This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
[blog updated April 2019]
Is Benadryl the best option for treating allergic reactions?
Dr. Dean Mitchell, Board Certified Allergist in NYC, discusses why Benadryl is not the best antihistamine for allergic reactions.
For so many years people have thought that they should take Benadryl for allergic reactions. It’s common to get Benadryl in the ER when you are having an allergic reaction and when people go to the drugstore they think Benadryl is the best antihistamine to take to help alleviate their allergies.
Just because Benadryl is the oldest antihistamine doesn’t make it the best one to use when you have an allergic reaction. In fact, I rarely recommend using Benadryl for allergic reactions.
Benadryl vs Claritin
This is a non-sedating antihistamine which means it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier so it doesn’t make you tired. It also works quickly. In fact, today they have a Claritin ready-tab which you just put on your tongue and it works instantly. You can carry around these tabs in your wallet if you are prone to getting allergic reactions you can’t predict.
Benadryl vs Allegra
Allegra may be even stronger than Claritin. It lasts longer and also doesn’t affect your blood-brain barrier so you don’t get tired. This is one of my favorite antihistamines for patients who get chronic allergies.
Benadryl vs Zyrtec
This is based on an older antihistamine called hydroxyzine which is very powerful. Zyrtec is probably the most powerful of all the antihistamines listed but it can be sedating. People can get tired from it and as a result, it’s not always tolerated well. It is not always my first choice for allergic reactions. It can also last in your body for several weeks.
Best Option – Sublingual Allergy Drops
If you are really suffering from chronic allergies frequently and you want to get to the underlying problem and treat it more permanently something like sublingual allergy immunotherapy drops can really make a difference.
I suggest that you see your doctor and you ask them if you have been or can be allergy tested. Once you have been tested ask if they can arrange for you to get allergy drops so you can have lasting allergy protection.
– Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group in NYC & Long Island
Dr. Dean Mitchell M.D. is a Board-Certified Allergist and Immunologist based out of NYC. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine and completed training at the Robert Cooke Allergy Institute in New York City. He is also a Professor of Clinical Immunology at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and the author of Allergy and Asthma Solution: The Ultimate Program for Reversing Your Symptoms One Drop at a Time. Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. has also been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fitness Magazine, Dr. Oz and News NY 1. Dr. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Smartest Doctor in the Room – a combination of a lively, personal and in-depth interview with top healthcare specialists.