Benadryl in stead of Trazodone for sleeping

I was taking 150mg of Trazodone to get to sleep at night before I was on any PD medications. Once I started Azilect I started reducing the Trazodone by 50 mg for 3 weeks and now take 1 over the counter Benadryl each night and it is working better than the Trazodone did. I just wanted to share that and see what others say about taking Benadryl to get to sleep.

22 Replies

  • I tried Benadryl before I was even diagnosed and it caused me to shake so bad the bed would vibrate.

  • Oh geese that's awful. It doesn't do that to me at all.

  • Benadryl does not provide normal sleep patterns. Pilots are prohibited from using Benadryl for 48 hours before flying as it affects cognition. I would be very careful in using Benadryl for an extended period.

  • That's the first I've heard of this. Surely it has less effect on cognition than Trazodone. I've stopped the Trazodone for a couple of reason. First being I keep needing more and more to get to sleep and the second is that it is one of those Atypical Anti-depressants that causes weight gain. I asked my doctor if it was safe to use Benadryl and he said it's not a problem.

  • It is a problem

  • I remember researching and using Benadryl many years ago. I Suggest anyone using check the ingredients as what is in Benadryl in one country is different to it's composition in another. Just found this info but don't know how up to date it is:

    Benadryl is a brand name for a number of different medications. In the United States and Canada, it is the first-generation antihistamine diphenhydramine. In the United Kingdom, it is either the antihistamine acrivastine (marketed as Benadryl Allergy Relief) or the long-acting antihistamine cetirizine (marketed as Benadryl One a Day Relief). Some Benadryl products marketed in Australia and New Zealand as a cough medicine contain diphenhydramine.

  • I would avoid antihistamines as they cause dementia.


  • I have also been using Benadryl. I've been taking two at night plus 2 Advil. It really helps me sleep and I don't notice any ill effects. It is so important for me to get enough sleep that I get to a point where I don't care what I take as long as I can sleep because if I don't I feel so sick the next day.

  • I'm with you Enidah. I only need to take 1 Benadryl. I'm very sensitive to drugs. I find that if I take 2 Benadryl I get antsy instead of sleepy. Go figure.

  • My local PD support group is having a gal come and talk to us about sleep and what can help and I'll let you know if she has any good information. Melatonin has never worked very well for me. I wake up and can't get back to sleep. For some reason that doesn't happen with Benadryl.

  • Sorry if that link didn't work. I'm on my way out the door,will try again later

  • I meant to paste the url in this reply but got the whole article. I don't know whether this is a reliable site or not. My doctor takes melatonin 5mg over the counter and I have been trying it too. It seems to help me sleep more deeply and I seem to fall back to sleep faster if I get up in the night. I never had trouble falling asleep before but it helps people do that too.

    Parkinson's Disease and Sleep Disorders: Can Melatonin Help?

    People who live with Parkinson’s disease quickly find that even routine tasks become difficult as the disease progresses. It is common for Parkinson’s disease and sleep disorders to go hand in hand. New research in chronobiology suggests that melatonin, particularly timed-release melatonin, may not only help people with Parkinson’s disease to get the sleep they need, but also slow the course of this devastating disease.

    Parkinson’s Disease and Sleep

    Parkinson's Disease, Sleep Disorders, Melatonin Parkinson’s disease, or PD, is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, affecting millions of people. Its four main effects include muscular rigidity, tremors, bradykinesia (or slow movement), and feeling unsteady while upright. However, sleep disorders and emotional disturbance are also extremely common. In fact, many people develop the sleep disorders associated with PD before having any other symptoms of the disease.

    People with PD usually have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep. REM sleep is especially disturbed, with REM sleep occurring too late in the sleep cycle or even not at all. In addition, many have sleep apnea, which reduces sleep quality immensely. Much of the fatigue and emotional disturbance of this disease may be due to the sleep disorders that are part of Parkinson’s Disease.

    The Pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease Related Sleep Disorders

    Melatonin is the main hormone associated with sleep. Secreted by the pineal gland from cues of the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain, melatonin attaches to receptors on cells and either activates or deactivates time-dependent genes. While the suprachiasmatic nucleus is not affected by Parkinson’s disease, melatonin receptors appear to decrease substantially in areas of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease. This keeps melatonin from stimulating sleep in people who suffer from PD and leaves the circadian rhythm without one of its main sources of regulation.

    How Can Timed-Release Melatonin Help?

    Melatonin has long been used to treat sleep disorders. Researchers have found that while fast onset melatonin is best for sleep onset disorders, or disorders that cause difficulty in falling asleep, it is not effective for sleep maintenance disorders. People who have sleep maintenance disorders have difficulty remaining asleep and thus need to have a steady dose of this hormone throughout the night, mimicking melatonin levels in people who have a healthy sleep pattern.

    People with Parkinson’s disease usually have disorders of both sleep onset and sleep maintenance. It is important that they have a chronotherapy regimen including timed-release melatonin so they can get a full night’s sleep. Not only does this make them more comfortable and well-rested, research suggests that some Parkinson’s symptoms are made less severe by having adequate sleep.

    Can Melatonin Treat Other Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

    Parkinson's Disease, melatonin, sleep disordersPeople with Parkinson’s Disease who take melatonin tend to have fewer symptoms of less severity than those who do not take it. For a long time, this was attributed to the restorative nature of adequate sleep. However, we now know that melatonin is not only a sleep-inducing hormone, but a neuroprotective one as well. Although it is still being researched, melatonin’s neuroprotective qualities are believed to actually slow the progression of PD, delaying the neurological damage that causes the progressive loss of neuromuscular function.

    The circadian rhythm, or the body’s roughly 24-hour cycle, is also an important factor to consider in the timing of administration of other medications taken by people with PD. COMT inhibitors, for example, are a common drug class used to treat Parkinson’s disease. These absorb in far higher levels when taken in the morning, thus offering more therapeutic effect. Because the treatment of PD is complicated, it is important to take drugs at times when they will be most effective.

    Studies in the field of chronobiology are offering new treatments for some of mankind’s most difficult diseases. People with Parkinson’s disease may soon get the sleep they need to function as well as more effective treatments due to better understanding of this disease’s effects on the circadian rhythm.

  • I've tried melatonin and found that my depression worsened while I was taking it. I don't know if it was coincidence or not but I'm in a good place now and don't want to take that chance.

  • TheresaCurley

    I have used Benadryl for years now for sleeping. I've hd no side effects . I took Ambien for a long time and I stopped it because I was only getting about 4 hours of sleep with it.

  • Thank you Prayergirl. I'm thinking I'm going to stick with the Benadryl. It's a lot safer than most other sleeping medicine.

  • I been told it causes dementia

  • Sorry the link won't work and I am trying again, but the summary is this; while Benadryl can help with some Parkinson's symptoms, it seems to be correlated with higher rates of dementia in older people with Parkinson's. My neurologist warned me about it. If you google" Benadryl and Parkinson's," some good info should pop up. I use a bit of Melatonin when I can't sleep.

  • Thanks.

  • My husband did not sleep all night, he walked the floors. I am afraid to give him anything myself because of meds he is taking

    50/200 1 c/L bedtime

    Remeron 45 mg

    Seoquil 25 mg

    25 mg Coreg

    10 mg Lipitor This is all bedtime, but last nite I was tempted to experiment.

    Alsoo for fellow Parkinson's family. Dr.s are too hard to get hold of don't return calls and half the time I don't think they know what to say when you are having problems maybe some of you can help. My husband takes 25/250 CL 3 times a day and ER 50/200 C/L bedtime...I am trying to figure out if what my husband is experiencing is a wearing off of his meds between dosages. After ever dose about an hour before next dose gets what I call anxiety not sure it is the inside PArkinson symptom of wearing off of med. then he takes next dose and it usually takes 1/2 hour to where he starts feeling calmer.

    Do any of you walk the floors with agitation when one dose is wearing off before next dose takes affect? Do we need higher dose? To take it more often? This"anxiety" is not at all manageable

    Anybody have any thoughts ? Much appreciated.

  • Yes it helps with sleep but thr nat. Parkinson's foundation said it causes brain fog Dementia

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