Recently launched Nytol liquid offers easy to swallow formulation containing a sedative antihistamine, diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Although liquid preparations containing diphenhydramine hydrochloride can be bought already (cough syrups), Nytol oral solution is the only product that contains diphenhydramine which is licensed as a sleep aid product. Initially, after the launch Nytol liquid was marketed also as an antihistamine, however, this indication was removed from Nytol. Nytol liquid review summarises product indications, age restrictions, and review of possible side effects. I will also talk about differences and similarities between Nytol liquid and Nytol tablets.
What is Nytol liquid?
Nytol product is a caramel flavoured oral solution containing diphenhydramine hydrochloride at a concentration of 10mg/5ml. Each 5ml of Nytol contains 10mg of diphenhydramine. Nytol liquid is licensed as medicines to help with sleeping problems on a temporary basis.
Nytol liquid: age restrictions
Nytol solution is not recommended for children under the age of 16.
Nytol liquid: a review of dosage
When used as a sleep aid recommended dose for Nyol liquid is:
- 10 to 25ml before going to bed for children and adults over 16 years of age. Product not recommended for children under 16 years of age. Dose should not be repeated during the same night.
Nytol liquid vs Nytol tablets: What is the difference?
The main difference between Nytol tablets and solution is the type of formulation. Nytol solution offers easy to swallow formulation as an alternative to tablets. Other differences and similarities between both formulations:
- Both products contain the same sedative antihistamine, diphenhydramine hydrochloride.
- Nytol tablets are available as Nytol Original, containing 25mg of diphenhydramine per tablet and as ‘One a night’ product, containing 50mg of diphenhydramine per tablet. Each 5ml of Nytol liquid contains 10mg diphenhydramine.
- Nytol tablets are licensed as an aid to the relief of temporary sleep disturbances for ages 16 and over. The same licensed indication applies to Nytol solution.
- Priced at around £10-£12, Nytol oral solution is considerably more expensive than Nytol tablets, which cost around £4-£6.
- Nytol ‘One a night’ contains 20 tablets (20 doses) of diphenhydramine hydrochloride. When used as sleeping aid at maximum and equivalent dose of 25ml, a bottle of Nytol liquid provides only 12 doses.
- Nytol tablets should not be used continuously for longer than two weeks. After this time it is recommended to speak to a doctor if symptoms persist. Strangely this recommendation is not present in the information for the liquid formulation.
Will Nytol liquid work faster?
There is no official information suggesting a new Nytol product works faster than tablets. For some drugs, oral liquid preparations improve absorption times, but this is not a general rule.
Nytol liquid review of side effects
The most common side effects associated with use of Nytol liquid include:
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness, sedation, and dizziness
More serious reactions to diphenhydramine are also possible, although frequency of those is not known. Some of these include:
- Allergic reaction to diphenhydramine
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
For more details on possible side effects read product information leaflet.
Can you take Nytol liquid?
Nytol liquid may not be suitable for everyone. Absolute contra-indications (not to be used) cover patients (eMC, 2019):
- Allergic to diphenhydramine hydrochloride should not use this product
- Patients with peptic ulcer
- Patients with a blockage between your stomach and small intestine
Additionally, there are a number of cautions for use of Nytol in patients with certain conditions like epilepsy. It is important to speak to a pharmacist (or a doctor) before taking Nytol liquid if your condition is listed in the product information leaflet.
Nytol liquid alternatives:
There are a number of products available from a pharmacy for the temporary management of sleeping problems. Most popular products contain either diphenhydramine hydrochloride or promethazine hydrochloride, both sedative antihistamines. Most products are sold in a tablet form. Promethazine is available as Phenergan Elixir, which is licensed for both children and adults in the treatment of allergies, as an antiemetic (to prevent vomiting) and as a sedative for short term use and for short term treatment of insomnia.
Individuals with ongoing sleeping problems or insomnia which affects their daily life should speak to a GP. GP may prescribe a medication to help with symptoms of insomnia. To read more about the management of insomnia with prescription-only medication read my separate post reviewing treatment recommendations and the popularity of sleeping drugs in the UK.
- eMC (2019). SmPC: Nytol Liquid Caramel Flavour 10mg/5ml Oral Solution. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/10392 Accessed on 22/10/2019