Compare Benadryl vs. Phenylephrine

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

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC

Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

Prescription or OTC
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.

5.6/ 7 average rating with 294 reviewsforBenadryl
Clears your sinuses.

Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) is a good medication for relieving stuffy nose. It doesn't work as well as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), but it has fewer side effects.

4.2/ 7 average rating with 164 reviewsforPhenylephrine
Upsides
  • 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.
  • Works to clear nasal congestion and helps you breathe better.
  • Helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches.
  • 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.
  • Doesn't give you rebound congestion (worse symptoms when you stop taking it) like nasal spray decongestants do.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • Can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.
  • Not as effective after using it for 4 days in a row.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
Price
No pricing information available
Lowest price near you
$17.3
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Reviews
294 
86%
think this treatment is worth it
59%
think this treatment works well
8%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?

Leave a review
164 
44%
think this treatment is worth it
24%
think this treatment works well
10%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • Overdose

    Using other drugs with the same ingredients

  • Increased side effects

    Age 65 years or older

  • Driving impairment

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Hyperactivity

    Children age 6 years and younger

  • Trouble urinating

    Enlarged prostate

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Vision changes

    Glaucoma

  • Breastfeeding

    Nursing mothers

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • High blood pressure

    History of high blood pressure

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Heart problems

    History of heart problems

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Harm to fetus

    Women of childbearing age

See more detailed risks and warnings