Compare Flonase vs. Benadryl

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

Flonase
(Fluticasone)

Benadryl
(Diphenhydramine)

Relieves allergy symptoms. Flonase (Fluticasone) is a good first-choice medicine for treating a runny or stuffy nose caused by allergies, and it's cheaper than some alternatives.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
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.05Flonase
Reviews for Flonase (Fluticasone)
72%
of people (All ages) say Flonase (Fluticasone) is worth it
43%
say it works well
7%
say it's a big hassle
890 reviews
Have you used Flonase (Fluticasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
86%
+14% better vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
59%
+16% better vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
8%
-1% worse vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
294 reviews
Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
FlonaseBenadryl
  • Asthma symptoms 4%
  • Nosebleed 1%
  • Nausea/vomiting 3%
  • Cough 1%
  • Blood in mucus 2%
  • Bronchitis 2%
  • Abdominal pain 2%
More Flonase side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
How it works
FlonaseBenadryl
Flonase (Fluticasone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.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
FlonaseBenadryl
Prescription or OTC
Prescription or OTC
Available as
FlonaseBenadryl
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for
FlonaseBenadryl
Risk factors for serious side effects
FlonaseBenadryl
  • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
  • Using other inhaled steroids with Flonase (Fluticasone)
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
    • Long-term use
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
    • Long-term use
    Detailed Flonase (Fluticasone) risks & warnings »
    • 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

    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.

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    Alcohol
    FlonaseBenadryl
    No alcohol related info.
    • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
    Pain
    FlonaseBenadryl
    • Long-term use of Flonase (Fluticasone) can increase your chances of getting thrush in the nose and throat. Your doctor will check your nose and throat if you have to be on this medication for a long time. Also, tell your doctor if you notice pain in the nose and throat with redness and white patches.
    No pain related info.
    Sleep
    FlonaseBenadryl
    No sleep related info.
    • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
    • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
    Upsides and benefits
    FlonaseBenadryl
    • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
    • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
    • Can be used as needed to help control symptoms in people age 13 years or older.
    • Available as a generic medication.
    • 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
    FlonaseBenadryl
    • Flonase (Fluticasone) doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
    • Needs to be primed (pressed/pumped until a fine spray appears) up to six times prior to using it for the first time, or if you haven't used it in 2 weeks.
    • Since the medicine in Flonase (Fluticasone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
    • 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
    FlonaseBenadryl
    • It can take several days for Flonase (Fluticasone) to start working fully.
    • Don't take more of it than was prescribed for you.
    • Blow your nose before using Flonase (Fluticasone).
    • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
    • Can also cause a headache, sore throat, or nosebleeds.
    • 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 FlonaseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Flonase (Fluticasone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it