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Diphenhydramine vs. Doxylamine: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 13, 2024
Diphenhydramine and doxylamine are both antihistamines used as sleep aids, but they have different chemical structures and side effect profiles.

Key Differences

Diphenhydramine and doxylamine are both first-generation antihistamines commonly used to treat allergy symptoms and as sleep aids. Diphenhydramine, available over the counter, is known for its efficacy in reducing allergic reactions and inducing drowsiness. Doxylamine, also an over-the-counter medication, shares these effects but has a slightly different chemical structure.
Sara Rehman
Jan 13, 2024
In terms of side effects, diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth. It's often chosen for its sedative properties, making it useful as a sleep aid. Doxylamine can also cause similar side effects, but some users report more pronounced dry mouth and morning grogginess. This difference can be attributed to its slightly longer half-life.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024
Regarding their use as sleep aids, diphenhydramine is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter sleep products. It works by blocking histamine receptors, which helps induce sleep. Doxylamine, found in products like Unisom, also works by blocking histamine receptors, but its effectiveness and duration can vary slightly from person to person compared to diphenhydramine.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024
In terms of allergies, diphenhydramine is often the go-to choice for immediate relief from allergic symptoms like runny nose, itching, or hives. Doxylamine, while effective, is less commonly used for allergies and more for its sedative properties in aiding sleep.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024
The duration of action varies slightly between the two. Diphenhydramine typically has a shorter duration of action, requiring more frequent dosing. Doxylamine, with a longer half-life, can provide longer-lasting relief but may also result in more prolonged side effects, such as next-day drowsiness.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

Different from doxylamine
Different from diphenhydramine
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Primary Use

Allergies, sleep aid
Primarily as sleep aid
Sara Rehman
Jan 13, 2024

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth
More pronounced dry mouth
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Half-life

Shorter, requires frequent dosing
Longer, more prolonged effects
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Common Formulations

Many OTC allergy and sleep products
Often in sleep-specific products
Aimie Carlson
Jan 13, 2024
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Diphenhydramine and Doxylamine Definitions

Diphenhydramine

Can cause side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth.
After taking diphenhydramine, he felt sleepy and had a dry mouth.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Doxylamine

Has a longer half-life compared to diphenhydramine.
Due to its longer half-life, doxylamine provided all-night relief.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Diphenhydramine

An antihistamine used to treat allergies and as a sleep aid.
She took diphenhydramine to alleviate her hay fever symptoms.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Doxylamine

Can cause side effects like morning grogginess and dry mouth.
She experienced morning grogginess after using doxylamine.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Diphenhydramine

Available over the counter in various forms, including tablets and liquids.
She bought diphenhydramine in liquid form for easier consumption.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Doxylamine

Blocks histamine receptors, aiding in sleep induction.
Doxylamine's effectiveness in blocking histamine helped her sleep better.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Diphenhydramine

A medication that blocks histamine receptors in the body.
Diphenhydramine helped reduce his allergic reaction quickly.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Doxylamine

Found in over-the-counter sleep products like Unisom.
He purchased doxylamine-containing Unisom for his sleep issues.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Diphenhydramine

Often used to treat motion sickness and insomnia.
For her long flight, she packed diphenhydramine to prevent motion sickness.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Doxylamine

An antihistamine primarily used as a sleep aid.
He took doxylamine to help with his insomnia.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Diphenhydramine

A sedating antihistamine drug, C17H21NO, used usually in the form of its hydrochloride to treat symptoms of colds and allergic conditions, motion sickness, insomnia, and parkinsonism.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Doxylamine

(pharmaceutical drug) An antihistamine derived from pyridine that is typically used in the form of its succinate C17H22N2O·C4H6O4 to treat respiratory symptoms of the common cold and allergies, to induce sleep in the treatment of insomnia, and in combination with pyridoxine hydrochloride to control nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Diphenhydramine

(pharmaceutical drug) An antihistamine and anticholinergic drug that blocks the effect of histamine at H1 receptor sites, relieving allergy symptoms. It also reduces smooth muscle contraction, increases heart rate, and sedates the user by blocking muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs).
Diphenhydramine is a convenient and cheap antihistamine for use, but there are other drugs that do not make the user tired.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Diphenhydramine

Antihistamine (trade name Benadryl) used to treat allergic reactions involving the nasal passages (hay fever) and also to treat motion sickness
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

FAQs

How often should diphenhydramine be taken?

Depending on the need, often at night for sleep.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 13, 2024

What is diphenhydramine primarily used for?

Treating allergies and as a sleep aid.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

What are the common uses of doxylamine?

Primarily as a sleep aid.
Sara Rehman
Jan 13, 2024

How long does doxylamine last?

It has a longer duration due to its longer half-life.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Is doxylamine effective for allergies?

It's less commonly used for allergies.
Harlon Moss
Jan 13, 2024

Can diphenhydramine cause drowsiness?

Yes, it's a common side effect.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

What forms does doxylamine come in?

Mainly in tablets, often in sleep aids.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Can doxylamine be used during pregnancy?

It's best to consult a doctor before using during pregnancy.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

How does diphenhydramine work?

By blocking histamine receptors in the body.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 13, 2024

Can doxylamine cause morning grogginess?

Yes, due to its longer half-life.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 13, 2024

Is diphenhydramine available OTC?

Yes, in various forms like tablets and liquids.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

Is diphenhydramine safe for children?

It should be used with caution and under medical advice for children.
Harlon Moss
Jan 13, 2024

Are there any non-sleep related uses for doxylamine?

It's less commonly used for non-sleep purposes.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Can diphenhydramine interact with other medications?

Yes, it can interact with other drugs; consult a healthcare provider.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

Can I use doxylamine for a cold?

It's not typically used for cold symptoms.
Harlon Moss
Jan 13, 2024

Can diphenhydramine treat motion sickness?

Yes, it's effective against motion sickness.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

What's the difference in side effects between these two?

Doxylamine may cause more pronounced dry mouth and grogginess.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

What should I do if I experience severe side effects from diphenhydramine?

Seek medical attention immediately.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 13, 2024

Can either be habit-forming?

Long-term use can lead to dependence; short-term use is recommended.
Janet White
Jan 13, 2024

Is doxylamine suitable for long-term use?

It's generally recommended for short-term use.
Harlon Moss
Jan 13, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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