FDA issues 'Benadryl TikTok Challenge' warning after girl, 15, dies from overdose and other teens hospitalized
THE FDA issued a warning on Thursday about serious health issues linked to taking high doses of Benadryl after a teen girl died doing a TikTok "Benadryl Challenge."
Too much Benadryl can lead to severe health issues like heart problems, seizures, coma and even death, the warning said.
The agency said they felt compelled to issue the warning because of reports of teens ending up in the hospital or dying after participating in the "Benadryl Challenge," where a person takes a high dose of the antihistamine in an attempt to hallucinate.
The agency urged TikTok to remove any videos where people are participating in the dangerous challenge.
"We also 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," the warning said.
Benadryl is a commonly prescribed drug to treat allergies and symptoms of the common cold.
The over-the-counter drug is generally considered safe when taken in normal doses — but it could cause severe health effects when taken in excessive amounts, medical experts warn.
In August, a teen girl from Oklahoma tragically died after taking part in the challenge.
Chloe Phillips, a 15-year-old sophomore at Blanchard High School, reportedly overdosed on antihistamines while attempting the challenge.
The teen's family expressed their heartache online, and urged other parents to be aware and vigilant about what their kids might be taking to go along with a fad like the Benadryl challenge.
It's unclear how much Benadryl the teen actually took, but Scott Schaeffer, director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, said that "the dose [that] can cause a hallucination is very close to the dose that can cause something potentially life-threatening."
"Large doses of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can cause seizures and, particularly, problems with the heart," he added.
"The heart tends to go out of rhythm and not pump blood effectively."
Shaeffer said the educators he works with spend a lot of time trying to help parents convince young people of the dangers of challenges like these.
In May, three teenagers living in Fort Worth, Texas were rushed to the hospital after taking large amounts of Benadryl for the challenge, the Cook Children’s Health Care System's Checkup Newsroom reports.
One of the teens, a 14-year-old girl, arrived at the hospital with a heart rate of 199 – significantly higher than the typical 60 to 100 beats per minute considered normal for her age group.
A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant that markets the Benadryl brand, previously condemned the challenge and expressed their concern about the health and safety of their costumers.
"The Benadryl TikTok trend is extremely concerning, dangerous and should be stopped immediately," the company said in a statement.
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