OTC Anthistamines (Cough Medicine) Drug Test - info-hero

OTC Antihistamines (Cough Medicine) Drug Test


OTC antihistamines (cough medicine) can be detected in drug tests that specifically include it as part of the panel of drugs being tested. Health Street offers urine testing services that can identify drug use up to a week back. Although it cannot be tested in our hair drug tests, we do offer urine drug testing options that include OTC antihistamines or cough medicine in addition to many other substances. Tests can be scheduled by employers or individuals; just choose the location to get a drug test for OTC antihistamines and complete the registration. Then you (or whomever you specify) will receive a barcode, which should be presented at the facility when the person arrives for the OTC antihistamines (cough medicine) drug test. Test results are fast, accurate, and reported securely in our online portal.

About Over-the-Counter (OTC) Antihistamines

What Are OTC Antihistamines?

Most commonly known as medicines that treat allergy symptoms, OTC antihistamines come in the form of tablets, liquids, pills, eye drops, and capsules. Antihistamines may also be used to treat bug bites, hives or types of skin irritations, anxiety, and colds. There are two closely related OTC antihistamines that are commonly abused:

Diphenhydramine (DPH) – Benadryl is a common brand name using DPH
Dimenhydrinate – Dramamine is a common brand name for this antihistamine

People who abuse these drugs are chasing after the euphoric effects or the hallucinogenic effects (similar to that of PCP). In recent years, the FDA has warned against taking too much Benadryl (the most common brand name for DPH) due to a social media challenge sparking widespread abuse among teenagers. Although these over-the-counter medications can be quite helpful when used correctly, they can come with a host of problems when misused or abused.

Other Names for OTC Antihistamines:

OTC antihistamines or cough medicines are most commonly known by popular brand names. A few of these include:


Since these antihistamines are available as over-the-counter medications, street names are not as common. A few street names might include:

Red Devil
Intended Use and Effects:

OTC antihistamines or cough medicines are intended to be used for allergies, but may also be used for a variety of other symptoms (including anxiety, colds, etc.).

Side Effects of OTC Antihistamines

When taken correctly, OTC antihistamines are considered safe for most age groups. However, as with any drug, side effects are always possible. Some of the common side effects for OTC antihistamines may include:

Changes in appetite
Changes in mood
Blurry vision

Sometimes OTC antihistamines are abused for the euphoric or hallucinogenic effects, which may result in more severe side effects. Diphenhydramine (DPH) is especially notorious for abuse, and is particularly troublesome due to social media challenges encouraging the abuse of the drug. The FDA states that "allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death." If you or someone you know would like to get a diphenhydramine drug test (or Benadryl drug test), Health Street offers drug testing services for OTC and sleeping medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cough medicine make you fail a drug test?

Yes. However, it depends on the type of medicine, the quantity consumed, and whether or not the test that was selected specifically includes these drugs in the panel of drugs being tested.

How long do OTC antihistamines stay in your system?

How long these stay in your system is dependent on several factors. Some of these include:

Frequency of use
Amount used
User's metabolism
User's age
Does Benadryl show up on a drug test?

Yes, Benadryl or DPH can be detected in a drug test. However, the type of test may be a factor in whether or not it will show up. This drug is not included in every drug screening, so the test that is selected must specifically include it as part of the panel of drugs being tested.

Why drug test for OTC antihistamines?

When used according to approved medical guidelines, OTC antihistamines or cough medicines are useful in treating certain conditions. However, the abuse of these drugs can result in negative side effects. An antihistamine drug test can determine if a person is misusing or abusing these drugs.

OTC Antihistamine Drug Test Options

Health Street offers the following OTC antihistamines drug tests should you need or choose to be tested. These drug testing options can be ordered by both individuals and employers. Whether you're an employer seeking to maintain a drug-free workplace or an individual looking to drug test yourself or a family member, we have a drug testing solution for you.


Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2020, September 24). Taking too much of the allergy medicine Benadryl is dangerous. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-about-serious-problems-high-doses-allergy-medicine-diphenhydramine-benadryl.
hollowc2. (2020, September 25). What Is the 'Benadryl Challenge' & Why Is It So Dangerous? Cleveland Clinic: Every Life Deserves World Class Care. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-benadryl-challenge-why-is-it-so-dangerous/.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020, May 30). Antihistamines for allergies: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000549.htm.