Compare Benadryl vs. Atarax

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

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Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC

Atarax (hydroxyzine)

Prescription only
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.

4.1/ 5 average rating with 294 reviewsforBenadryl
Relieves anxiety and itching.

Atarax (hydroxyzine) effectively relieves itching caused by an allergic reaction. It can also help alleviate anxiety, but isn't a first choice medicine and can make you very sleepy.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 34 reviewsforAtarax
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.
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine) helps relieve itching and/or anxiety while helping you to sleep.
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine) can be given in the muscles for faster relief at a doctor's office.
  • Children younger than 6 years of age can use Atarax (hydroxyzine), but no more than 50 mg total in a day.
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine) is available as a liquid or as a pill.
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.
  • Elderly people can have increased side effects.
  • Some generic pills contain lactose. If you have allergy to milk products, talk to your pharmacist to see if your pill contains lactose.
  • Not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Suspension
Price
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Reviews
294 reviews so far
86%
saidit'sworth it
59%
saiditworked well
8%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?

Leave a review
34 reviews so far
79%
saidit'sworth it
68%
saiditworked well
9%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Atarax (hydroxyzine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Atarax (hydroxyzine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Overdose
    • Using other drugs with the same ingredients
  • Increased side effects
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Hyperactivity
    • Children age 6 years and younger
  • Trouble urinating
    • Enlarged prostate
    • History of bladder problems
  • Vision changes
    • Glaucoma
  • Breastfeeding
    • Nursing mothers
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Impaired alertness
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Heart rhythm problems
    • Heart disease
    • Electrolyte imbalances
    • Taking antiarrhythmic medications
  • Severe skin reaction
    • Viral infections
    • Allergy to Zyrtec or hydroxyzine
  • Increased side effects in the elderly
    • Age 65 or older
    • Impaired kidney function
  • Pregnancy and nursing mothers
    • Pregnant women
    • Nursing mothers
See more detailed risks and warnings