Compare Claritin vs. Benadryl

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

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Claritin (loratadine)

Prescription or OTC

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Prescription or OTC
Treats allergies.

Claritin (loratadine) is a once-daily medicine for allergies that won't make you as sleepy as other medicines that work like it.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 1517 reviewsforClaritin
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
Upsides
  • It doesn't cause daytime drowsiness unlike other antihistamines.
  • Side-effects are mild, if any at all.
  • Available over-the-counter without a prescription.
  • It provides quick relief of allergy symptoms for both children and adults.
  • It doesn't interfere with how a lot of other medicines work.
  • 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
  • It's not the best choice if you have persistent, daily allergy symptoms.
  • It's not recommended for children less than 2 years old.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
No pricing information available
No pricing information available
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Reviews
1517 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
38%
saiditworked well
6%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Claritin (loratadine)?

Leave a review
294 reviews so far
86%
saidit'sworth it
59%
saiditworked well
8%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
19possible side effects
  • Headache
    12%
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Nervousness or anxiety
    4%
  • Wheezing
    4%
  • Tiredness
    4%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Diarrhea
    3%
  • Mouth or tongue irritation
    3%
  • Dry mouth
    3%
  • Hyperactive behavior
    3%
  • Ear pain
    3%
  • Bloody nose
    3%
  • Sore throat
    3%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    3%
  • Abdominal pain
    2%
  • Pink eye
    2%
  • Lung infections
    2%
  • Difficulty speaking
    2%
  • Feeling uneasy or uncomfortable
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Difficulty concentrating
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Excess phenylalanine
    • History of phenylketonuria (PKU)
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
    • 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