There have been multiple news reports and alerts for medical professionals and parents published in the past few years about TikTok videos that challenge their viewers to take increasing doses of over-the-counter Benadryl to induce hallucinations.

Benadryl is an antihistamine often used for allergy symptoms. As a pediatric ICU doctor in Maine, I have seen many children who have either overdosed on Benadryl “to get high” or who have overdosed with the intent to hurt themselves.

Not only can people hallucinate with too much Benadryl, but they can also have seizures and dangerous heart rhythms and need life-sustaining therapies (like breathing tubes). There is no quick antidote to this type of overdose, and everything we do in the hospital is to support the patient through it.

I was surprised to hear that this TikTok video continues to circulate and reach children despite repeated attempts to remove it from the platform. I hope by writing this, families can be aware and extra cautious with this medication.

If you or your child is concerned about their mental health, please talk to your pediatrician. Below are phone numbers for emergency mental health services as well, available 24/7:

• Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Jillian Gregory, DO
pediatric critical care, Maine Medical Center

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