Compare Benadryl vs. Nyquil Cold and Flu

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

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Nyquil Cold And Flu
(Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine)

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 cold and flu symptoms, and helps you sleep. Nyquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine) is a useful combination medicine that relieves cold and flu symptoms and will help you sleep. Make sure you really need all of its ingredients.
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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 Nyquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine)
83%
2% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
42%
15% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
6%
+2% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »

We haven’t found good data for Nyquil Cold and Flu side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Nyquil Cold and Flu »
How it works
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.Nyquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine) is a combination medicine that treats cold and flu symptoms. Acetaminophen relieves pain and reduces fever. Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. Doxylamine is an antihistamine that relieves a runny nose and makes you very sleepy.
Type of medication
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Pain reliever
APAP
Cough suppressantAntihistamine
Ethanolamine derivative
Over-the-counter
Available as
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
  • 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 »
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Taking with other Tylenol-containing medicines
  • History of liver disease
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking with other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Glaucoma
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
Detailed Nyquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
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
Alcohol
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs that make you drowsy.
Food
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.
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.
  • The antihistamine (doxylamine) will help you sleep.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs that make you drowsy.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
  • 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.
  • Nyquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Dextromethorphan / Doxylamine) is a combination medicine that relieves multiple cold symptoms. It's good to use if you have watery eyes, a cough, fever, and pain.
  • The cough medicine (dextromethorphan) works well and has very few side effects.
  • The pain reliever (acetaminophen) is easier on your stomach and has fewer drug interactions than other pain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • The antihistamine (doxylamine) will help you sleep.
Downsides and risks
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
  • 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 all of the medications in this combination, you're taking extra medicine and might have extra side effects for no reason.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • To avoid hurting your liver, you have to keep track of the total amount of acetaminophen (APAP) you're taking since it's a very common ingredient in pain and cold/flu combination medicines.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
BenadrylNyquil Cold and Flu
  • 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.
  • Doxylamine (the antihistamine ingredient) can make you tired, so take it close to bedtime.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
  • Contains acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol or APAP. Taking too much can cause liver failure and death. Don't take more than what's recommended on the package or with other Tylenol-containing products.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs that make you drowsy.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days, or if you have a really bad sore throat with a fever, headache, nausea, or vomiting.
Learn more
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Nyquil Cold and FluSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert