Compare Benadryl vs. Sonata

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

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Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC

Sonata (zaleplon)

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
Helps you fall sleep.

Sonata (zaleplon) aids in falling asleep, but it's not as good with helping you stay asleep or with waking up in the middle of the night.

2.9/ 5 average rating with 175 reviewsforSonata
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.
  • Effectively helps people fall asleep faster.
  • Doesn't last as long in the body like some other sleep medicines, so it may cause less side effects the next morning.
  • Generic is available, so it's affordable.
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.
  • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming and hasn't been shown to be effective for chronic insomnia.
  • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
  • Not recommended if you can't sleep at least 7-8 hours a night.
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
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
175 reviews so far
42%
saidit'sworth it
23%
saiditworked well
27%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Sonata (zaleplon)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
18possible side effects
  • Headache
    42%
  • Dizziness
    9%
  • Nausea
    8%
  • Lack of energy
    7%
  • Abdominal pain
    6%
  • Sleepiness
    6%
  • Memory problems
    4%
  • Menstrual cramps
    4%
  • Burning/prickling sensation
    3%
  • Eye pain
    3%
  • Malaise
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Feelings of detachment
    2%
  • Decreased touch sensations
    2%
  • Tremor
    2%
  • Abnormal vision
    2%
  • Increased sensitivity to sound
    2%
  • Smell disorder
    2%
See more detailed side effects
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
  • Dependence and withdrawal
    • Continuous use of Sonata (zaleplon) for 2 weeks or more
  • Hangover feeling the next day
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medications that make you less alert
    • Less than 7 hours of sleep
  • CNS depressants and abnormal thoughts
    • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Performing activities while asleep
    • Taking Sonata (zaleplon) with alcohol or drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breastfeeding
See more detailed risks and warnings