What You Need To Know About ZzzQuil Before You Take It

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On November 24, 2019

ZzzQuil is one of the newer over the counter drugs being sold to help people fall asleep, this would mean you do not need a prescription from your doctor. ZzzQuil is manufactured by the makers of NyQuil Vick’s Incorporated. Although it states that it is safer than talking Tylenol P.M there are some things you need to know before taking this over the counter medication.

ZzzQuil Is Not Meant for Treating Insomnia

Sold as a liquid or a liquid-filled capsule, ZzzQuil is a sleep aid that is used to treat insomnia characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. It is meant to relieve occasional sleeplessness, and shouldn’t be used for insomnia lasting more than 2 weeks.

ZzzQuil Is an Antihistamine

The main ingredient of ZzzQuil is diphenhydramine antihistamine. Antihistamines are a class of medications that block the action of histamine, a substance that is released by cells in your body in response to an allergic reaction. The release of histamine is responsible for many allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and itching. Some antihistamines are also used for their side effects, including sedation and prevention of nausea and vomiting.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Discourages the Use of Zzzquil

Studies suggest that people fall asleep on average about 8 minutes faster compared to placebo. The total amount of sleep improves by an average of about 12 minutes. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine discourages the use of the medication as a sleep aid because it is viewed that the benefits are approximately equal to the potential for harm.

ZzzQuil Side Effects

Here are some of the most common side effects:
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion (Delirium)
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased pressure within the eye
  • Headache
  • Stomach upset
  • Dry mouth or nose
  • Hyperactivity
  • Constipation
  • Thick lung secretions
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sweating
  • Erectile dysfunction
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I can understand why the American Academy of Sleep did not recommend the use of this medication. If you are still considering using ZzzQuil, people with the following condition’s have additional precautions.

  • Glaucoma
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Obstruction of the bowel or bladder

When considering taking any over the counter medication it is best to do your own research. Also, you should consult your family physician. We understand that having difficulty falling asleep can be very frustrating. But is falling asleep 8 minutes faster and sleeping 12 minutes longer worth the risk?

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