Compare Benadryl vs. Sonata

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

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC

Sonata (Zaleplon)

Prescription only
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
Helps you sleep.

Sonata (Zaleplon) helps you fall asleep, but it's not as good for staying asleep. It also interacts with a lot of diseases and other drugs.

3.8/ 7 average rating with 175 reviewsforSonata
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.
  • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster.
  • Doesn't last as long in the body as some other sleep medicines, so it's okay to take it in the middle of the night as long as you enough time to sleep. (But be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.)
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.
  • Not typically used for long-term treatment since it can be habit-forming.
  • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
  • Interacts badly with many other medications.
  • Not a good option if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
  • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behaviors so you can sleep better naturally.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Price
No pricing information available
Lowest price near you
$16.93
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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
175 
42%
think this treatment is worth it
23%
think this treatment works well
27%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Sonata (Zaleplon)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
10possible side effects
  • Headache
    42%
  • Dizziness
    9%
  • Nausea
    8%
  • Asthenia
    7%
  • Abdominal Pain
    6%
  • Somnolence
    6%
  • Amnesia
    4%
  • Dysmenorrhea
    4%
  • Paresthesia
    3%
  • Eye pain
    3%
See more detailed side effects
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
  • Dependence and withdrawal

    Continuous use for 2 weeks or more

  • Driving impairment

    Alcohol

    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Abnormal thoughts

    Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions

  • Sleep driving

    Taking with alcohol or drugs

  • Risk to fetus

    Women of childbearing age

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings