What parents need to know about new ‘Benadryl Challenge’ on TikTok

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Teens, across the country, are accepting the Benadryl Challenge on TikTok which Dr. Stokes Peebles, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, warns could have deadly results.

“We’re certainly seeing that today, because there was a girl who died in the Midwest from taking too much Benadryl as part of this TikTok challenge.” Dr. Peebles referring to the recent news that a 15-year-old Oklahoma City girl died from the challenge last week.

In this new game, teens encourage each other to take as much allergy medicine as needed to hallucinate. Some teens report taking a dozen, or more, pills before “tripping out”.  

“Hallucinations can certainly occur from a Benadryl overdose on the way to having coma,” said Dr. Peebles.

He also warns there’s a very fine line between gaining that desired effect and devastating results. “This is not something that somebody should want to have happen to them, because it’s not pleasant. And, they can die or can have long-lasting side effects.”

Side effects caused by overuse of the medication include heart attack, seizure, and stroke, leading to permanent brain damage. Teens told they will experience a quick high, won’t find it in this challenge. “It causes sedation,” Peebles explained, “It doesn’t cause a high. So, that’s a fallacy right off the bat.”

It’s also important for teens to realize, overdosing on Benadryl requires immediate medical attention. “If you come across this, that someone has taken to much Benadryl, absolutely call 911 because this is not something you can deal with at home.”

Dr. Peebles said, for parents to speak to their kids about the dangers. It’s also a reminder to teens that if a challenge seems risky, it probably is. “Things you read on the internet, you should not do.”

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