What is the History of Benadryl?

Many people who have various allergic responses regard Benadryl as a lifesaver. This cute little pink tablet will help you survive the day of sneezing and itching. Benadryl is an anti-allergic drug that can be used to stop allergic reactions. Antihistamines, which are highly effective against allergic reactions, are typically present in this drug. Diphenhydramine, a first-generation antihistamine, is the principal ingredient in this medication. This medication’s effects begin to take effect after two hours and last almost seven hours.

This medication would be many people’s first preference for receiving prompt treatment for allergies and other common illnesses throughout many nations. One of the most typical medications found in any home is Benadryl.

What is Benadryl?


Diphenhydramine, also marketed under the name Benadryl, is an antihistamine that can treat allergies, nausea from travel, and sleeplessness in addition to reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. An antihistamine like Benadryl lessens the effects of the body’s histamine. Runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing are histamine-related symptoms. Benadryl treats cold and allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching, and more. Along with treating some Parkinson’s disease symptoms, Benadryl is also used to cure motion sickness, put people to sleep, and other conditions.

Diphenhydramine blocks histamine-1 (H1) receptors to treat allergic-like responses. This avoids the effects of histamine on the gastrointestinal tract, blood vessels, and airways, alleviating symptoms including bronchoconstriction, rash and itching, and cramping in the stomach. In addition to its other actions, diphenhydramine also affects sodium channels, acetylcholine receptors, and serotonin reuptake. Its calming and adverse side effects, such as dry mouth, are caused by these latter effects. The group of drugs referred to as first-generation antihistamines includes Benadryl. The ethanolamine class of antihistamines includes Benadryl.

The Discovery of Benadryl


Diphenhydramine, also referred to as Benadryl in the US is a medication created by McNeil-PPC, a company of Johnson and Johnson. It is sold as an over-the-counter sedative, hypnotic, antiemetic, and antihistamine. Additionally, it has been utilized to address the extra-pyramidal adverse effects of conventional antipsychotics. One of the earliest antihistamines ever developed was diphenhydramine. In 1942, Dr. George Rieveschl created it.

George Rieveschl agreed to work at the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Chemical Engineering in 1940. The discovery of Benadryl was unexpected; while Rieveschl was conducting various scientific projects to stop muscle spasms, he discovered Benadryl, an antihistamine used by people with allergies. Benadryl lowers histamine levels, a substance that contributes to allergy symptoms in humans. When Benadryl was initially approved in 1946, it could only be obtained with a prescription.

The first-time diphenhydramine was synthesized in 1943 by Fred Huber, who at the time was a student of George Rieveschl. Additional research on the chemical was carried out by George Rieveschl and the Parke Davis company. The new substance was given a patent in 1946 under George Rieveschl’s name, and the Parke Davis company was able to secure his approval to market the drug.

Benadryl’s discovery was significant because it was the first indication that various substances can impact capillary receptors. Therefore, a wide range of antihistamines is now available to block these different histamine receptors, according to Bernstein.

Additionally, it brought in money. Dr. Rieveschl departed the University of Cincinnati in 1943 to test his finding at Parke-Davis, the biggest pharmaceutical company in the country at the time. Later, Parke-Davis acquired the rights to Benadryl and began marketing it as a prescription medication in May 1946. Parke-Davis is now a division of Pfizer Corp.

Then, in 1970, Warner-Lambert bought the Parke Davis company. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals acquired this business in the year 2000. But Corex, another well-known brand, was already a property of Pfizer. This product is a direct rival to Benadryl. Pfizer chose to sell McNeil Consumer Healthcare the rights to the brand to avoid future confusion. In 2007, McNeil Consumer Healthcare received the rights to this drug. This business is a division of Johnson & Johnson. In 2007, McNeil Consumer Healthcare introduced this product after purchasing the rights to produce the drug. This new product’s launch was intended to offer over-the-counter medication. Currently, Benadryl is the name under which this drug is sold. According to statistics, this drug was ranked as the 210th most prescribed drug in 2016.

Marketing Innovation and Strategy

The generic version of the drug Benadryl was first introduced at a reasonable cost. The public was looking for efficient and affordable allergy medications; therefore, this drug release approach impacted them. This medication is among the most recommended and imported worldwide due to its efficacy and low cost. The availability of this drug without a prescription also contributed to its increased popularity.


After its introduction, Benadryl successfully established itself as the leading anti-allergy drug. The business promoted the notion of offering comprehensive treatment for three universally prevalent ailments. They are sneezing, coughing, and cold. The manufacturer emphasized the medicine’s triple action’s additional effects. This extra benefit increased its appeal to the broader populace.

To increase sales of this drug, the company used social media. The “War on Allergies” slogan from the past was used in the marketing campaign to raise awareness of allergies. Additionally, it emphasizes how Benadryl protects against outside factors that can trigger an allergic reaction. Print media and vigorous internet media contact are also included in this campaign. They have developed a website that provides information on allergies and their negative consequences.

Is it Time for Benadryl to Retire


As technology boosts everything from gadgets to medicines, new and more effective drugs have been readily available on the market, making the competition tight. With the proliferation of different medications, is it time to say goodbye to your little pink tablets and try new ones for your allergies and other related conditions?

Sometimes the best solutions are the ones that have been around for a while. Better doesn’t always equate to newer. Except when using the tried-and-true antihistamine Benadryl, one of our oldest antihistamines. Newer-generation antihistamines were first released in the 1980s. The finest are now inexpensive, generic, and easily accessible over the counter (OTC). Initially, they required a prescription and were outrageously expensive. 

These drugs were created to address the safety issues of earlier antihistamines like Benadryl. They have fewer or no sedative effects, do not cross the blood-brain barrier, and have fewer other side effects. Additionally, even in extremely high dosages, they are not highly harmful. According to a recent analysis, even when the suggested dosage was 30 times higher, there have never been any fatalities.

However, Benadryl significantly sedates the user. One driving simulator experiment revealed that taking a typical adult dose of Benadryl made driving worse than the effects of 0.1 percent blood alcohol. Regular Benadryl dosages can also result in constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness, and urine retention. Diphenhydramine, particularly in elderly people, can lead to delirium and contribute to dementia over the long run.

Recent studies claimed Benadryl becomes extremely harmful when used in excess. Even at doses that aren’t extremely high, it has resulted in respiratory depression, comas, heart arrhythmias, and deaths in children and adults. This should not be kept in a home where a young child might be curious, or a teenager might help themselves to whatever is in the medical cabinet. It should also not be kept with someone who already carries a variety of medicines.

Benadryl has been the go-to allergy medication for everything from bee stings to puzzling toddler hives. Still, many doctors are now claiming that the antihistamine is less safe and effective than more recent alternatives, and they are questioning its availability over the counter.