Compare Unisom vs. Benadryl

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

Unisom Sleeptabs
(doxylamine)

Benadryl
(diphenhydramine)

Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep. Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) can help you get a good night's sleep, but you can have a hard time waking up if you don't give yourself enough time to sleep.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.45Unisom
Reviews for Unisom
58%
of people (All ages) say Unisom is worth it
32%
say it works well
11%
say it's a big hassle
585 reviews
Have you used Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Benadryl
86%
-28% worse vs. Unisom
59%
-27% worse vs. Unisom
8%
-3% worse vs. Unisom
294 reviews
Have you used Benadryl (diphenhydramine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
UnisomBenadryl

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

FDA side effect reports for Unisom »

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

FDA side effect reports for Benadryl »
How it works
UnisomBenadryl
Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.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
UnisomBenadryl
Prescription or OTCPrescription or OTC
Available as
UnisomBenadryl
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for
UnisomBenadryl
Risk factors for serious side effects
UnisomBenadryl
  • Using other drugs with similar ingredients
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Children age 6 years or younger
Detailed Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine) 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
Detailed Benadryl (diphenhydramine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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

Alcohol
UnisomBenadryl
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) isn't recommended.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
Sleep
UnisomBenadryl
  • Not habit-forming like other sleep aids can be.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
Upsides and benefits
UnisomBenadryl
  • Works well to help you fall asleep and doesn't make you feel groggy the next morning.
  • Has fewer side effects than prescription sleep aid medications.
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • Not habit-forming like other sleep aids can be.
  • 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
UnisomBenadryl
  • Shouldn't be used unless you have a full night to sleep.
  • You shouldn't drive after taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) until you know how it affects you.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) isn't recommended.
  • It can increase the risk of falls, so elderly people shouldn't use Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine).
  • 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
UnisomBenadryl
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) 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.
  • Unisom comes in two different generic forms, doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs) and diphenhydramine (other Unisom products). Both are antihistamines that help you sleep.
  • 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 UnisomSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about BenadrylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Benadryl (diphenhydramine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it