ZzzQuil Vs. ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs: What Is The Difference?

In our latest question and answer, that pharmacist discusses the difference between ZzzQuil and ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs.


What is the difference between ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs and ZzzQuil?

Asked by Jeremy On May 21, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On May 21, 2018

Although they both share the ZzzQuil name, ZzzQuil and ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs have different active and inactive ingredients. ZzzQuil contains diphenhydramine, a commonly used over the counter sleep aid while ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs is marketed as "drug-free" and contains melatonin as the active ingredient.


ZzzQuil Products

The active ingredient in ZzzQuil is:

  • Diphenhydramine 50mg per 30mL dose

Diphenhydramine is a "first-generation" antihistamine and is a commonly used drug over the counter sleep aid products. In fact, diphenhydramine is also the active ingredient in Benadryl. While diphenhydramine typically lasts around 4 to 8 hours in most individuals, it can sometimes last longer, especially in the elderly and has been reported to cause next day sedation or "next day grogginess".

One dose of ZzzQuil (30mL) contains 50mg of diphenhydramine. ZzzQuil liquid also contains 10% alcohol by volume and has high fructose corn syrup.

ZzzQuil also comes in a Liquicap dosage form, with each Liquicap containing 25mg of diphenhydramine and no alcohol or sugar/high fructose corn syrup.

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs

ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs contains no pharmaceutical drug, but rather melatonin and a blend of botanical ingredients in a gummy dosage form. Each dose (2 gummies) contains:

  • Melatonin 2mg

In addition, each dose contains 100 mg of "Pure Zzzs Blend", consisting of:

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) flower extract
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) leaf extract
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) root extract
  • Lavender (Lavandula officinalis L. Chaix) ariel part extract

It should be noted as well that each dose of ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs gummies contains 5 grams of added sugar.

Melatonin, the active ingredient in ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs, is a hormone that helps regular our sleep-wake cycle. It has been studied extensively in individuals suffering from jet lag and in other conditions that cause sleep-wake cycle disturbances. Most studies report that melatonin is effective in many individuals, has few side effects when used as indicated and does not cause next day sedation. In fact, ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs is marketed as not causing "next day grogginess". 

Lastly, ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs is also available as a topical "soothing aromatherapy balm" that contains chamomile and lavender essential oils as well petrolatum, coconut oil, mineral oil and aloe vera leaf extract.

Summary Of Differences

  • ZzzQuil contains diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine.
  • ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs contains melatonin and a blend of herbal ingredients (e.g. valerian, lavender etc...)
  • ZzzQuil liquid contains 10% alcohol by volume and has high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. The ZzzQuil capsules do not contain alcohol or sugar (but does contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol).
  • ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs contains 5 grams of added sugar per dose (2 gummies).

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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