BALTIMORE, July 10 -- Despite anecdotal evidence, a dose of the antihistamine Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at bedtime won't help infants sleep.
A trial testing the antihistamine in infants ages six months to 15 months was stopped early by a data safety monitoring committee because Benadryl was no more effective than placebo in helping the children to remain asleep during the night, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.
Many physicians and parents believe than antihistamines are an effective aid for children with sleep problems," Dan Merenstein, M.D., and colleagues, noted in the July issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
"Unfortunately, this attitude is based on anecdote and studies of adult physiological interactions," rather than controlled clinical investigation in children, Dr. Merenstein and colleagues said. Dr. Merenstein is now at Georgetown University in Washington.