TikTok quickly removed the ‘Benadryl Challenge’ after users were posting videos taking A LOT of Benadryl pills. Although the hashtags were removed, the challenge has started a conversation about the dangers of overdosing.
Social Media Challenges
Social media challenges are nothing new. Some of these challenges are created for good causes, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was created to help bring awareness to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles, while encouraging people to donate to research. The challenge consisted of people dumping a bucket of ice over their heads and challenging their friends to do the same. Many people participated in this challenge including celebrities.
Other challenges are there simply for the satisfaction of knowing you completed them like the ‘Try Not To Laugh’ challenge.
Either way, the challenges that go around are supposed to be fun, right? But it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Many people willingly took part in these social media challenges without thinking about the possible consequences. The ‘In My Feelings’ challenge was inspired by hip-hop artist Drake’s song In My Feelings in 2018.
This dance challenge brought many people together to post their versions on social media but it quickly became dangerous when people began jumping out of their car to do the dance.
This isn’t the first time a social media trend has led to people getting hurt and unfortunately, it was not the last.
The ‘Hot Pepper’ challenge also sent people to the hospital. The challenge was all over social media. People would eat a hot pepper, either a ghost or chili pepper, to see how they would react. Another version of this challenge was done with the Carolina Reaper, called “World’s Hottest Pepper” challenge. This pepper has 2.2 million Scoville units. To give you an idea of just how hot that is, a jalapeño pepper measures 8,000 Scoville units. Two girls from New Jersey posted a video in 2016 of their experience with the challenge. The video shows them in extricating pain after taking just one bite of the pepper.
The ‘Benadryl Challenge’
But now the latest trend is the ‘Benadryl Challenge’, which first went viral on TikTok. The ‘Benadryl Challenge’ encourages users to take a large number of Benadryl tablets to experience hallucinations. It is unknown who started this challenge but the users that participated in this challenge the most were kids.
This user’s video went viral when she posted a video after taking Benadryl. This video has since been removed.
This user posted a video of her sister after she took Benadryl.
While there were a lot of people who have taken part in this challenge, many people were not amused by it at all. A part of the TikTok community was willing to share their stories in the hopes of preventing others from repeating their mistakes. These users explained their experience after overdosing on Benadryl asking users not to do the challenge.
The medical community quickly spoke out about the misuse of Benadryl because of this new trend asking parents to monitor their children’s behavior on social media. The misuse of Benadryl is not only dangerous BUT CAN BE FATAL. This doctor tweeted a warning about overdosing.
Benadryl is a very highly anticholinergic antihistamine that can cause #delirium (acute brain failure) & irreversible memory loss. Despite being over the counter, it can be very dangerous esp when several doses are taken at once. Please do not do this.
— Dr. Belinda #WearAMask Setters (@BelindaSetters) September 1, 2020
The Benadryl Challenge has even been found to be the cause of a teenager’s death in Oklahoma. The 15-year-old took multiple Benadryl pills for the Tiktok challenge, and as a result, died.
Benadryl is an over the counter allergy medication. It is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson who emailed Fox News a statement on the matter. The statement read, “The health and safety of people who use our products is our top priority. The BENADRYL TikTok trend is extremely concerning, dangerous and should be stopped immediately. As with any medicine, abuse or misuse can lead to serious side effects with potentially long-lasting consequences, and BENADRYL® products should only be used as directed by the label. It is our strong recommendation that all medications be kept out of the reach of children at all times. We are working with TikTok and our partners to do what we can to stop this dangerous trend, including the removal of content across social platforms that showcase this behavior.”
This trend deeply disturbed many people. This user tweeted out her concern for children’s parents.
Could you imagine waking up to find your child dead because they thought taking 12 Benadryl for an internet challenge would be fun?
Absolutely no kids for me. None.
— Ashley Milicevic (@ashleymilicevi1) August 31, 2020
Another user tweeted suggesting for people to do a different challenge.
I love #tiktok I really do, but please please discourage the #Benadrylchallenge – it's not worth the overdose… Or death. Let's come up with a better one. Maybe a draw eyeballs on your eyelids challenge? Freak people out that way instead.
— Mary Asal (@DoctorHoneyisin) September 1, 2020
TikTok quickly removed the challenge videos along with any of the hashtags that were associated with it. When the challenge is searched a message stating, “This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority. For more information, we invite you to review our Community Guidelines.”
Do you think TikTok handled the situation in a timely manner? Does it help persuade people not to participate in challenges when users share the challenges going wrong on social media?