Teens who overdosed on Benadryl got the idea after watching online videos on a popular social media platform, Texas officials say.
Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth is warning parents of a “dangerous” trend after it treated three teenagers who took too much allergy medicine in May, according to a news release published Tuesday.
“Each of these patients said they got the idea from videos on TikTok that claimed users could get high and hallucinate if they took a dozen or more of the allergy pills,” the release said.
TikTok, a social media platform for short videos, has become popular among younger people. The hospital system says parents may not know some of its posts can pose dangers.
The company in an email to McClatchy News said some content urging people to take too many pills was taken down in May after violating its community guidelines. It hasn’t seen the post come back, according to the email.
TikTok in its guidelines says: “Offering a safe and supportive environment is our top priority. We believe that feeling safe is essential to helping people feel comfortable with expressing themselves openly and creatively.”
Diphenhydramine, the common name for Benadryl, is an antihistamine used to treat runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
But taking too much of the drug can lead to an irregular heart rate, hallucinations, seizures and trouble urinating, Amber Jewison of Cook Children’s Medical Center said in the news release.
In one case, a girl was treated at the hospital after she took 14 allergy pills, impacting her heart rate and ability to form sentences, according to information the family shared with officials.
“What struck me was that we had three teens come in for the same thing in one week,” Jewison, a hospitalist nurse practitioner, said in the release. “None of these patients were trying to harm themselves. They all said they saw videos on TikTok and were curious to try it.”
The hospital visits follow another risky trend that was recently shared on TikTok.
In the #nutmegchallenge, teenagers ingested the spice to get high, McClatchy News reported in April. Many regretted taking in too much nutmeg, which experts say can lead to hallucinations and nausea.
Anyone who overdoses on Benadryl should contact poison control experts at 800-222-1222 or visit poisonhelp.org/help, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911,” officials say.