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Emergency Physicians Warn Against Deadly “Benadryl Challenge” Popular Amongst Teens

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Emergency physicians are warning parents and teenagers against participating in the “Benadryl Challenge,” a viral social media trend in which individuals voluntarily overdose on allergy medicine, which has resulted in an influx of young people ending up in the emergency department and, in some cases, dying.

“Parents must stay vigilant about medication safety and everyone, particularly teenagers, should be aware that even over-the-counter medications have some risk, especially if they are not taken as directed,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “Taking more than the recommended amount of any medication is dangerous and can result in serious medical emergencies or death.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating reports and conducting a review to determine if additional cases have been reported after the “Benadryl Challenge” became popular among adolescents on the social media platform, TikTok. The makers of Benadryl has also issued a warning to stop this trend immediately.

The FDA and ACEP encourage parents to store prescription and over-the-counter medication out of sight and out of reach of reach from children. Emergency physicians urge everyone to always use medication as directed on the label. If somebody has misused or abused medication and is unconscious, having trouble breathing, has a seizure, hallucinates, or collapses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Help is also available through the toll-free Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.  

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit and

Contact: Steve Arnoff | | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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