Is Loratadine the same as Benadryl?

Loratadine and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) are two different medications belonging to the same group of drugs known as antihistamines. Antihistamines mainly work to block the action of histamine produced by the cells in the body in response to a foreign substance such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. However, there are times when histamines are released mistakenly in response to pretty harmless substances such as dust or pollen, leading to an allergic reaction (symptoms of allergic reactions include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes or nose or eczema). This is where Loratadine and Benadryl come in handy.

Loratadine and Benadryl are used for the same purpose, which is to relieve symptoms of allergy. However, they are classified differently. Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine while Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine. The main difference between these two is that first-generation antihistamines usually cause drowsiness or sleepiness. That is why second-generation antihistamines are mostly recommended to those who work or need to stay awake. Another difference between these products is that Loratadine can be taken once a day while Benadryl must be taken multiple times. This is because Loratadine stays in the body for a longer duration compared to Benadryl.

While Loratadine is mostly used to treat allergic symptoms, Diphenhydramine has sedation properties, therefore it can be used for treating cough, insomnia (difficulty in falling asleep), motion sickness and also abnormal movement disorders such as the one seen in Parkinsonian syndrome, in addition to treating allergy symptoms.

What are the side effects of Loratadine and Benadryl?

Although Loratadine and Benadryl are two different drugs, they work in similar ways and have similar side effects profiles.

Some common side effects seen with these drugs are :

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth, nose or throat
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Drowsiness (mostly Benadryl)
  • Fatigue

If your symptoms persist or worsen after treatment, please seek medical help immediately.

These drugs work primarily to treat allergic symptoms, but they cannot be used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), which requires immediate medical attention.

What is the dosage of Loratadine and Benadryl?

Both of these drugs come in either tablet or syrup forms. The recommended dosage for Loratidine is a single 10mg tablet/day or 5 mg tablet taken twice a day. Dosage for Benadryl is 25/50mg tablet every 4-6 hours. These drugs should only be used for adults and children above the age of 2 years. However, you should always follow the directions given by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are buying this medication over the counter, make sure to read the recommended dosage provided in the leaflet.

This product should not be taken by anyone who has a history of allergy towards any of the excipients in these drugs. Precautions should also be taken in case of hepatic and renal impairment to those taking Loratadine. Both of these drugs are relatively safe in pregnancy and lactation but should only be used when your doctor thinks it’s necessary. In case you have been taking other medications, it is best to consult a doctor before taking these drugs as some drug interactions may interfere with the actions of these drugs or reduce their efficacy.

Bottom line is, Loratadine and Benadryl are used for similar purposes despite being 2 different drugs. There are some slight variations between these 2 drugs regarding their dosage and more importantly, the drowsiness effect as seen in Benadryl and rarely Loratadine. These drugs are generally safe to use, but as with any medication, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking them.