Ask the Doctor: Vitamin D/seasonal depression, allergy pills, sleep medicine
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every Tuesday on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.
Question #1 (from Cassy): “Do you recommend taking vitamin D supplements to help with seasonal depression?”
DR. BOB: Vitamin D is always a tricky subject. It is a very important hormone for many things in the body.
Low vitamin D does have an association with depression. However, the complicated thing about vitamin D is just because there is an association doesn’t mean taking a vitamin D supplement will help you feel better.
We know that counseling, light therapy and depression medications are effective for treating seasonal depression. I would focus more on treatments with proven efficacy rather than vitamin D.
Question #2 (from Susan): “Is it okay to take an allergy pill every day for prevention?”
DR. BOB: Most likely, the allergy pills you are referring to are non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin.
Sedating antihistamines are medicines such as Benadryl. These pills can be very effective in controlling allergy symptoms.
All antihistamines can cause dry mouth, dizziness, upset stomach, and weight gain. There is an association between Benadryl and an increased risk of dementia.
Nonsedating antihistamines overall are felt to be safe, but it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are taking something long term.
Question #3 (from Melanie): “My boyfriend struggles with sleep and ends up taking NyQuil most nights to help with that. Is that safe?”
DR. BOB: This is actually a very similar question to the last one because the active ingredient in NyQuil to help you sleep is doxylamine.
Doxylamine is a very similar drug to Benadryl, which is also called diphenhydramine. As I mentioned above, this class of medicines are generally safe, but may increase the risk of dementia.
NyQuil also contains Tylenol and a cough suppressant. This may not really be doing anything to help him sleep, so he might just be able to take doxylamine over the counter.
While it is probably okay to take this long term to help with sleep, I always want to dig a little deeper. Usually, there is a reason we are having trouble sleeping. Working too much, uncontrolled anxiety, etc.
It is probably worth trying to figure out why he is having trouble sleeping and fixing that rather than just taking medicine to cover it up.
Copyright 2023 WNDU. All rights reserved.