Compare Benadryl vs. Valium

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

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Valium
(Diazepam)

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 relax. Valium (Diazepam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety and for pain and sleeplessness from muscle spasm. Less severe withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
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 Valium (Diazepam)
69%
16% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
52%
5% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
16%
8% vs. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Side effects
BenadrylValium

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »

The Valium FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Valium side effects »
How it works
BenadrylValium
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.Valium (Diazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and muscle spasms, and causes sleepiness.
Type of medication
BenadrylValium
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Anti-anxiety
Benzodiazepine
Prescription only
Available as
BenadrylValium
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Rectal gel
Used for (click to learn more)
BenadrylValium
Risk factors for serious side effects
BenadrylValium
  • 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 »
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
      • Current liver problems
      Detailed Valium (Diazepam) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      BenadrylValium
      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
      DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but 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.
      • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      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.
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      • Stopping Valium (Diazepam) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and muscle pain or burning. Withdrawal symptoms can last 6 weeks or longer. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      BenadrylValium
      • 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 relieving short-term anxiety and sleeplessness.
      • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
      • Effective at relieving muscle spasms caused by a variety of conditions.
      • Less severe withdrawal symptoms compared to other benzodiazepines.
      Downsides and risks
      BenadrylValium
      • 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.
      • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
      • Most people find that it gets less effective over time.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      BenadrylValium
      • 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.
      • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
      • Starts working in 30 minutes when swallowed.
      • Helpful with muscle spasms.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      Learn more
      More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about ValiumSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert