Compare Benadryl vs. Advil Congestion Relief

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Advil Congestion Relief
(Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine)

Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is great for allergies, but curl up on the couch after taking it and get ready for a nap.Relieves pain and congestion. Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a good combination medicine to relieve pain and congestion, but it's more medicine than you need if you only have one symptom.
How it works
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that treats cold and allergy symptoms. Ibuprofen is an NSAID that relieves swelling, pain, and fever. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Pain reliever
Available as
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
of people say Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine)
12% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
25% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
+1% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects

We haven’t found good data for Benadryl side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »

We haven’t found good data for Advil Congestion Relief side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Advil Congestion Relief »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Using other drugs with the same ingredients
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Children age 6 years and younger
  • Enlarged prostate
  • History of bladder problems
  • Glaucoma
  • Nursing mothers
Detailed Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) risks & warnings »
  • History of stomach bleeding or ulcers
  • Age 60 years or older
  • Taking aspirin, NSAIDs, or blood thinners
  • Drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Women of childbearing age
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Taking high blood pressure medications
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Taking with aspirin
Detailed Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
No specific alcohol-related info.
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
  • Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) contains ibuprofen, an NSAID that can lower kidney function or cause damage. Taking the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time lowers your risk. Your doctor should check your kidney function if you take Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) for any amount of time.
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
No specific sleep-related info.
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is often better than other antihistamines at treating allergy symptoms and hives.
  • It can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • It makes you sleepy, so it'll help if your allergies are bothering you at night.
  • The effects wear off in 4 to 6 hours, so side effects don't last that long.
  • It comes as a tablet, capsule, liquid, and quick dissolving tablet.
  • Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that relieves multiple cold and allergy symptoms. It's good to use if you have a stuffy nose, sinus pressure, and pain.
  • The decongestant (phenylephrine) has fewer side effects than other decongestants like pseudoephedrine. It doesn't raise your blood pressure and heart rate as much, or cause as much trouble falling asleep.
Downsides and risks
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
  • You shouldn't drive after taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) until you know how it affects you.
  • Talk to a pediatrician before giving Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) to a child.
  • It can increase the risk of falls, so elderly people shouldn't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine).
  • Don't use Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) if you are breastfeeding.
  • If you don't really need both of the medications in this combination, you're taking extra medicine and might have extra side effects for no reason.
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • The pain reliever (ibuprofen) can interact with other medications and make health problems like stomach bleeding and ulcers worse.
  • It's not safe to take ibuprofen if you're pregnant since it increases the risk of heart defects in babies.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • Take it as needed every 4 to 6 hours.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can make you dehydrated, so avoid this side effect by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor. A different medication might work better for you long-term.
  • If you only have itchy or watery eyes, try using just an antihistamine eye drop.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Don't take it if you have an allergy to aspirin since ibuprofen can cause a similar reaction.
  • Phenylephrine (the decongestant ingredient) can make you restless, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than what's recommended on the package.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
Learn more
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Advil Congestion ReliefSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert