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Like most claims made by medicine packaging, the "lasts eight hours!" and "active in fifteen minutes!" statements on the front are ambitious at best. I begin to feel sniffly after four or five hours, and it kicks in around half an hour after taking them.
I suffer from hay fever, so I have tried a wide range of other antihistamines and have come to the conclusion that while these are certainly one of the best, they have their downsides and do not live up to their promises.
They're quite expensive, and if you go to your GP you can get prescription alternatives for far less. I have never suffered any huge side effects.
When they work they seem to work well, which is pleasing. As a contact lens wearer I get more eye irritation than some from the pollen but Benadryl keeps the worst away until I have time to soak my face in cold water.
Another downside is the safety guidelines - it is completely unclear as to whether or not you should drive a car when taking this medication. On the package it first says it will "... not normally affect your ability to drive or operate machinery" and then a few lines later says "Benadryl should not be taken... if you are operating machinery or driving". As a driver myself, I find this contradiction in statements confusing and irresponsible, and will use my own judgment as to whether or not I am fit to drive.
All in all, OK. I would recommend it to other people, but equally I would remind them that there are other things on the market, and until I find out for sure whether I can drive while taking them (both in terms of safety and legality) I won't recommend them to drivers.