FDA issues a warning against Benadryl TikTok challenge

pharmafile | September 28, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing Benadryl, FDA, TikTok 

The FDA has released a warning following cases of teens filming themselves overdosing on the antihistamine Benadryl and uploading the videos to social media site TikTok. 

One 15-year-old girl from Oklahoma died on 21 August, although it remains unclear how many Benadryl tablets she had taken. In May, three teenagers from Texas were also rushed to hospital after taking large amounts of the drug for the challenge. All three recovered, but one of the teens had a heart rate of 199, as overdosing on the drug can cause problems with the heart.

The FDA posted a warning to its website stating that the medicine can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma or even death when taken in high doses. They also said: “Consumers, parents, and caregivers should store diphenhydramine and all other OTC and prescription medicines up and away and out of children’s reach and sight. FDA recommends you lock up medicines to prevent accidental poisonings by children and misuse by teens, especially when they are home more often due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may be more likely to experiment.”

They added that: “We have contacted TikTok and strongly urged them to remove the videos from their platform and to be vigilant to remove additional videos that may be posted.”

Benadryl blocks histamine in the body, which causes allergic symptoms, and is used to treat and relieve the symptoms of hay fever or respiratory allergies which include irritated eyes, sneezing and itching. The warning labels advise users not to take more than six doses in 24 hours, and they must be taken at least four hours apart.
Back in early September, Johnson & Johnson, which develops the drug, said that the challenge is extremely concerning and dangerous and the medicine can have potentially long-lasting consequences, adding: “We are working with TikTok and our partners to do what we can to stop this dangerous trend, including the removal of content across social platforms that showcase this behaviour.”

Conor Kavanagh

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