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Benadryl is a brand name antihistamine (allergy medicine) marketed over-the-counter by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Before 2007, Benadryl was marketed by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.[1][2] Benadryl was first synthesized by George Rieveschl and first made publicly available through prescription in 1946.[3]

Benadryl contains one of several antihistamines and is used for the temporary relief of seasonal and perennial allergy symptoms. Benadryl is available for oral or topical use.

In the United States and Canada, Benadryl products contain the first-generation antihistamine diphenhydramine. In the United Kingdom, Benadryl products contain either the second-generation non-sedating antihistamine acrivastine (marketed as Benadryl Allergy Relief, with a suggested efficacy duration of eight hours) or the long acting antihistamine cetirizine (marketed as Benadryl One a Day Relief). Benadryl products are marketed in Australia and New Zealand by Johnson & Johnson Pacific. They are marketed as cough medicines and do not contain any antihistamine. Each 5 mL of Benadryl Chesty Cough & Nasal Congestion contains 100 mg of Guaifenesin (an expectorant) and 30 mg of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride as the active ingredients. [4]

Benadryl's original formula may also be administered to dogs and cats, and is routinely prescribed by veterinarians to aid such animals with allergic reactions and sickness.


Diphenhydramine is among the prohibited and controlled substances[specify] in Zambia. Travelers are advised not to bring this drug into the country. Several Americans have been detained by the Zambian Drug Enforcement Commission for possession of Benadryl and other over-the-counter medications containing diphenhydramine.[5]


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