The word “topical” has a very distinct meaning. That is: “Put this on your skin.” The American people seem to be a bit confused on this point, however, because the FDA has politely reminded us FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP DRINKING BENADRYL LOTION.
The problem? Benadryl makes pills, liquid medications, and topical medications, and people can be kind of stupid. Or it’s hard to read when you’re incredibly itchy.
From the FDA’s press release:
The FDA has received reports of serious side effects in people who have mistakenly swallowed the product. Some OTC Benadryl products are intended to be swallowed. However, Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Gel is only safe and effective when used, as directed, on the skin. People swallowing the gel can ingest a dangerous amount of the active ingredient, diphenhydramine. Large doses of diphenhydramine can result in serious side effects such as unconsciousness, hallucinations, and confusion.
“Consumer confusion and incorrect product use are serious public health issues,” said Carol Holquist, R.Ph., director of FDA’s Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis. “FDA is advising consumers and pharmacies to store products for the skin separately from products that should be swallowed.”
Or maybe a giant DO NOT EAT label on the cap, like silica gel packets and other non-edible items.
FDA: Serious Side Effects from Swallowing Topical Benadryl Product [FDA] (via The Body Odd – thanks, Kelly!)