Compare cortisone vs. Benadryl

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

Cortisone

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Coming soon.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.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
85%
+35% vs. Cortisone
57%
+7% vs. Cortisone
8%
8% vs. Cortisone
Side effects
cortisoneBenadryl

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

FDA side effect reports for cortisone »

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
How it works
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.
Type of medication
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.
Antihistamine
1st generation
Prescription or OTC
Available as
cortisoneBenadryl
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for (click to learn more)
cortisoneBenadryl
  • Acute lymphoid leukemia Adrenal insufficiency Allergic disorder Chronic lymphoid leukemia Collagen disease Disorder of endocrine system Disorder of eye Disorder of gastrointestinal tract Disorder of hematopoietic structure Disorder of respiratory system Disorder of skin Hodgkin's disease Hypercalcemia of malignancy Inflammatory disorder of musculoskeletal system Mycosis fungoides Neoplastic disease Nephrotic syndrome Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Trichinosis Tuberculosis of meninges; Adjunct
Risk factors for serious side effects
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.
  • 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 »
Pregnancy category
cortisoneBenadryl
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
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
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
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
No specific sleep-related info.
  • 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.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
cortisoneBenadryl
Coming soon.
  • 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.
Learn more
More about cortisoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert