Can You Mix Benadryl And Alcohol?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Benadryl can be taken or mixed with alcohol.

Can You Mix Benadryl And Alcohol?
Mar 28, 2018

Dingy asked

I am wondering if you can mix Benadryl and alcohol together? Is it safe?


Mixing Benadryl With AlcoholIt is recommended to avoid mixing Benadryl with alcohol. The combination of both will greatly increase the risk of side effects including:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • GI Upset
  • Slurred speech
  • Staggering
  • Impaired cognition
  • Respiratory Depression (rare)

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Benadryl is a first generation antihistamine, which are noted for their sedative properties and their relatively short duration of action (~4-8 hours). The sedation caused by Benadryl is due to CNS (central nervous system) depression, which essentially means it slows down the activity in the brain. 

CNS depression can also lead to more serious side effects such as slurred speech, staggering, impaired thinking, and even coma. Therefore it is recommended to avoid combinations of products that could have additive CNS depressant effects.


Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and can increase the risk that you develop the side effects mentioned above when co-administered with other CNS depressants such as Benadryl. You may not only experience pronounced sedation when combining the two, but you may also be more at risk for severe effects such as respiratory depression. You ideally want to separate the two by at least 6-12 hours.

If you are considering alcohol for use as a sleep aide, it is important to note that alcohol interferes will sleep quality. While alcohol can act as a sedative and can hasten the onset of sleep, it has known consequences to night time sleep quality and depresses respiration, sometimes inconspicuously. This often results in next day impairment and a feeling of a lack of sleep.

Mixing Benadryl With Alcohol

When Benadryl and alcohol are mixed together, it can result in additive CNS depressant side effects. Serious side effects such as confusion, dizziness, impaired cognition and respiratory depression could occur. The combination should be avoided.


  • Alcohol and Benadryl should not be mixed, as the combination can increase the risk of side effects.

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