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Does diphenhydramine cause restless leg syndrome?

39 answers | Last updated: Jun 26, 2015
ChiltM4r5 asked...

Does diphenhydramine cause restless leg syndrome?

 

Answers
100% helpful
Karina_M answered...

It is very rare, but diphenhydramine can cause restless leg syndrome, or RLS. RLS can be identified as the urge to move the legs (or other parts of the body) due to tickling, itching, or burning sensations felt in the affected area. Those who already have RLS are advised not to take diphenhydramine as it can aggravate and worsen the problem.

 

More Answers
44% helpful
gertie answered...

It's not rare! I take diphenhydramine and it makes gives me restless leg syndrome, which I don't have normally. I'm young. I'm so tired of being told "I've never heard of that" by doctors when I tell them what happens on drugs. So, I looked up "diphenhydramine RLS" and found your post, and joined JUST SO I COULD ANSWER.

I took diphenhydramine to go to sleep early the night before I had to take the SAT and it kept me up all night. What a disaster. People think it's so rare, but it's not unusual at all for benadryl to have a reverse effect, or more precisely, to give you RLS. Makes me angry!

Melatonin ALSO gives me restless leg syndrome.

 

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40% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

Same here. Took me a long time to put 2 & 2 together on intermittent RLS and then test the hypothesis. By very strong correlation (ABAB sort of self-experimental design), diphenhydramine taken within a few hours of bed makes my legs go NUTS. It's miserable.

 

17% helpful
ammarah answered...

i am also a victim of this phenomenon.. i feel restlessness not only in legs but also in arms and forearms. its so difficult to tolerate.. :(. i cannot even take tylenol pm if i need to.

 

17% helpful
pmalemes answered...

Hi all!

I am so glad to read this. Lately I have been having trouble sleeping. I have been taking some Wal-som (generic form of Unisom) for sleep. Did you know diphenylhydramine is the ONLY ingredient in Unisom-Walsom? The ONLY ingredient. Crazy.

It's also the only ingredient in Benadryl. What? How even crazier! So, drug manufacturers, which is it for? Allergies or sleeping? It seems we are "being had" here. Pharma is trying to "kill two birds with one stone" and we are the guinea pigs.

Needless to say, I thought I could take more Wal-som when I felt so restless (all over my body, not just legs) and it has an adverse affect.

Absolutely terrible! From now on, chamomile tea, some 5-HTP or valerian root for me. No more of this mystery drug.

 

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50% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

Thank you all for anwers. I got some diphenhydramine specifically because my withdrawls from opiates will not allow me to sleep (still after over 1 month). The diphenhydramine makes me jerk like I'm going into convulsions and also makes my skin crawl. It does the exact opposite of what I bought it for.

 

petlover answered...

Hi, I am withdrawing from opiates and at first, diphenhydramine seemed to help, but in the middle of the night, I took another and 15 minutes later it was as if I was convulsing. Does anyone have any advice to make this stop?

 

Flashtwo answered...

This is gonna sound crazy but one night it was so bad I couldn't stand it. Looked on the Internet and found a remedy. I was so desperate that I tried it. Put a plain, white, bar of soap between your bottom sheet and mattress pad or mattress. I use Ivory. It works great!! When my legs start acting up I go lay down and put it against my leg or foot. Hubby kept trying to remove the soap until I asked him when the last time was that I woke him up kicking. He's never said anything about it since!!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Took 500mg of diphenhydramine one night and my legs went crazy. A non stop intolerable tickling sensation occurred in my lower calves and ankle area. Some times it was worse in the left leg, other times it was both legs. The only relief I could get was to move them or get up and walk or jump around. But then it came back within under a minute. If I tried as hard as I could not to move my legs during the sensation, they would move on their own. Ive had more mild symptoms of RLS on normal doses of diphenhydramine, but nothing this bad since i withdrew from synthetic marijuana. So yeah, diphenhydramine does cause this, and is absolutely intolerable on very high doeses.

 

entropy111 answered...

same here. it gives me crazy legs..can't sleep at all on it.

Try Unisom. It uses the same active ingredient as NyQuil, doxylamine succinate. It does not give you crazy legs.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Finding it drives me crazy to take Tylenol PM. Cant quit moving! Sucks when all you want is a good night's sleep!

 

gjan answered...

I was glad to hear that others have this restless leg syndrome when they take anything with diphenhydramine. My husband takes it to help him sleep but it works the exact opposite for me, terrible feeling and have to get up and move around until it wears off which is like 4 or 5 hours.

 

13% helpful
cleir answered...

To gertie, thank you. I am also in the same boat, I'm young and took some Benadryl to help me sleep the past two nights and was met with drowsiness and maddening RLS in my arms and legs. I freaked out because I could not find any answers until I saw your reply. I will definitely watch for this in the future. Thanks again.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I took took the diphenhydramine and boom I have RLS. And I have not has these symptoms in years...wow...annoying as all get out

 

gjan answered...

I cannot take anything that has diphenhydramine in it and most all over the counter sleep products have it. If I can't sleep I just get up, make some soothing hot tea (no caffeine). I like Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra herbal tea. Then read something calming. Hope this helps some of you.

 

Dcoyle answered...

U have to be careful... I have RLS from Benadryl... Regular strength has docylamine, extra strength has diphenhydramine... Get the regular strength, I never got RLA from that

 

Mary4986 answered...

YES!! Both Benadryl and Doxylamine give me HORRIBLE restless let syndrome. Even though I took both of them for years with no problem. It is absolutely miserable. It happened all of the sudden, too. Right now I take Melatonine and the Bachs sleep remedy, and that works well.

 

100% helpful
Cfbgirl09 answered...

I've tried every OTC sleep aid & it never works. Even the all natural one created by Physicians. All of them can make slightly groggy but irritable & my legs ache & twinge. Even tried Melatonin with no luck. I also do not have regular bouts of RLS however never fails with sleep aids whether they have diphenhydramine in them or not. It's so frustrating. I've taken Ambien Rx but it stops being affective within about 2weeks. If anyone has a natural effective alternative please pass along. I would truly appreciate. Thank you !!

 

25% helpful
Seashellz1975 answered...

Oh, yes. I have experienced with RLS when I take any medications that have diphenhydramine in it. So frustrating!! I would appreciate for any one of you to share with me or others of which over the counter that doesn't have diphenhydramine in it, so I can have good night sleep. Thanks!

 

jenm9601 answered...

Looks like its not rare seeing that so many people on this site have looked for an answer to the same question, "Can Benadryl cause RLS". The answer looks to be on many peoples answer as yes..... so no, its not rare. Happy to know that im not the only one that has put two and two together, as one blogger answered.

 

100% helpful
Shesaphleb50 answered...

Omg, I thought I was crazy! Whenever I take Tylenol PM it makes my legs feel horrible. I quit taking it but I can still remember that awful feeling. For all of those that struggle with RLS, I feel for you!

 

33% helpful
420Doc. answered...

Yes. Pm meds cause RLS,but for me its always my arms non stop jiggered in my for arms and wrists.BUT. there is a solution just get a nice rolling paper and a small bag of gonja roll a nice tight joint smoke out an have a good night....after a ham sandwich ;)...hope this helps

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

This may sound silly, but it helps every time. I feel that getting your blood pumping eases the feeling. I get up and do jumping jacks or push ups until my heart rate goes up and then afterwards I am able to sleep comfortably. Try it.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

The Diphenhydramine in Benadryl triggered my RLS so bad in my third trimester of pregnancy, that I got the RLS in my ARMS as well as my legs. If you have RLS... don't take it. It makes it way worse I promise!!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I very rarely ever get RLS normally but seem to always get it when taking diphenhydramine. I would normally get it in the legs but find that when taking diphenhydramine it's always in my arms. Drives me nuts for about an hour or so then tends to subside.

 

Kirkandmimi answered...

Not that you need more evidence, but I have restless leg syndrome and have had it all my life - some nights are better than others, but lately I have been having trouble adjusting to a new mattress. I tried taking a Nyquil ZZZ (new sleeping ad) and - worst night of sleep ever. I took it at around 11pm and finally slept a little around 6am. I had taken Tylenol PM in the past with the same results and for some stupid reason I thought my body might have changed. Dumb move on my part.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Antihistamines, melatonin, SSRI's, and some muscle relaxers give me RLS. Only way to get rid of it is w/Lyrica, Neurontin or something that boosts dopamine and/or endorphins in the brain (e.g. Pain meds, hot showers, hot chocolate, sex, exercise, etc.).

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My mom has RLS and she also cannot take anything with Diphenhydramine in it... laying a heating pad over the legs or arms seems to work for her if that helps.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

What helps well ME hopefully You too :) blue capsules of Diphenhydramine FORGET IT !!! for me they make even my brain nuts feels like I have taken a real bad Ecstasy pill . The legs feel annoying the brain gets crazy and feel like want to run out of my body. So if I have taken "accidentally" one and get that feet thing going on I get rid of it that way: 1) I do walk awhile and twice in 5 minutes (30 sec) just to clear my head not the legs and as soon as I do not think about how mad I am it goes away. 2) when I feel that issue starts I drink right away 2 bottles of water even it is hard to drink in that moment . That makes me run to bathroom and get that stuff out and to think about it that is out helps me very well. 3) After the bathroom break I set a pillow under my ankles laying on my back and put on a happy face close my eyes and tell myself " uuhh..finally over" And that is true just after that I fell asleep like a baby. It seems that you can control it with your mind a lot kind of like fooling your brain telling yourself it is over I got it out :) Well that is how it works for me . But here is one Diphenhydramine pill what really works like a sleeping pill and no darn leg or brain issue and no drowsiness or panic. It is WALGREENS sleep aid mini caplets. Little oval blue pills . NOT Capsules or round pills!!!! Oval blue ones with different kinds of amounts in jar or package. If I would have to rate these on scale 1-10 I would give 9 cause with Diphenhydramine you will have to go to sleep in 15-20 min. after taking them otherwise you kind of loose the moment . But if you are in the right place at the right time then these are the first ones that in my opinion really work kind of like prescription meds for sleep. Good luck to everyone :) Here I the link with the product. http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=369915&catid=183129&aid=338666&aparam=369915&kpid=369915&CAWELAID=120142990000034801&CAGPSPN=pla&kpid=369915

 

PSM answered...

I never had restless legs in my life - I'm in my 70s. I got the Walmart generic for Unisom - same active ingredient - and it actually kept me awake most of the night. I didn't make the connection immediately, but after about three restless leg episodes, I figured it out. Sleep is overrated, anyway.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I took Tylenol PM last night and suffered from RLS. It's not the first time this has happened either. And by RLS, it doesn't have to mean just legs, it could be other parts of your body as well.

I think it may be due to slight over dosing. I took two pills instead of one. Two is well within the recommended dosage, but I forgot that two gives me this issue.

The best advise I can give to defeat RLS is to get up and start doing a hard workout. I find push-ups and or squats will literally beat the RLS out of me.

 

Shelblong answered...

I get RLS from it too. One time it was in my arms. It was so horrible I just hopped in the shower and it actually made it go away. I just wanted to share that. TRY TAKING A HOT SHOWER

 

Fannygreen answered...

I've been taking just one Tylenol PM almost every night for 15 years. Just recently I've noticed that I cannot fall asleep for hours and hours, my body in constant motion. Mostly my legs. It took awhile to realize what might be happening, then I found this blog. I am tossing the pills out and going to get some Chamomile tea!

 

Jodlove22 answered...

I have experienced the same thing with Diphenhydramine. RLS. So annoying and the ache is almost painful. I can take one a 25 mg without experiencing RLS. Prayer works for sleep. Start praying and you will fall to sleep fast. :-)

 

RobDoode answered...

I've been taking CVS nighttime sleep aid diphenhydramine, I've had rls for as long as I can remember, good days bad days, but this stuff really takes it to a new level I've only recently tried this stuff, I've taken up to 100mg, usually 50 mg, it's the blue softgels type, having rls sucks I took one at about 1 am, hit the bed at about 2am rls started going off, one of the things I do to try to get past the it is I keep my feet out from the sheets in my opinion i think it helps. also getting up and doing some walking.