Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Is that right? People swallow Benadryl skin gel?

Oh, dear.


The FDA reported Wednesday that more than 120 cases of people ingesting Benadryl Extra Strength Itch-Stopping Gel occurred between 2001 and 2009.

The agency has issued a warning that drinking the gel can cause serious problems, from loss of consciousness to hallucinations.

Benadryl maker Johnson & Johnson has announced it's changing the product's packaging, adding the words "for skin use only" in big letters on the front of the bottle -- where only the term "topical analgesic" currently lets on that you're supposed to rub the contents on your skin -- and to a label stuck to the bottle cap.

I can almost craft an excuse for people making such a mistake: The gel's main ingredient, diphenhydramine, can in fact, in other formulations, be taken by mouth to combat allergy symptoms, motion sickness and insomnia. And other Benadryl products, sold in bottles that look a lot like the anti-itch-gel bottle, are indeed meant to be taken orally.

For my part, though, before I put any medication in my mouth (or my kids' mouths) I read the label very carefully, sometimes more than once, if only to be sure I'm using the correct dose. It's hard to imagine someone grabbing a bottle of Benadryl and downing a swig without taking similar precautions.

The Benadryl situation goes to show you what a taxing and complicated task the FDA faces in trying to protect us from dangerous foods and drugs -- and also from ourselves.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  May 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , General Health , Is That Right?  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Health news nuggets
Next: Bring back Home Ec!

Comments

This is one (not the only) reason to learn to read and use critical thinking. Unfortunately more schools are failing in this regard. More schools are teaching how to pass a test. The reason for teaching to the test is the teacher cannot fail a student. ON reading test they learn how find (not understand)the answer. In math the students learn what buttons to push but not why that button or what that button dose. Take away the calculator and they are lost. Unless this trend reverses the US is in great danger.

Posted by: Curly4 | May 14, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Do you really think that people are doing this by mistake? It seems that it's one more way to abuse drugs. It's a cheap and legal way to alter consciousness and experience hallucinations.

Posted by: drl97 | May 14, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm allergic to topical Benadryl, so I don't even want to think about what would happen if I ingested the stuff! What happened to reading the instructions before using medication?

Posted by: Heron | May 14, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm allergic to topical Benadryl, so I don't even want to think about what would happen if I ingested the stuff! What happened to reading the instructions before using any medication?

Posted by: Heron | May 14, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm allergic to topical Benadryl, so I don't even want to think about what would happen if I ingested the stuff! What happened to reading the instructions before using any medication?

Posted by: Heron | May 14, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the repeat posts; it didn't look like my comments were going through.

Posted by: Heron | May 14, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the repeat posts; it didn't look like my comments were going through.

Posted by: Heron | May 14, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What is the country coming to. I saw a warning label on a matress (both on the same label actually) that actually read "Not to be used a sled" and "Warning: Do not attempt to swallow" They wouldn't put it on there is there was no prior issue.

Posted by: schnauzer21 | May 14, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they should put those DO NOT EAT labels on like they have on silica gel packets meant to keep things dry. I think they need them more on the Benadryl than on the silica gel, which I doubt anyone would be tempted to munch on!

Posted by: catherine3 | May 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

...and then there was the local ice company that found it necessary to put "Store in freezer" on the bags.

Posted by: carlaclaws | May 14, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"I'm allergic to topical benadryl!"

No you're not, pinhead. I'm a doctor. Patients who say this are often anxiety-ridden psych cases who have multiple "allergies".

And they love to talk about them. Get a life, get therapy.

Posted by: dfjklsdfklsdfsdklsdklsdfjkld0348903434sdfjklsdfjkljkldfdf | May 14, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

My allergist says Benadryl is crap and not to take it. Take Zyrtec or a generic equivalent if you have to self medicate. Better yet, see a real doctor and treat the problem.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | May 14, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

SIMPLE-CHANGE THE NAME OF THE PRODUCT AND LARGE PRINT WARNINGS!
OUR MEIDICINES AND FOOD PRODUCTS, ETC. ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY VERY DIFFUCULT TO READ AND THE FORMULAS MORE DANGERIOUS.

Posted by: crrobin | May 14, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Given the low standards of English set/enforced in US schools (not to mention public life), I wonder what portion of the population even knows what "topical analgesic" means.

Posted by: Lawrence_Kelley | May 15, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

I mjust admit, I'm betting that they either didn't know what "topical" meant, or it was deliberate.

If you've ever used the stuff, it's a GEL, like a jelly. It'd be hard to just take a swig since it's not a liquid. If I thought I was supposed to be drinking it and couldn't find a dosage measurement in teaspoons, I'd wonder if I was correct in how it was to be used.

Since the onces that are supposed to be taken internaly are liquids, not gels, the minute I turned it upsidedown and liquid didn't flow, I'd realize I picked up the wrong thing. I mean, come on, if you'd ever used it you know it has the flowability of honey, and I don't know of a single otc medicine which is taken internally with that viscosity.

Posted by: barbaramusser | May 15, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Of course, since ten thousand people supposedly asked the Mythbusters to test whether your eyes fall out of your head if you sneeze with your eyes open, it might just be the stupidity of the common person.

Posted by: barbaramusser | May 15, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

If it was done accidentally, then probably no amount of new information on the bottle would prevent it - you are dealing with profound ignorance or worse.

But I agree with those who think it was mostly deliberate - some people will self medicate with ANYTHING they can get their hands on.

Posted by: DESS1 | May 15, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

>

Gee, ya think? This has got to be the stupidist society on the face of the earth and getting stupider by the day.

Posted by: kat2show | May 15, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"The Benadryl situation goes to show you what a taxing and complicated task the FDA faces in trying to protect us from dangerous fools and lugs... ourselves"

Posted by: Bob-S | May 15, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I like the "DO NOT EAT" solution; 3 2-3 letter words.
Any semi-literate should get it.

Posted by: edismae | May 15, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"My allergist says Benadryl is crap and not to take it."

Well that's just nice Mr. Zyrtec salesman.

My allergist says Benadryl is the ONLY thing that works sometimes. I have a cousin who would not be a functional person without it.

Posted by: frantaylor | May 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"My allergist says Benadryl is crap and not to take it."

Yeah, right. And when you're having a mild anaphylactic reaction to something, benadryl is still the best antihistamine out there. Its cheap & fast-acting as opposed to the newer drugs.

Posted by: PorthosAD | May 15, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company