Anti-Histamines; Sleep

[title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Question[/title][testimonials design=”classic” backgroundcolor=”” textcolor=”” class=”” id=””][testimonial name=”” avatar=”male” image=”” image_border_radius=”” company=”” link=”” target=”_self”]About a month ago, I started taking heavy doses of antihistamines for two weeks. After those two weeks, I can’t seem to get to sleep even if I’m tired.[/testimonial][/testimonials][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” icon=”” width=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Answer[/title][testimonials design=”classic” backgroundcolor=”” textcolor=”” class=”” id=””][testimonial name=”” avatar=”male” image=”” image_border_radius=”” company=”” link=”” target=”_self”]This problem is very common, and what he is describing is not just from the antihistamines. The Benadryl that you’re taking is an over-the-counter antihistamine. It used to be a prescription item for this reason, but it’s also anti-cholinergic. It has two effects and they can both disturb sleep.
What happened is that you took the medication around the clock to deal with some type of rash, some itch, whatever it was that was bothering you, and then you stopped it. Your body had adapted to the presence of this to deal with the balance of acetylcholine, as well as histamine. This is a real problem. This is one of the reasons why these medications should be used with caution.

There are some things that you can do to get yourself back into a normal sleep cycle, but the last thing that you want to do is to take more Benadryl. The intervention that I would use would be a combination of melatonin, and something called L-theanine. You’re male, so the dosage of melatonin that you would take would be between 1 and 3 mg, maybe as much as 5 to start. You take that at bedtime, maybe 10:00, 11:00. It will not keep you asleep, but it will help you get to sleep.
In addition to the melatonin, adding 200mg of L-theanine does a couple of good things. First, it acts as a mild antidepressant, but it will also help with these anticholinergic effects as well.
The third thing I recommend is an over the counter supplement called 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP.
If you add 200 mg of 5-HTP to the melatonin and L-Theanine, you should not have a problem getting to sleep. You can take that combination anywhere from a week or two, and then start tapering it downward.

The melatonin, if you want to continue with it, it won’t hurt you. The main problem with melatonin is that it tends to cause nightmares when you first start.

Why nightmares? Because you have had sleep deprivation, your body does not hit REM sleep. As soon as you start restoring REM sleep, it catches up rapidly, so that means you’re going to have night terrors until your body regains a normal sleep cycle.[/testimonial][/testimonials]

About David S Klein, MD 149 Articles
David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. Medical School was completed at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, followed by Internship in General Surgery at the University of North Carolina and Residency in Anesthesiology at the Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Dr Klein has been practicing medicine since 1983, concentrating in Pain Medicine, Minimally Invasive Medicine and Surgery, and Neuroendocrinology. Earning Board Certification in Anesthesiology, Dr. Klein was elected Fellow in the American College of Anesthesiology, and he was elected Fellow in the American College of Pain Medicine. He is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, School of Medicine. He has focused his private practice on treating patients with hormone imbalance issues, nutritional deficiency related medical problems as well as pain related issues and impairment. With a highly-complex, CLIA licensed laboratory in-house, he has been able to provide rapid-turn around analysis efficiently and cost-effectively. Lecturing extensively nationally as well as internationally, Dr. Klein has authored many articles on topics relating to pain, injury and nutritionally modulated illness. His radio show, “Pain Free Living,” received top ratings during the 6 years it was on the air. Currently practicing in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Klein practices entirely in the office setting.