A Doctor's Warning To Parents About The Benadryl TikTok Trend - Exclusive

Videos of the Benadryl TikTok challenge have been circulating the social media platform for a few years now. Experts began addressing its dangers back in 2020 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release warning following cases of adolescent death and hospitalization in relation to the viral trend. Most recently, a teenage boy died from a Benadryl overdose this month after attempting the online challenge by taking between 12 and 14 pills, reportsĀ ABC 6.

"Parents need to be aware that the Benadryl challenge is becoming increasingly popular, particularly with teenagers who are using Benadryl at dangerous dosages to become high and in some instances hallucinate for entertainment purposes," Dr. Robert S. Miller Jr., internal medicine specialist with VISTA Staffing Solutions, told Health Digest in an exclusive interview.

"Benadryl contains diphenhydramine as its active ingredient and is commonly used for the management of cold and allergy symptoms," Dr. Miller explains. "When taken in excessive amounts, Benadryl over-stimulates multiple organ systems resulting in its hallucinogenic, cardiovascular, and psychiatric side effects." Dr. Miller goes on to say how taking large amounts of Benadryl can have serious consequences for our health. "In high dosages, ingesting Benadryl requires medical attention immediately to monitor for side effects which may include abnormal heart rhythms, blurry vision, seizures, confusion, and severe organ damage in worse-case scenarios."

The importance of proper storage and raising awareness

In light of these occurrences, experts have offered their advice to caregivers, as well as medical professionals, to reduce the risk for Benadryl misuse. Dr. Miller tells us exclusively that his first tip is to store the medication properly. "Benadryl should be stored preferably in a locked container in a location of the home not readily accessible to younger individuals who may obtain the medication for nefarious purposes," he states. "Although this can be difficult in some instances, relying on medication bottle safety features is not enough to ensure that the medication is not obtained by teens and used for the wrong purposes."

Additionally, Dr. Miller emphasizes the importance of education and awareness. "It's important for parents, teenagers, and even younger children to be aware that oftentimes viral videos of challenges posted online are void of warnings and education regarding how truly dangerous these activities are," he says. "In many instances these videos highlight the experiment without offering context about how real and dangerous these medications can be when used improperly." As a result, Dr. Miller says that audiences get the wrong idea by believing there is no risk in using such medications. "The videos and the people participating in them are indirectly promoting ingestion as harmless, but that is misleading and could have very real and dire consequences."