CHPA Statement: FDA Warning Regarding Reports of Teen Abuse of Diphenhydramine

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Press Releases and Statements | Sep 25, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — “The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) shares FDA’s concern regarding news reports that teens are challenging each other on social media to misuse and abuse over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing diphenhydramine, commonly used for allergy symptoms. CHPA applauds FDA for examining this issue more closely as data will play a critical role in evaluating depth of this misuse and abuse. 

“Diphenhydramine is a safe and effective ingredient when used according to the Drug Facts label. However, misuse or intentional abuse can be dangerous. When taken in excessive amounts, any medicine may lead to serious harm. Social media provides a platform for this type of dangerous behavior to gain traction. Therefore, OTC manufacturers and FDA have reached out to hold social media platforms accountable for removing harmful content. 

“In addition, the OTC industry is committed to educating consumers to help ensure safe and responsible use of personal healthcare products, which millions of Americans rely on daily. 

“Parents and caregivers are an important part of medicine abuse prevention and education. We echo FDA by encouraging parents to talk to their teens about the importance of safe medicine use and the potential danger of abusing OTC medicines. For tips on how to have honest conversations with teens and ways to curb the influence of social media on risky behaviors, we recommend parents visit the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign.” 

Founded in 1881, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $7, contributing a total of $146 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.