Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a first-generation antihistamine that is used primarily to treat allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, urticaria, and allergic rhinitis. Despite its availability as an over-the-counter medication, toxicity may occur with its use especially when administered in large doses or via the intravenous route. We present a 3-month-old infant with Trisomy 21 who suffered a cardiac arrest immediately following administration of a single 1.25 mg/kg dose of intravenous diphenhydramine, prescribed for sedation in the Pediatric ICU setting. The potential cardiovascular and respiratory effects of diphenhydramine are presented, previous reports of life-threatening adverse effects reviewed, and options to limit these effects discussed.

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