The Office of the Child Advocate in Connecticut issued a warning last month regarding the dangers of using antihistamines to put their kids to bed after at least four children in the state reportedly died from a reaction to the drugs.
Dr. Kristen Bechtel, associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Yale and co-founder of Connecticut’s Child Fatality Review Panel, noted that up until 2015, there had only been four deaths associated with antihistamine use over the past 15 years. Since 2015, however, there has been an outbreak of such cases in Connecticut involving babies suffering fatal reactions to antihistamines.
When used properly, antihistamines can prevent unpleasant allergy symptoms or relieve the symptoms of a minor allergic reaction. However, like all medications, Benadryl can be dangerous when used improperly.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warns against the use of antihistamines by children aged two years old or younger.
“Caregivers should never use Benadryl or other antihistamines in order to get their infants to be quiet or sleep,” the FDA health alert states. “Antihistamines like Benadryl should only be used when prescribed by a licensed medical provider.”
The alert cites a 2011 poll by Today and Parenting magazine which found that one in five of mothers admitted to “giving their children medicine such as Benadryl or Dramamine to get through a big event.” Perhaps an even more frightening is that one in 12 moms surveyed admitted to “regularly dosing their kids with sleep-inducing medication.”
A study conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in 2013 found that using antihistamines to make children drowsy could potentially cause sleepwalking and even make a child more hyperactive, rather than put them to sleep.
“Using Benadryl or any antihistamine for sleep has no long term benefit,” Dr. Philip Alapat, assistant professor of medicine said. “Most people develop a tolerance very quickly.”
So instead of reaching for Benadryl the next time you want your child to hit the hay, talk to the doctor who knows them best and save the antihistamines for when they really need it.
Source: ABC News