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The Benadryl Challenge is a purported internet challenge in which TikTok users take large amounts of the allergy medication Benadryl until they hallucinate. The trend purportedly became popularized on the app in 2020, later leading to the reported hospitalization of several teens and the death of one. In mid-April 2023, a 13-year-old boy reportedly died after attempting the challenge, subsequently causing a resurgence of interest in the trend online.
The exact origins of the rumored "Benadryl challenge" are unknown. However, on July 14th, 2020, CBS News reported that three Texas teens were hospitalized after ingesting "excessive amounts" of Benadryl following the group purportedly being encouraged to do so by a TikTok video. Dazed reported on the same story on July 30th, including a screenshot of a now-deleted TikTok video about taking Benadryl. These are the first known reports of the reported challenge. TikTok has blocked searches for the terms "Benadryl" and "Benadryl challenge," presumably due to the news of the challenge.
Later that year on August 28th, KFOR News then reported that a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl's death was suspected to have been a result of the Benadryl challenge, specifically linking it to TikTok (shown below).
The Benadryl challenge has become a topic of discussion online since it was first reported in 2020. On September 1st, 2020, YouTuber GCP posted a video about the challenge that gained over 367,000 views in three years (shown below, left). On September 24th, the FDA notably released an official statement about the challenge and dangers of taking too much Benadryl.
On January 13th, 2023, YouTuber Maverick Files posted a video titled "The Benadryl Challenge" in which he discusses the hallucinations some people have purportedly seen while tripping on Benadryl, including The Hat Man, garnering over 100,000 views in three months (shown below, right). On March 4th, TikToker @luo881954la posted a video discussing the Benadryl challenge as one of the dumbest TikTok trends to ever exist, garnering over a million views in a month.
2023 Death Of Ohio Teen
On April 17th, 2023, an Ohio teenager name Jacob Stevens reportedly died at the age of 13 after purportedly attempting the Benadryl challenge. A report by the New York Post claims that Stevens was at home with some friends when he overdosed and that the friends filmed him taking the pills.
The story gained viral spread online shortly after. On April 17th, Twitter user @DailyLoud shared the story, garnering over 104,000 likes in a day. Oli London also shared the story on Twitter, garnering over 4,000 likes in the same span of time.
 CBS News – Texas Teens Overdose On Benadryl After Following TikTok Video Challenge
 Dazed Digital – Three teenagers hospitalised after doing ‘Benadryl challenge’ on TikTok
 KFOR – Dangerous ‘Benadryl Challenge’ on Tik Tok
 YouTube – TIKTOK CHALLENGE KILLS TEEN GIRL
 FDA – FDA warns about serious problems with high doses of the allergy medicine diphenhydramine
 YouTube – The Benadryl Challenge
 NYP – Boy, 13, dead after TikTok ‘Benadryl Challenge,’
 Twitter – Daily Loud
 TikTok – luo881954la
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Apr 18, 2023 at 04:35PM EDT
Apr 18, 2023 at 03:55PM EDT
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