Last week, a 15-year-old girl from Oklahoma City died from an overdose of Benadryl. According to KFOR. The tragedy came after the teen saw the “Benadryl Challenge’ on TikTok, which reportedly encourages users to take excessive amounts of Benadryl to induce a “high.”
Earlier this year, the same challenge made headlines after three teens also overdosed and were rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The hospital reported that the teens got the idea of taking Benadryl after watching a TikTok video.
In their blog, the hospital described the TikTok video the teens had watched. It claimed that users could get high and hallucinate if they took at least a dozen Benadryl pills. Benadryl, also called diphenhydramine, is a common allergy medicine and can be easily accessed.
Taking too much Benadryl may cause hallucinations and seizures. It can also cause a high heart rate and trigger arrhythmias.
The blog identified one of the teens as a 14-year-old named Rebekah. According to the hospital, she took 14 pills in the middle of the night on Memorial Day. Her mother, Katie, woke up after receiving a call from her own mother alerting her to Rebekah’s concerning condition.
“It was scary. She had fractured sentences, hallucinations. Her resting heart rate was 199,” Katie explained. “We rushed her to the local ER and they decided to transport her to Cook Children’s.”
Katie expressed that she couldn’t believe her daughter would follow the TikTok video.
“As a parent, you worry about drugs and you know the signs for drug use. I never thought about having to lock up my allergy medicine,” she said. “I just want other parents to know about this because it’s dangerous and I had no idea. And I’m angry. These people are essentially prescribing medication without a medical degree and our kids are trusting them.”
This isn’t the first time that TikTok videos suggested that common household items could give users hallucinations. Earlier this year, the “Nutmeg Challenge” encouraged people to ingest excessive amounts of nutmeg to get high. In that case, users documented experiencing anxiety on their “trips” despite never displaying anxiety symptoms before. Much like Benadryl, ingesting too much nutmeg can lead to hallucinations, dizziness, and nausea.
Benadryl’s makers, Johnson & Johnson told TooFab that they were working with TikTok to remove videos concerning the challenge. They called the trend “extremely concerning” and “dangerous.”
In both cases, neither hospital cited a specific TikTok video that inspired the teens to take Benadryl. As mentioned in Johnson & Johnson’s statement, videos encouraging Benadryl’s use have been removed from the app. Now, it seems that more TikTok users are using the “#Benadryl” tag to show the dangers of the challenge, like the TikTok below: