TikTok challenge involving medicine becomes popular and neuroscientist warns

A new challenge on the TikTok social network has made young people put their health at risk. The “joke” consists of posting the “before and after” of the nose after the person takes a medicine called Roaccutane. The medication, however, is indicated for the treatment of acne and its indiscriminate use can cause serious problems such as side effects.

This isn’t the first time TikTok has been involved in such controversies. Another game, known as the “piercing challenge”, caused a child to be hospitalized in a serious condition. Recently, doctors warned about injuries that users of the social network can suffer when doing the “milk carton challenge”.

The hashtags “#roacutancheck” and #roacutanchallenge”, related to the challenge of Roaccutan medication, have already reached 29 million views. According to the proposal of the challenge, the idea is that users present to each other the supposed effects of this medication on the size and shape of the nose.

However, as the PhD, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst and biologist Fabiano de Abreu explains, the drug has among its components isotretinoin, which “is a substance that reduces the sebaceous glands, but it must be remembered that it only has an effect on those who are with a picture of severe acne”. The specialist also reminds that the medication can cause other damages to health:

Just to give you an idea, the sale of Roaccutane is prohibited for women of childbearing age, as in these cases the baby has up to a 30% chance of being born with serious problems.

Fabiano also comments on the damage to mental health and a certain “addiction” that participation in TikTok challenges can trigger:

When they are instigated to carry out the challenges proposed on the platform, the young people’s bodies release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of reward. The big problem is that it is addictive and gives a feeling of well-being, and so the person becomes more and more with the desire to ‘feed’ on this desire. And the more she conquers the proposed challenges, the more she achieves this goal of ‘nourishing’ dopamine.

The pandemic forced many children and teenagers to spend more time at home, away from school and face-to-face contact with friends. A recent survey found that half of young Brazilians have faced mental health problems. According to the neuroscientist, the use of social networks has aggravated this problem:

When spending more time at home to access social networks, young people end up becoming more anxious. And the more he stays like this, the more he will become dependent on dopamine, as it will bring a ‘relief’ to that situation. The problem is that this opens up an endless cycle, as the person is increasingly hostage to that feeling described here.

What is your opinion about the use of social networks, especially by young people?