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Don't Drink the Benadryl Itch Gel

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, May 13, 2010 3:26 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Itch, Benadryl, FDA, Johnson & Johnson

Benadryl Itch Packaging Change To Reduce Errors


IMAGE SOURCE: Amazon Web site/ Benadryl Itch

It may sound obvious, Benadryl Extra Strength itch Stopping Gel is intended for topical or skin use only.

But between 2001 and 2009, the Food and Drug Administration reports 212 cases of ingesting the gel were reported to Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer.

Seven of the cases were considered serious because the patient went to the ER and was eventually hospitalized in intensive care. Others have reported hallucinations, dizziness, difficulty walking, unconsciousness, and inability to speak, reports the FDA. Benadryl contains the active ingredient diphenhydramine, which can cause those symptoms.

J & J and the FDA are warning consumers not to mistakenly swallow the gel form of Benadryl.

Earlier this year J & J attached a yellow sticker to the bottle cap to reinforce the instructions “For Skin Use” only.

And the FDA is notifying pharmacies to display the topical application Benadryl in a location separate from the oral formula. Many generic versions of topical itch gel have similar package to Benadryl and should also not be ingested. Manufacturers of those products should also change their packaging says the FDA in its Safety Alert.

Benadryl itch gel has been on the market for more than 15 years, according to a J & J spokeswoman. However, the company received a "small" number of reports from consumers who had ingested the product, reports the Wall Street Journal. #

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