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Diphenhydramine (On the skin)

Treats pain and itching associated with insect bites, minor cuts, burns, or rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel, Dermamycin, Rite Aid Anti-Itch, Valu-Dryl Anti-Itch
Other forms
By injection, By mouth
Drug classes About this
Antipruritic
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Treatment of the cough in whooping cough

We reviewed the evidence from 12 studies about the effect of treatments for cough in patients with whooping cough.

Efficacy of diphenhydramine against cough in humans: a review

AIM: To determine the efficacy of diphenhydramine against cough due to respiratory infection or irritation in patients/subjects without comorbidities.

Histamine‐blocking drugs for hives

Urticaria is a common skin disease characterised by itching weals or hives that can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin. Weals may be pinpoint in size or several inches in diameter. Most sufferers experience hives continuously or intermittently for less than six weeks, but they may last longer (when they are then called 'chronic'). Urticaria can also be accompanied by angioedema (swelling of a deeper layer of the skin). There are several varieties of urticaria, but the most common forms are acute urticaria and chronic urticaria. Common causes of acute urticaria are infections and adverse reactions to medications and foods, whereas in chronic urticaria the cause is often unknown. Intense itching is common, and it can lead to disturbed sleep and even depression, having a serious impact on a person's quality of life. As the face and other exposed body parts can be affected, hives and angioedema can prove embarrassing for the individual.

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Summaries for consumers

Treatment of the cough in whooping cough

We reviewed the evidence from 12 studies about the effect of treatments for cough in patients with whooping cough.

Histamine‐blocking drugs for hives

Urticaria is a common skin disease characterised by itching weals or hives that can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin. Weals may be pinpoint in size or several inches in diameter. Most sufferers experience hives continuously or intermittently for less than six weeks, but they may last longer (when they are then called 'chronic'). Urticaria can also be accompanied by angioedema (swelling of a deeper layer of the skin). There are several varieties of urticaria, but the most common forms are acute urticaria and chronic urticaria. Common causes of acute urticaria are infections and adverse reactions to medications and foods, whereas in chronic urticaria the cause is often unknown. Intense itching is common, and it can lead to disturbed sleep and even depression, having a serious impact on a person's quality of life. As the face and other exposed body parts can be affected, hives and angioedema can prove embarrassing for the individual.

Pre‐transfusion drugs for preventing side effects from blood transfusions

Febrile non‐haemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs) and allergic reactions are the most common adverse reactions to blood transfusion. These reactions are often related to other dangerous side effects from transfusion such as sepsis due to contaminated blood products and intravascular red cell haemolysis.

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