Hydroxyzine vs Benadryl – Uses (Itching) & Differences

What are the uses and differences between Hydroxyzine and Benadryl?


It is the generic name (brand names – Atarax, Vistaril) of an antihistamine drug that works by blocking a particular natural substance that the human body produces during an allergic reaction.


It is typically used to:

  • induce sedation prior to or after anesthesia;
  • treat tension and anxiety;
  • relieve itching (pruritus) caused by various allergic conditions;
  • as part of the treatment of alcoholism;
  • to control vomiting and nausea (except in pregnancy).


This medication is taken up to 4 times per day, without or with food. It comes in capsule, tablet, intramuscular injectable, and syrup forms.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:benadryl vs hydroxyzine for itching

  • thickening or drying of oral and other respiratory secretions;
  • stomach distress;
  • disturbed coordination;
  • dizziness;
  • sleepiness;
  • tiredness;
  • sedation.

Rare side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • confusion;
  • seizure;
  • dry mouth;
  • loss of appetite;
  • nervousness;
  • tremor;
  • double vision;
  • blurred vision;
  • irritability.

To make sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • slow heartbeats;
  • blockage in your intestines or stomach;
  • if you have had a heart attack;
  • an electrolyte imbalance;
  • personal history of long QT syndrome (a disorder of the heart’s conduction system);
  • heart disease;
  • glaucoma;
  • bladder obstruction.

It is not recommended to use this medication if you are breastfeeding a baby since small amounts of it may pass into the breast milk and may negatively affect your baby. Moreover, according to studies, the use of this medication during the first months of pregnancy may cause birth defects.

Drug Interactionshydroxyzine vs benadryl

This medication may negatively interact with other nutritional supplements, over-the-counter, and prescription medicines, therefore, tell your healthcare provider about the medicines you are taking or plan to take, including:

  • sleeping pills, sedatives, and tranquilizers;
  • drugs for seizures;
  • pentamidine (Pentam, Nebupent);
  • ondansetron (Zuplenz, Zofran);
  • drugs for pain;
  • moxifloxacin (Avelox);
  • methadone (Methadose, Dolophine);
  • meperidine (Demerol);
  • drugs for mental illness, like –  clozapine (Fazaclo ODT, Clozaril, Versacloz), chlorpromazine (marketed under the trade names Largactil and Thorazine), quetiapine (Seroquel), iloperidone (Fanapt), and ziprasidone (Geodon);
  • gatifloxacin (an antibiotic of the fourth-generation fluoroquinolone family);
  • erythromycin (Ery-Tab, Eryc, PCE);
  • droperidol (Inapsine);
  • clarithromycin (Biaxin, Prevpac);
  • barbiturates (a drug which acts as a central nervous system depressant);
  • drugs for arrhythmias (a group of conditions in which the heartbeat is irregular, too slow, or too fast), like – procainamide, amiodarone (Nexterone, Cordarone, Pacerone), sotalol (Sorine, Betapace, Sotylize), and quinidine (Nuedexta);
  • drugs for anxiety;
  • antidepressants, like – fluoxetine (Sarafem, Prozac, Selfemra) and citalopram (Celexa).


It is the trade name of a drug called diphenhydramine, a first-generation antihistamine that is used to relieve symptoms of allergy, the common cold, and hay fever (a type of inflammation in the nose that happens when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air). These symptoms include itching, rash, itchy eyes, watery eyes, runny nose, cough, and sneezing.

Useshydroxyzine compared to benadryl

This medication is typically used to treat a variety of conditions, such as – itchiness, allergic symptoms, motion sickness, and insomnia (sleep problems).


The usual recommended dose for children (over 20 lbs.) is 12.5 to 25mg four times per day. The usual recommended dose for adults is 50 mg four times per day.

Note – the maximum daily dose should not exceed 300 mg.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Diphenhydramine

Side effects may include:

  • erectile dysfunction;
  • painful urination;
  • difficulty urinating;
  • vision problems (particularly blurred vision);
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth;
  • nervousness;
  • excitement (particularly in children);
  • muscle weakness;
  • headaches;
  • increased chest congestion;
  • constipation;
  • loss of appetite;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • drowsiness.

Drinking alcohol while taking this medication increases the risk of side effects.difference between hydroxyzine and benadryl

Moreover, do not use this drug with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (particularly if taken within the last 14 days) since a dangerous reaction may occur. Also, this medication may negatively interfere with:

  • opioid analgesics used to treat pain;
  • medicines used to relieve anxiety;
  • medicines for sleep;
  • drugs used to help you relax;
  • drugs used to prevent migraines;
  • drugs used to treat heart conditions or hypertension;
  • medicines used in Parkinson’s disease (the most frequent neurologic disorder, affecting around 1 percent of seniors);
  • drugs used to relieve stomach spasms or cramps;
  • drugs with potent anticholinergic effects (drugs that block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine), including some travel sickness drugs;
  • beta-blockers (metoprolol).

Hydroxyzine vs Benadryl – Differences

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication that is used to treat itching caused by allergies. This medication works by blocking the actions of one of the body’s natural chemicals, called histamine. The absorption of this antihistamine through the gastrointestinal tract occurs in 15 to 30 minutes, with peak levels at 2 hours.

Benadryl (active ingredient – diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine medication that is used for the temporary relief of motion sickness and allergy symptoms and in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. This medication works by blocking the action of histamine that causes allergic symptoms.

Natural Ways To Relieve Itchy Skin

#1 Reduce Your Stress Levelsmeditation

Stress can be an important trigger for autoimmune reactions, plus it can make itching considerably worse. To reduce your stress, be sure to get sufficient sleep every night (aim for seven hours of sleep). Other effective methods to reduce stress levels include – yoga, Tai Chi, mindfulness meditation, getting support from family and friends, and spending time in nature, especially during the day (to boost your vitamin D levels).

#2 Essential Oils

There are many essential oils with potent anti-inflammatory attributes which have the capacity to offer relief to itchy skin. These essential oils include – thyme, rosemary, peppermint, nettle, neem, lavender, geranium, clove, chamomile, calendula, and bay leaf.

#3 Basil

It contains anti-itch natural compounds called thymol and camphor. To use it, just rub the basil leaf onto the skin for 10 minutes.

#4 Nutrition

The first step is to reduce or completely avoid foods that contain allergens, like – gluten, dairy, shellfish, peanuts, and eggs.

Then, start incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet, like blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, radish, carrots, sweet potatoes, wild rice, garlic, red onions, quinoa, oats, oat bran, turnips, spinach, kale, red kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, papaya, pineapples, apples, mangoes, dragon-fruit, pears, red grapes, flax seeds, broccoli, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, zucchini, black beans, and olives.


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