What the Heck is A
Paradoxical Reaction …

A Paradoxical Reaction to any substance can be frightening and uncomfortable. Learn about what these adverse drug reactions are and how to manage them. A Paradoxical reaction is an adverse reaction to a substance, almost always to a drug, that is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the intended effect.

The word 'Paradoxical' is defined as, "… a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition." And that's exactly what these drug reactions are, a seemingly contradictory reaction to a drug that is nonetheless very very real.

A Real Life Problem

A common example of this type of reaction reaction in medicine is the case of a drug called Compazine. Compazine is a drug given intravenously in hospitals for nausea and/or for migraine headaches. Approximately 20% of people have a paradoxical reaction to compazine that then requires the administration of intravenous Benadryl – also called diphenhydramine- to resolve. Compazine, for most people, alleviates their nausea or headache and also has a mild sedative effect.

When someone has these reactions, it is VERY obvious to a knowledgeable medical profession- but less obvious to the patient and family. Patients become restless, agitated and can't sit still. In many cases, they actually do not know what is going on- all they know is that they 'Want to Go Home." They will repeatedly state that they want to go home or that they, "Have to get out of here" over and over.

For the medical professional, the trick is to get a dose of intravenous Benadryl into the patient as quickly as possible, otherwise the attempt to get the patient to stay longer and wait for test results, the doctor to talk to them, etc. can turn into anger for the patient who wants to leave and for the family who wants to honor the patient's request and doesn't understand what is going on.

"I can distinctly remember working as a nurse in a small emergency room when our unit secretary came in on her day off because she was dehydrated after several days of vomiting. I started an intravenous line to give her fluids- and gave her a dose of Compazine as per the doctor's order. Soon, she was stating, "I Want to go home now." Because I had given her a sedative drug, the hospital could not allow her to drive herself home and I called her boyfriend to come and pick her up. After I tended to another patient and returned to my coworker, she was gone and the ambulance door was closing. I opened the ambulance door and saw her running away towards the main street, IV pole being pushed in front, hospital gown billowing out behind. We had to call the police department to get her back. Once she had some Benadryl, she agreed to stay and get the rest of her intravenous fluids. Now THAT is a Paradoxical Reaction! Once I began to recognize the reaction, I dubbed it the 'I Gotta Go's' because that's what everyone with a paradoxical reaction says."
-Kerri Knox, RN
San Francisco, Ca


What to do About A
Paradoxical Reaction

If you have one at home, you can take a dose of Benadryl to help reverse the anxiety and restlessness. But if you understand what it is and that it is not dangerous, then you could simply wait it out or go for a walk until the side effect wears off. If you are at the hospital, you can notify the nurse or doctor what you think is happening and they will be likely to give you some Benadryl to alleviate it.

You'll need to notify your doctor and get a new drug recommended for your initial problem, as you cannot take that drug (or similar drugs in the same class) again. 

Next --->
Uncommon Side Effects

Back to Top of Paradoxical Reaction

To Side Effects Site Home Page

Have You Had a Paradoxical Reaction?

If you've had a paradoxical reaction, tell us your story. Whether it's funny, sad, tragic or heartwarming- we want to hear it!!

Enter The Title of Your Paradoxical Reaction Story Here

Tell Your Story Here[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

Add a Picture/Graphic Caption (optional) 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

Your Name

(first or full name)

Your Location

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

Check box to agree to these submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

See Other Stories about Paradoxical Reactions...

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Paradoxical Reaction to Benedryl 
I don't know what to do. I am going days without sleep and nothing works. I don't usually take meds but I have been thru some medical issues and needed …

Paradoxical Reaction to Carbemazepine 
It seems for me that I have this Paradoxical Reaction to most every drug I am prescribed. But, was most evident when I started Carbamazapine. Being awake …

Phenergan, Compazine, Benadryl, Haldol Paradoxical Reactions 
I've had paradoxical reactions to several drugs including phenergan, compazine, haldol, and benadryl. The reaction to Benadryl is the only one that is …

Paradoxical Reaction to Versed  
I have a history of paradoxical reactions to MANY meds. Ex: Hydrocodone (prescribed for fibromyalgia flares) causes me to become "Chatty Cathy" (regardless …

Paradoxical Reaction to Coffee 
I have a paradoxical reaction to stimulants like coffee and diet pills. Caffeine and diet pills are appetite suppressants, they don't make me hungry though. …

Another paradoxical reaction to Benedryl 
I've been having allergy issues lately so I'd take two to three benedryl tablets to help allievate the allergies and to help me fall asleep but lately …

Paradoxical Reactions to Antihistamines 
I was hospitalized, and had trouble sleeping. Doc ordered vistaril 25mg (antihistamine), which took no effect the first night. So 2nd night it was increased …

Paradoxical Reaction to Stimulants 
For many years I have noticed that my first cup of coffee keeps up alert, like everyone else, but regular morning cups quickly add up to taking a midday …

Paradoxical Reaction to Maxeran 
I developed severe headaches and nausea with vomiting following a myelogram and so I was prescribed maxeran for the nausea. Very shortly after taking …

Paradoxical Reactions to Nicotine, Caffeine, and Adderal 
I first noticed that I had Paradoxical Reactions to most drugs when I was in my early 20s. This was when I tried smoking weed for the first time. My friends …

Anti depressants caused me to have suicidal thoughts 
I almost died from the devil drug Cymbalta. I still can't stop thinking about suicide. Before taking this drug I suffered from mild depression and anxiety. …

Caffeine relaxes me while diazepam makes me more alert. 
For a reason that my Navy doc can't explain stimulants sedate me while sedative and pain killers fill me with energy and insomnia. I don't mind that …

Two Children with a Paradoxical Reaction to Benadryl 
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TOLD , FIRST THING TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD IS HAVING A ALLERGENIC REACTION , IS TO GIVE THEM BENADRYL. BENADRYL, HAS ALWAYS MADE ME AND …

Paradoxical Reaction to Versed 
I was in the hospital for a surgery and was given versed and numerous other medications before I went in. I distinctly remember them telling me I was …

Medical professionals need tutorials on paradoxical reactions 
I have had paradoxical reactions to medications while in the hospital twice. First time was over 10 years ago. I was in the hospital receiving treatment …

Paradoxical Reaction to Benadryl 
I had a paradoxal reaction to Benedryl about a year ago. I was hospitalized for migraines and told the doctor about my allergy to Compazine. The nurse …

Paradoxical Reaction to Versed 
Every time I've been sedated for a procedure (not total anesthesia), they have a hard time getting me "out". About 15 minutes into the procedure, I awaken …

Going from sane to nuts in 1 minute from Compazine 
My doctor gives my compazine at the ER for a stomach bug. I start freaking out. I want to just run. Nurse doesn't know what to do. I start freaking …

Paradoxical Reactions to Benadryl and Adderal. 
Well, when I was little from about, eh, 6 to 13 or so, I was having paradoxical reactions to benadryl. At the time, me nor my Mom had any idea what that …

Paradoxical reaction X 2! 
I starting having a paradoxical reaction to Benadryl when I was 29 years old. Finding out the hard way, I learned what OTC meds to stay away from! Anything …

Paradoxical Reaction to Vitamin B12 
Throughout my late teens and collegiate life, I had several experiences that really just seemed in par with my kind of backwards nature. Things like cold …

Paradoxical Reaction to Benedryl 
I took benadryl because I had a rash. When I took it I was extremely hyper and I got the giggles very bad! I couldn't sleep and I couldn't stop running …

Click here to write your own.

 

 

Search this Site

 

Vitamin D Fact Sheet
Free Vitamin D Fact Sheet
When You Subscribe
To My Newsletter
Below!

Subscribe to
The Side Effects
Newsletter

Today!

Email


Name


Then

Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Side Effects Newsletter and your special gift.


 

 




Upgraded Coffee