Compare Benadryl vs. Lunesta

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

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Lunesta
(Eszopiclone)

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.Helps you sleep. Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is good for falling asleep and staying asleep. Not as habit-forming as some sleep medicines, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.5767790262172285Benadryl
Reviews for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
85%
of people say Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is worth it
57%
say it works well
8%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Lunesta (Eszopiclone)
54%
31% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
35%
22% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
17%
9% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects
BenadrylLunesta

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
  • Unpleasant taste 31%
  • Headache 8%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Infection 7%
  • Dry mouth 4%
  • Indigestion 4%
  • Dizziness 3%
  • Pain 3%
  • Rash 3%
  • Itching 3%
More Lunesta side effects »
How it works
BenadrylLunesta
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.
Type of medication
BenadrylLunesta
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
SedativePrescription only
Available as
BenadrylLunesta
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
BenadrylLunesta
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenadrylLunesta
  • 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 »
  • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep.
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs that acts in the brain
    • Elderly
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Lunesta (Eszopiclone) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Lunesta (Eszopiclone) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    BenadrylLunesta
    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
    Alcohol
    • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
    • Might not be safe if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, lung disease, or a condition that affects metabolism.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
    • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.
    • Works best if taken without food.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
    • People age 65 years and older have a higher risk of side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Benadryl (Diphenhydramine). Watch for changes in vision, severe dry mouth, trouble urinating, or constipation. The drowsiness caused by Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can make you "unsteady" on your feet, leading to a higher chance of falls.
    • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
    • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
    • Not as habit-forming, so you can use it for longer than most other sleep medicines.
    • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
    • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
    • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Lunesta (Eszopiclone) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
    • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Lunesta (Eszopiclone) if any sleep-related activities occur.
    • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) make you feel drowsy and sleepy, leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if your older. Falls from sleep medicines like Lunesta (Eszopiclone) have caused severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injury. You may need a lower dose if you're taking other medicine that affects your nervous system or have issues with falls in the past. Check with your doctor first.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    BenadrylLunesta
    • 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.
    • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
    • Not as habit-forming, so you can use it for longer than most other sleep medicines.
    Downsides and risks
    BenadrylLunesta
    • 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.
    • More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly.
    • Might not be safe if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, lung disease, or a condition that affects metabolism.
    • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    BenadrylLunesta
    • 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.
    • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
    • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
    • Very addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
    • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
    • Works best if taken without food.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
    • Withdrawal symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
    • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
    Learn more
    More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about LunestaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert