Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Benadryl

(Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
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Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep.

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Our bottom line

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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Upsides

  • 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.
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Downsides

  • 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.

What to expect when you take Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) for Allergies

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Side effect rates for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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These are side effects of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Using other drugs with the same ingredients

    There are a variety of over-the-counter medications with the same ingredients as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine). It's not safe to use more than one medication containing diphenhydramine (the ingredient in Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)) at the same time. Read package labels carefully to make sure you take the right dose of these medications.

Common concerns from people taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

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Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
Sleep
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you more tired than Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
  • Be cautious it can cause drowsiness
  • Not everyone experiences drowsiness with a dosage of 25 mg (one pill). 50 mg will likely have most people heading for a pillow after 30 minutes. For a very few, it will have the opposite effect causing them to experience anxiety.
  • This will make me very drowsy so I only take it when I have no plans to go outside or drive.