The Food and Drug Administration is responding to 121 known cases of consumers drinking Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Stopping Gel by asking consumers to pay close attention to the warnings not to ingest the topical gel. The 121 cases have been recorded between 2001 and 2009 and in most cases the bottle of topical gel was confused for ingestible liquid Benadryl products.
Johnson and Johnson reported that they are changing labeling to include a larger warning sign that the gel is for external use only. They will also add a sticker to the cap with the same warning. In addition, they note plans to research the problem further to determine other possible factors that might cause consumers to drink the gel.
In large doses, the active ingredient in the gel can cause numbness of the mouth, confusion, hallucinations, and even unconsciousness. The FDA is suggesting that consumers store topical treatments in a different location than drinkable medications to avoid confusion.