Difference Between Zyrtec and Benadryl

Some people get viral and infections easily. These may not be lethal for the health in general, but surely can be very irritating for daily activities. And nowadays these viral are traveling is a high speed. In some cases, if not treated properly at the right time, they can be pretty serious in the future. And to treat them does not always require seeing the doctor. Sometimes they can also be treated at home by taking the medicines.

These medicines can be found easily at any medical store. Examples of such medicines are Zyrtec and Benadryl. Both of them serve a similar purpose; therefore, it is important to understand the difference between using them whenever they are required.

Zyrtec vs Benadryl

The main difference between Zyrtec and Benadryl is that both of them are different in terms of their generic name and generation antihistamine. Zyrtec is known as Cetirizine Hydrochloride as its generic name and is a second-generation antihistamine, whereas the generic name of Benadryl is Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride and is the first-generation antihistamine. Zyrtec can be more allergic to some people, while Benadryl is comparatively less. But Benadryl has some more serious side effects of overdosing than the Zyrtec.

Zyrtec and Benadryl

Zyrtec is a medicine taken for problems such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, watery eyes, etc. in simple terms, they are used for treating the common cold, headache, pain in the body, chronic urticaria (hives). This medicine can be highly allergic to some people. And some people should take proper precautions while or before taking this medicine. These can be taken for months, and the dosage varies based on their age.

Benadryl is a liquid medicine or cough syrup used mainly for a single or sole purpose of treating the cough. But in some cases, it may also be used for treating skin rash, itchiness, allergic symptoms, etc. these medicines should not be overdosed, as they can lead to oversleeping and other serious problems. And in case of any symptoms of overdosing doctor should be consulted.

Comparison Table Between Zyrtec and Benadryl

Parameters of ComparisonZyrtecBenadryl
Generic NameCetirizine hydrochlorideDiphenhydramine hydrochloride
AllergicMoreComparatively less
Generation antihistamine SecondFirst
Side effectsFewerMore

What is Zyrtec?

It is used for reducing the effects of the natural chemical histamine. Before using this medicine, the doctor should be consulted as some of its ingredients can be allergic by many people. It can also cause hallucinations and thinking problems. All pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid this medication.

Precautions that should be taken before taking this medicine:

  • People allergic to cetirizine or levocetirizine should avoid this medicine.
  • People with some serious medical condition should also consult a doctor before.

How to take this medicine:

  • It should be taken by the month.
  • It should be taken as prescribed on the label.
  • Older people should take advice from doctors before or just lower down the dose.
  • It can be taken with or without food.
  • The tablet should be allowed to dissolve in the mouth and not be swallowed as a whole. The help of water or some liquid can also be taken to help the dissolving process.

In case you skip the dose, immediately the next dose should be taken as soon as the realization is made, but overdose should be avoided at any cost, and following are some symptoms of overdose:

  • Vision Problems.
  • Feeling Restless.
  • Agitation.
  • Stomach Pain.
  • Trouble Walking.

Other than these, if some different or unusual symptoms are noticed, immediate professional should be taken.

What is Benadryl?

It is syrup used for curing the cough. It can be taken with or without intaking food before. The dosage of this syrup depends upon the condition. And it should be taken either till the problem is cured or till the doctor has suggested. As stopping earlier might cause the problem to come back. Some misuse this medicine to make the child or baby sleep which is not right. Performing heavy activities should be avoided after consuming the syrup. Alcohol consumption should also be avoided while taking Benadryl.

The doctor should be consulted if the consumer is having or suffering from any of the following conditions:

  • Blockage in the stomach or intestine.
  • Urination problem.
  • Any kidney or liver-related disease.
  • Any breathing diseases, for example, asthma.
  • Heart diseases.
  • And during pregnancy.

In case of overdosing immediately, a professional should be consulted. And side effects of it can be:

  • Difficulty in the urination process.
  • Dizziness.
  • Unknown movements of the tongue.
  • Constipation.
  • Or any other different symptoms.

Main Differences Between Zyrtec and Benadryl

  1. The major difference between both Zyrtec and Benadryl is that they are a different generation of antihistamine; Zyrtec is the second-generation antihistamine, whereas Benadryl is the first-generation antihistamine.
  2. Both of them have different generic names. The generic name of Zyrtec is Cetirizine Hydrochloride, whereas Benadryl is Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride.
  3. Although both of them can be allergic to people, if compared, Zyrtec is more allergic to people, it may be due to its components, etc., whereas Benadryl is relatively less allergic.
  4. Despite being more allergic, there are fewer side effects of Zyrtec to the people, for example, Vision Problems, and feeling restless, etc., whereas Benadryl has more side effects, as it can cause excess and immediate sleep, unknown movement of the tongue, constant dizziness, etc. a person may be able to perform heavy activities after consuming Zyrtec, but he won’t be able to do it after consuming Benadryl.
  5. They have several similar symptoms and side effects, but one side effect of Zyrtec is absent in Benadryl in Nausea. A person might feel nausea or feeling of vomiting, but this side effect is not seen after consuming Benadryl.


Hence, these can be used as per requirement after understanding the above differences and all information. It is fine to avoid taking any medications, but if the condition is even slightly serious or irritating, then these or similar medicines should be taken to reduce the symptoms and problems. And in case these symptoms are not lightened or treated after taking these medicines for two or three days, then professional help should be taken as then it might be some serious issue.

Otherwise also, in case if a person has been allergic to some medicines in the past, they should consult a doctor whether they can take them or not. Other medicines that can be helpful in similar situations are paracetamol, D’Cold Total, etc.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674900795546
  2. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001267/abstract
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674911014084
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00003495-200565030-00004
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1081120610615669
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