Compare Benadryl vs. Sonata

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

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Sonata
(Zaleplon)

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. 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.
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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 Sonata (Zaleplon)
42%
43% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
24%
33% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
27%
19% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects
BenadrylSonata

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
  • Headache 7%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Amnesia 3%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Eye pain 2%
  • Menstrual cramps 2%
  • Drowsiness 2%
  • Tingling sensation 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Tremor 1%
More Sonata side effects »
How it works
BenadrylSonata
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.Sonata (Zaleplon) 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
BenadrylSonata
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
SedativePrescription only
Available as
BenadrylSonata
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
BenadrylSonata
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenadrylSonata
  • 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
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Sonata (Zaleplon) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    BenadrylSonata
    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.
    • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
    • Sonata (Zaleplon) 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.
    • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
    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.
    • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
    • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
    • 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.
    • 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.)
    • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
    • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Sonata (Zaleplon) 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.
    • Sonata (Zaleplon) 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 Sonata (Zaleplon) if any sleep-related activities occur.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    BenadrylSonata
    • 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 and risks
    BenadrylSonata
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    BenadrylSonata
    • 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.
    • It's very addictive and meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can start to form after using it daily for 2 weeks.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
    • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
    • Withdrawal symptoms usually get better in 1 to 2 days.
    • Tell your doctor about any sudden confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
    Learn more
    More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about SonataSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert