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Benadryl for Allergy Symptoms

November 27, 2020 2 min read

Benadryl for Allergy Symptoms


Pharmacies mostly recommend Benadryl for common allergy symptoms like:

The key to managing allergic symptoms is, of course, avoiding exposure to your triggers. This might mean keeping an eye on the daily pollen forecast or air pollution data. You may also use an air purifier to clean allergens from indoor air.

What is Benadryl?

Pharmacies mostly recommend Benadryl for allergy symptoms. It is the trade name for a range of products containing either acrivastine or cetirizine - which are antihistamine drugs used to treat allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, sore eyes, rashes and sneezing.

How does Benadryl work?

Acrivastine and cetirizine are second-generation ('non-drowsy') antihistamines. Histamine is a chemical produced by the immune system in response to an allergen. It enters cells via a receptor on the cell surface called the H1 receptor, thereby triggering allergy symptoms once inside the cell. An antihistamine blocks the H1 receptor, so histamine cannot do its job and the symptoms are prevented.

How effective is Benadryl?

The use of Benadryl for allergy symptoms is certainly useful in its effectiveness, as all antihistamines are at least reasonably effective in relieving allergy symptoms. The acrivastine Benadryl is rapid-acting and it stops symptoms within minutes; whereas the cetirizine Benadryl is a once a day tablet. The older, first-generation antihistamines have the drawback that they may cause drowsiness (indeed, they are sometimes prescribed for insomnia). This makes them risky for people who drive or operate heavy machinery, or even who need to be alert for an important meeting or exam. Benadryl is far less likely to have this side effect.

What else should I know about Benadryl?

Benadryl for allergy symptoms can be used via tablets, which can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy. As with all medication, ‘always read the label’ as Benadryl may have side effects and/or interact with other medication you are taking. If you have more questions about taking Benadryl, check with your pharmacist.

At a glance…

Name of drug Ventolin





(acrivastine or cetirirzine)









Purpose Treating asthma symptoms Relieving sneezing, runny nose, itching, sore eyes Relieving sneezing, runny nose, sore eyes Relieving blocked noses
How it works Relaxes airway muscles Antihistamine Antihistamine Narrows blood vessels in the nose
Format Inhaler Tablet Tablet Tablets, nasal spray
Availability Prescription only Over the counter Over the counter Over the counter


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