Benadryl vs. Nasacort AQ

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

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Nasacort Aq

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 allergy symptoms. Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is the only medication in its class available over the counter for treating stuffy and runny nose due to allergies. You have to use it every day for it to work.
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.Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to help reduce swelling and inflammation from allergies.
Type of medication
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Nasal spray
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 Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
-18% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
-18% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
-2% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Tooth disorder 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Throat pain 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Bronchitis 2%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Flu syndrome 2%
  • Common cold 1%
More Nasacort AQ 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 »
  • Long-term use
  • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
  • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Long-term use
  • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
  • Using other inhaled steroids with Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
  • Long-term use
  • Taking more than recommended dose
Detailed Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) 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
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.
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
  • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
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.
  • Can't be used on as-needed basis. Must be taken every day.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left.
  • Since the medicine in Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Needs to be primed before use and re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
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.
  • Use Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) once a day, following age-specific recommendations on how many sprays to use. Don't take more than prescribed.
  • Blow your nose before using.
  • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
  • Can also cause nosebleeds, a sore throat, and headaches.
  • Needs to be used regularly during allergy season for it to work. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the medicine to start working fully.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist on how to use the nasal spray the right way.
  • Shake well before using it. Before the first use, prime the bottle by spraying it until you see a fine mist.
Learn more
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Nasacort AQSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert