Chemical experts: can OTC (Over The Counter) sleep aids become addictive?

  • rnch

    Posts: 11556

    Jan 16, 2012 9:10 PM GMT
    i'm having trouble sleeping at night. I can be tired enough to fall asleep; just cannot stay asleep.

    I have found that the OTC Unisom Sleep Gel nighttime sleep aid is helping me. The main ingredients is listed as Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride.

    The package instructions say not to take any longer than 2 weeks continously.

    Can these become addictive if used longer than 2 weeks?
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Jan 16, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    Diphenhydramine hydrochloride is the active agent in many anti allergy drugs. They are not habit-forming.

    For example, Benadryl is diphenhydramine hydrochloride. You might find that it will be cheaper than then OTC sleep aid you are buying. Even a generic brand of anti-allergy medicine will work very well. You only pay for the pretty packaging and advertising with more expensive name brand drugs.

    I don't know much about drugs, but the point of 2 weeks is not to prevent dependency-it wouldn't be OTC if it caused it this quickly, but to have you contact your physician in case you have another sleep issue that needs to be addressed.

    Note that these are sleep aids, they should only help your body to train itself to sleep at an appropriate time, they are not supposed to be habit forming.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11556

    Jan 16, 2012 9:41 PM GMT
    the package I had was i don't know how many years old.

    the new package that i just purchased doesn't list the 2 week period anymore.