Pain Management/pain at bedtime


  I have arthritis and during the night the pain and aches keep me awake.  
  I bought a cheap over the counter medicine called "Pain Relief PM" which is Acetaminophren 500mg and Diphenhydramine hci 25mg.  I took it for 5 days and I could sleep.  Then I stopped because I don't want to get addicted.  But now the pain is back and I can't sleep again.  Can you tell me if it is bad to take this on a regular basis or is it OK way to get some sleep?

Hi Don,
I'm so sorry about your chronic pain. I wonder if you are on anything else for arthritis, like a prescription drug? Anyway, you do not have to worry about becoming addicted to the OTC med you bought. The diphenhydramine is generic for Benadryl. You've probably heard of it. It is a mild antihistamine which also has been used for years for other purposes. It is actually a very good drug. It has even been researched for use in Parkinson's disease, but that's another subject. What I'm saying is that it is very safe, and if it helps you sleep then you could continue to use it. I advise this without knowing any other meds you may be on. Certainly acetaminophen is much safer on the stomach than the NSAIDs you have heard of which are actually better for arthritis, ibuprofen, Advil, etc. Doctors don't recommend them like they once did because they can cause stomach bleeding and ulcers if taken for long periods. There are some newer ones on the market now, however, that are gentler on the stomach; these are by prescription. They are nonaddictive, though. But, I don't think you should avoid the OTC med for fear of addiction because Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a very safe drug. Please write back if you have further questions. I hope you feel better. Sleep well!

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Patricia M


I welcome questions from people who may want a "nurse's perspective" on the subject of chronic pain and pain management. I am a nurse, NOT a physician (MD).I can answer questions on medications, alternative approaches, and the various organs and body systems. There are many avenues to explore with chronic pain. I am against seeing patients suffer simply because healthcare professionals might suspect they are "drug seekers". There are methods of identifying true pain, and this makes patients feel as if they are taken seriously, which they should be.


Over 25 years working experience in Internal Medicine, Adult Cardiology, Post-Surgery care, Cancer, psychiatry and some experience as a lay-counselor in addictive medicine (dependence to alcohol and/or drugs, both legal and illegal drugs).

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Diploma from hospital-based nursing school. Additional courses in pharmacology. I keep current in continuing education. Am currently working as lay-counselor which can lead to my certification as Substance Abuse Counselor.

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Internal medicine patients, cardiology patients recovering from heart disease and/or open-heart surgery, cancer, as well as recently working as a lay-counselor to individuals dealing with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. NOTE: Just because I attempt to help patients with addictive diseases, I have over 25 years in Internal Medicine, have nursed patients with great deal of pain, and I am compassionate. I never label anyone as a "drug seeker". I have seen that done for years, and am against it. All patients should be evaluated for pain in a fair and comprehensive manner. Am an Expert with AllExperts in three other medical categories; feel free to check my ratings, which are high.

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