Compare Zyrtec D vs. Benadryl

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

Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine)

Prescription or OTC

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves congestion and allergy symptoms.

Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) relieves allergies and congestion without causing daytime sleepiness. It can keep you up at night if you take it too close to bedtime.

5.1/ 7 average rating with 927 reviewsforZyrtec D
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.

5.6/ 7 average rating with 294 reviewsforBenadryl
Upsides
  • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) causes less drowsiness than other medications like Benadryl.
  • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) in Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) is stronger than other decongestants. It can also help relieve congestion-related headaches and ear pressure.
  • The stimulant effects of Pseudoephedrine can give you some extra energy during the day.
  • Doesn't give you rebound congestion (worse congestion symptoms after you stop taking the medicine) like decongestant nose sprays can.
  • It's available without a prescription, unlike other strong allergy medicines.
  • 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
  • You can have more side effects when using combination pills than when using single-ingredient medications.
  • The antihistamine (Cetirizine) can cause more drowsiness than similar antihistamines, like Allegra D (which contains Fexofenadine) and Claritin D (which contains Loratadine).
  • The decongestant (Pseudoephedrine) can make your heart race or give you anxious or restless feelings.
  • You might not sleep as well due to Pseudoephedrine's effects and you can also have strange dreams while taking it.
  • Pseudoephedrine can raise your blood pressure, so don't take it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Although you don't need a prescription, you do need to show a photo ID to buy this from behind the pharmacy counter.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
No pricing information available
No pricing information available
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Reviews
927 
75%
think this treatment is worth it
43%
think this treatment works well
9%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine)?

Leave a review
294 
86%
think this treatment is worth it
59%
think this treatment works well
8%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Zyrtec D (Cetirizine / Pseudoephedrine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • High blood pressure

    History of high blood pressure

  • Heart problems

    History of heart problems

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Seizure

    History of seizure

  • Harm to fetus

    Women of childbearing age

  • Increased side effects

    Age 65 years or older

  • Driving impairment

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Overdosage

    Current kidney disease

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Overdose

    Using other drugs with the same ingredients

  • Increased side effects

    Age 65 years or older

  • Driving impairment

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Hyperactivity

    Children age 6 years and younger

  • Trouble urinating

    Enlarged prostate

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Vision changes

    Glaucoma

  • Breastfeeding

    Nursing mothers

See more detailed risks and warnings