Benadryl vs. Clarinex

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

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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.Treats allergy symptoms. Clarinex (Desloratadine) is a good option for once-daily allergy relief. It doesn't make you feel sleepy, but you need a prescription.
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.Clarinex (Desloratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions.
Type of medication
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
2nd generation
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
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
Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
  • Fever 12%
  • Diarrhea 12%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 8%
  • Fatigue 4%
  • Middle ear inflammation 4%
  • Sore throat 3%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Loss of appetite 3%
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Runny nose 2%
More Clarinex side effects »
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 »
Coming soon.
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
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

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.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
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.
  • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, hives, or itchy skin.
  • Preferred for older people since it causes little to no drowsiness compared to other antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
  • Works faster than other non-drowsy antihistamines like Loratadine (Claritin).
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • Available as a liquid or fast-dissolving tablet for people who don't like swallowing pills.
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.
  • May not work as fast as the other antihistamines that make you sleepy (like Benadryl).
  • Not a good medication for pregnant women to take.
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 an hour.
  • Take it once a day when needed.
  • Works the best if used regularly during allergy season.
  • Can give you a headache or diarrhea, but it rarely causes drowsiness or dizziness.
Learn more
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about ClarinexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert