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Dr. Ravoof
Dr. Ravoof, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Experienced Physician in the field of Medicine and Surgery.
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I am 72 and have stopped taking sleeping pills containing

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I am 72 and have stopped taking sleeping pills containing Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride which I have been using for 2-3 years as I hear short term memory loss can be a side effect, which I am experiencing.
1) Am I likely to regain any memory loss by giving these up?
2) What, if any, are the likely withdrawal effects?

Dear customer,

Thanks for your question.

This medication should not be used for a long term and also it is not the recommended medication for insomnia. Sedation is only a side effect of this medication. It may also cause short-term drowsiness or confusion or memory impairment.

Yes you need to discontinue this medication in consultation with your doctor. On discontinuation you are likely to regain any memory impairment due to the medication since this is mostly short term.

Also there will be no withdrawal effects on giving up this medication but the symptom such as insomnia is likely to return.

Therefore consult your doctor about melatonin which may be taken for insomnia in the elderly. Also a good sleep hygiene along with exercise and mindfulness meditation is beneficial.

Take care.

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