Benadryl vs. Tylenol Sinus

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

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Tylenol Sinus
(Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine)

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 pain and congestion. Tylenol Sinus (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine) is a good combination medicine to relieve pain and congestion. Be careful to not take too much acetaminophen (APAP) each day.
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.Tylenol Sinus (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that treats cold and allergy symptoms. Acetaminophen relieves pain and reduces fever. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Pain reliever
Available as
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
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 Tylenol Sinus (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine)
-11% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
-26% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
+3% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »

We haven’t found good data for Tylenol Sinus side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Tylenol Sinus »
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 »
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Taking with other Tylenol-containing medicines
  • History of liver disease
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking MAO inhibitors
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Tylenol Sinus (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine) 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
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
  • 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.
  • Tylenol Sinus (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that relieves multiple cold symptoms. It's good to use if you have a stuffy nose, a headache, and pain.
  • The decongestant (phenylephrine) 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.
  • The pain reliever (acetaminophen) is easier on your stomach and has fewer drug interactions than to other pain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
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.
  • 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.
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • To avoid hurting your liver, you need to keep track of the total amount of acetaminophen (APAP) you are taking since it is a very common ingredient in pain and cold/flu combination medicines.
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.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Phenylephrine (the decongestant ingredient) can make you restless, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • 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.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
Learn more
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Tylenol SinusSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert