The recommended dosage of Benadryl tablets for adults is 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours,[1] and only 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours for children under the age of 12.[2]
The recommended dosage of Benadryl tablets for adults is 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours,[1] and only 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours for children under the age of 12.[2]

The Benadryl challenge is an Internet challenge which emerged in 2020, and revolves around the deliberate consumption, excessive use and overdose of the antihistamine medicine diphenhydramine (commonly sold in the United States under the brand name Benadryl),[a] which acts as a possible deliriant in high doses.[3] The challenge, which spread via the social media platform TikTok, instructs participants to film themselves consuming large doses of Benadryl and documenting the effect of tripping or hallucinating.

Numerous authorities have advised against the challenge, as deliberate overconsumption of diphenhydramine can lead to adverse effects, including confusion, delirium, psychosis, organ damage, hyperthermia, convulsions, coma, and death. On September 24, 2020, the FDA formally released a statement advising parents and medical practitioners to be aware of the challenge's prevalence and its risks.[4]

The recreational use of diphenhydramine and addiction is well-reported in medical literature, and overdoses are treatable with correct intervention. Its psychoactive effects at high dosages, which are a symptom of anticholinergic poisoning, are also well documented. In severe cases, the overdose of diphenhydramine and other anticholinergic medicines can lead to a phenomenon referred to as an anticholinergic toxidrome,[5] which can affect organ systems throughout the body, including the nervous system and cardiovascular system.

Several participants have been hospitalized as a result of the challenge, including three teenagers admitted to the Cook Children's Medical Center after consuming at least 14 diphenhydramine tablets,[6] and 15-year-old Chloe Marie Phillips, an Oklahoma teen who died from an overdose after attempting to take part.[7][8][9]

See also


  1. ^ In other countries, products sold under the brand name Benadryl may contain a different antihistamine; in the United Kingdom, this is the second-generation antihistamines acrivastine or cetirizine.


  1. ^ "Dosing Guide". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  2. ^ "The New TikTok 'Benadryl Challenge' is Being Blamed for a Teenage Girl's Death—Here's Why It's So Dangerous". Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  3. ^ Krstic, Zee (2020-09-09). "What Parents Needs to Know About the Potentially Deadly Benadryl TikTok Challenge". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  4. ^ "FDA warns about serious problems with high doses of the allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl)". Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 2020-09-24.
  5. ^ Broderick, Erin D.; Metheny, Heidi; Crosby, Brianna (2020), "Anticholinergic Toxicity", StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, PMID 30521219, retrieved 2020-10-10
  6. ^ "TikTok Videos Encourage Viewers to Overdose on Benadryl". Cook Children's Checkup Newsroom. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  7. ^ "Dangerous 'Benadryl Challenge' on Tik Tok may be to blame for the death of Oklahoma teen". Oklahoma City. 2020-08-28. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  8. ^ "Teen's Death Prompts Warning on 'Benadryl Challenge'". 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  9. ^ "Viral TikTok Challenge Turns Deadly After Encouraging Teens To Take Drugs". 2020-09-04. Retrieved 2021-01-11.