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By Elena Dang, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

Curist delivers FDA-approved allergy medicines to your door at half the price of traditional brands. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.

Xyzal and Benadryl: Allergy Treatment Options

You may have wondered if there’s any difference between allergy products like Xyzal (levocetirizine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Do they work the same? Let’s look at the similarities and differences between these two popular oral antihistamine choices!

Both Xyzal (levocetirizine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) are oral antihistamines that help alleviate allergy symptoms. They both work by blocking histamines which are naturally released when your body detects an allergen such as pollen, pet dander, ragweed or dust. These medications can help prevent allergy symptoms like sneezing, running noseitchy nose, or  skin rashes.  

What is Benadryl? 

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an effective first generation oral antihistamine that can help with allergy symptoms, but may cause drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, or constipation. Generally, taking Benadryl at night will help alleviate allergy symptoms and help you fall asleep. During the day, you will need to take it every 4-6 hours and be careful when driving or getting up from beds or chairs. 

What is Xyzal? 

Xyzal (levocetirizine) is a third generation oral antihistamine, often called a “non-drowsy” antihistamine because it usually causes less drowsiness than first generation antihistamines like Benadryl. Xyzal works quickly, oftentimes within one hour of taking it once each evening can help prevent allergy symptoms for the next 24 hours.   

What is the Difference Between Xyzal and Benadryl? (Levocetirizine vs Diphenhydramine)

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) commonly causes drowsiness and fatigue so you can use this to help you fall asleep and alleviate allergy symptoms at night. The effects of Benadryl only last 4-6 hours. Due to additional side effects, it is recommended to avoid Benadryl in the elderly because of their risk of falling, in kids less than 6 years old as it can cause hyperactivity, and in pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

Xyzal (levocetirizine) generally causes significantly less drowsiness than first generation antihistamines such as Benadryl, but it can still cause some drowsiness, which is why you should take Xyzal in the evening to prevent allergy symptoms the next day. The first time you try Xyzal, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how the drug affects you. Xyzal is also longer-acting than Benadryl, lasting 24 hours compared to 4-6 hours.

Does Xyzal Make You Drowsy Like Benadryl?

No, Xyzal does not make you drowsy like Benadryl. That said, Xyzal can cause drowsiness in some people, so it is important to see how the medication affects you. Xyzal likely wouldn’t cause as severe drowsiness as Benadryl, but each person’s response to the medication is different.

Why Xyzal May Be Better than Benadryl?

Generally, there are several benefits of choosing a newer oral antihistamine like Xyzal over Benadryl:

  • Xyzal generally causes less drowsiness than Benadryl 
  • Xyzal does not cause as much dry mouth and constipation as Benadryl
  • Xyzal tends to last longer than Benadryl, so you’ll only have to use it once or twice each day rather than every 4-6 hours 

Which Works Better for Hives: Xyzal or Benadryl?

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is often better at relieving the itching from hives, however it is important to remember that it will cause drowsiness. It may be more helpful  to use a topical Benadryl product that goes on the skin to treat poison ivy, hives, bee stings, itchy skin or rash. Please seek immediate medical attention if the hives worsen with treatment or time.

Research suggests that Xyzal is a great option for improving allergy symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, or itchy throat specifically caused by hay fever or other respiratory allergens. Xyzal works better taken ahead of time to prevent hives and rashes, but in mild cases, Xyzal can help with itchy skin from hives with less drowsiness than Benadryl. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you have trouble finding a medication that works well for your allergy symptoms.

Can I Take Xyzal and Benadryl Together at the Same Time?

No, you should not use Xyzal and Benadryl together. It is not advisable to take multiple different oral antihistamine medications together at the same time as it can increase side effects like drowsiness and difficulty concentrating. Instead, try one oral antihistamine at a time using the package instructions and see which one works better for your symptoms. Do not “double-up” on a dose or use more medication sooner than recommended on the package information. 

Where Can I Buy Xyzal and Benadryl Online?  

Local pharmacies and stores online like Curist can provide Xyzal (levocetirizine) and do not need a prescription. Benadryl can also be purchased without a prescription over-the-counter at your local grocery store or pharmacy. 


At Curist, we develop FDA-approved equivalents to big brands in order to provide the same medicine relief but at half the price of the brands. Curist products are sold online and shipped directly to your door, and we carry Xyzal (levocetirizine) for your convenience.

Curist Allergy Relief Products


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Curist Allergy Relief Products

This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.