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Doxylamine or doxylamine succinate is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep). It also controls sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching, and other symptoms of cold or allergy. It is also used for morning sickness (pregnancy related nausea-vomiting).

How it works

Doxylamine belongs to a class of drugs called as antihistaminic. It acts by blocking the effects of the mainly chemical histamine and few others in the body, which are responsible for the symptoms of allergies, cold and morning sickness. It also causes drowziness and helps in falling a sleep.

Common side effects

Blurred vision, Confusion, Constipation, Convulsion, Diarrhoea, Abdominal pain, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Dry mouth, Shortness of breath, Difficulty in urination, Headache, Altered heart rate, Muscle pain, Muscle weakness, Restlessness, Skin rash, Tachycardia, Heart rate irregular, Vision disorder


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Expert advice

Do not take the medicine if you are allergic to it or to any other content in the medicine. Inform your doctor before taking the medicine:
  • If you have glaucoma (raised pressure in the eye), asthma, bronchitis (inflammation of air passages), emphysema (blocking of air flow to the lungs) or other chronic lung diseases.
  • If you have problems with urination or an enlarged prostate.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
Do not try strenuous exercise in hot weather, since doxylamine can decrease sweating. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking this medicine as it may cause drowsiness.Do not take alcohol with this medication as it may increase drowsiness.Do not give the medicine to children less than 6 years of age.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is doxylamine addictive/habit-forming?
Doxylamine, if used improperly or for a long-time may cause addiction.
Q. Is doxylamine a blood-thinner/anticholinergic/sleep aid?
Doxylamine is not a blood-thinner. But is does have anticholinergic property. It induces sleep and hence, is prescribed for short-term treatment of insomnia as a sleep aid.
Q. Is doxylamine safe?
Yes. Doxylamine is relatively safe if used as recommended. In case of any side-effects, consult your doctor.
Q. Is doxylamine the same as diphenhydramine?
No. Doxylamine and diphenhydramine are two different drugs from the same class called antihistamines.
Q. Can I take doxylamine with ibuprofen, prednisone, pseudoephedrine, Zyrtec, citalopram, or Benadryl?
Yes. Doxylamine can be taken with ibuprofen, prednisone, pseudoephedrine, Zyrtec (cetrizine), citalopram, or Benadryl if prescribed by your doctor.
Q. Does doxylamine cause weight-gain, drowsiness, high blood pressure, dementia, diarrhea, tiredness, or Alzheimer’s disease?
Doxylamine may cause drowsiness, tiredness, diarrhea, or increase the blood pressure. However, it does not cause weight gain, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Q. Can I take doxylamine succinate if I have high blood pressure?
Doxylamine may cause increase in blood pressure if you already suffer from hypertension. It is advisable to consult your doctor before use.
Q. Is Doxylamine a narcotic drug?
No. Doxylamine is not a narcotic drug. 

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)