New TikTok challenge ends in tragedy for US teen
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A new online challenge doing the rounds on the internet has ended in tragedy for a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl.
According to the Daily Mail, the teenager died last week from a Benadryl overdose after she took part in a social media fad known as the ’Benadryl challenge'.
The challenge is a new game in which teens on TikTok are encouraged to take as much allergy medicine needed to hallucinate or get high.
Experts have warned that high doses of the active ingredient in allergy medication can lead to life-threatening side effects, including heart attack, stroke, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
“The dose that can cause hallucinations is very close to the dose that can cause something potentially life-threatening," Scott Schaeffer, director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, told the Daily Mail.
The challenge seems to be limited to the US where three teens were rushed to hospital after they swallowed excessive doses of Benadryl, allegedly as part of the challenge.
“None of these patients were trying to harm themselves. They all said they saw videos on TikTok and were curious to try it,” said a nurse at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
A spokesperson for TikTok told the Daily Mail that the social media platform first learnt of the 'Benadryl challenge' in May and “quickly removed the very small amount of content that we found”.
"The safety and well-being of our users is TikTok’s top priority," the spokesperson added.
“We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behaviour whether online or off.”
Benadryl is not for sale in South Africa, but the active ingredient, diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine mainly used to treat allergies.