Data shows teens encouraging each other to ‘Benadryl Challenge’. We see critically ill diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) poisoning quite frequently, including coma, seizures, cardiac toxicity, profound temperature elevations and death.
PHOENIX (September 3, 2020) – The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center is warning the community about a potentially fatal challenge on a popular social media platform. The “Benadryl Challenge,” one of the latest trending fads on TikTok, is putting teen lives in danger. One fatality has already been reported in Oklahoma related to this challenge.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) is an antihistamine commonly used to treat seasonal allergies or allergic reactions. Using more than minimal therapeutic and recommended doses produces toxic and potentially life-threatening effects. Teens are challenging each other to take enough of this medication to hallucinate. Unfortunately, the amount needed to produce hallucinations can be fatal.
“We see critically ill diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) poisoning quite frequently, including coma, seizures, cardiac toxicity, profound temperature elevations and death,” said Dr. Steven Curry, director of the Department of Medical Toxicology at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. Since Jan. 1, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has received 380 exposure calls related to intentional ingestion of antihistamines. Nearly all required hospitalization in a critical care unit.
“We urge parents to be aware of these dangerous challenges on social media platforms, and to talk to your children about the risks of participating or encouraging other to participate,” warned Maureen Roland, RN, managing director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.
If you or a loved one believe there has been an exposure to any poison, medication or chemical, please call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. The poison centers can assist in evaluating and managing the situation, and help determine if it is necessary to seek additional medical attention.
About Banner Poison and Drug Information Center
The Poison and Drug Information Center at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, provides free and confidential poison and drug information to the public and health care professionals. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center is one of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call 1-800-222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.
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