Canada) work the same way, says Wende Wood, a psychiatric pharmacist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.