Doxylamine has different uses in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Doxylamine is an antihistamine, which means it can be used to treat the symptoms of hay fever and other respiratory allergies. In a higher dose, doxylamine can be used to help with occasional sleeplessness. It may be written as doxylamine or doxylamine succinate, but it is the same active ingredient. Doxylamine can be found in multi-symptom relief or combination cough, cold, and flu remedies. It is also available as a single ingredient in nighttime sleep-aid medicines.
Doxylamine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label. While doxylamine may be used in products that treat cold symptoms as well as sleeplessness, the dosing frequency and directions differ between cold medicines and sleep aids. To ensure proper use, do not take a nighttime sleep-aid medicine to treat allergies or cold symptoms or an allergy or cold medicine to relieve sleeplessness.
- When using medicines containing doxlyamine, significant drowsiness may occur.
- You should avoid alcoholic drinks.
- You should use care when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.
- Nighttime sleep aids should be taken only at bedtime or when you have time for a full night’s rest.
- You have asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, glaucoma, or trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland.
- You are currently taking any other medicines.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You are taking a nighttime sleep aid and your sleeplessness persists for more than two weeks. Insomnia may be a symptom of a serious medical illness.
- You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
- Never use doxylamine or any OTC medicine to sedate or make a child sleepy.
- Do not give an OTC cough, cold, or flu medicine containing doxylamine to a child under the age of 4.
- Contact a healthcare provider before giving an OTC cough, cold, or flu medicine to a child between the ages of 4 and 12.
- Do not give a nighttime sleep aid to a child under the age of 12.
- Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.