Could Tinnitus, Ear Fullness and Lightheadedness Be a Side Effect of Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride?

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (MD)' started by Missmia87, Mar 14, 2020.

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    1. Missmia87

      Missmia87 Member

      Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi Dr Nagler,

      Thank you for your time.

      I developed tinnitus 3-4 weeks ago. It accompanied one vertigo attack (couple of days prior). Then I had a feeling of fullness in my ear and felt lightheaded.

      About the same time I started taking diphenhydramine hydrochloride to help sleep. I took it sparingly. 6 tablets over 2 weeks and stopped 9 days ago.

      Not sure if it was a coincidence or not. But could the pills have caused the tinnitus? If so, will it diminish now that I’ve stopped them?

      My other theory is ETD as I also have clicking sounds when I swallow (as well as the feeling of fullness) and have a slightly deviated septum which causes a blocked nose.

      Any insight would be appreciated.
      Thank you.
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member Clinician Benefactor

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hello @Missmia87 -

      Diphenhydramine can cause tinnitus, but the incidence is *very rare*. In fact, diphenhydramine is one of the most frequently prescribed antihistamines for people who have tinnitus and need a decongestant. In any event, diphenhydramine does not cause auditory damage, which means that if your tinnitus has not abated by now (9 days after discontinuing the drug) then the diphenhydramine, which has a half-life on the order of 4-5 hours, was not the culprit in the first place.

      Hope this helps.

      Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

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