What is Dylar in White Noise? Is Dylar a Real Drug?

Based on the eponymous novel by Don DeLillo, Netflix’s drama film ‘White Noise’ revolves around the couple Jack and Babette Gladney, whose lives get threatened when an “airborne toxic event” startles their town named Blacksmith. While Jack tries his best to save his wife and children’s lives, he comes to know that Babette has been taking a pill named Dylar secretly. When he asks her about the same, Babette replies that it is just a cherry-flavored Life Savers candy. A curious and persistent Jack sets out to unravel the mystery behind the same with the help of his step-daughter Denise. So, what exactly is Dylar? Is it a real drug? Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Denise Raises the Alarm About Dylar

Although Denise warns Jack about Babette’s consumption of a secret pill, the latter doesn’t take his stepdaughter seriously. However, he gets convinced about the same when he discovers a bottle of Dylar, hidden by Babette. He asks his colleague to run some tests to find out what exactly is the pill since the drug is non-existent in all of the pharmacies he went to. When she hits a dead end, Jack seeks the help of Babette’s doctor, who lets him know that he hasn’t prescribed such a drug for her. Still, Jack finally succeeds in finding out what the pill is for. Dylar is a drug conceived to treat the fear of death.

Babette managed to get the pills when it was in the developmental stage and Mr. Grey, who invented the same, abandoned the research when he couldn’t prove that it succeeds in treating thanatophobia. Babette has been dealing with the fear of death for a long while. When her fellow human beings succeeded in approaching death as a fictional spectacle, over-glorified by the television, Babette was an exception as she feared the harsh reality of it. Thus, she tried to seek comfort in Dylar, created by Mr. Grey, who wanted the human species to confront death without an element of fear attached to the same.

However, Mr. Grey and his Dylar not only failed to eradicate the fear associated with death but also increased the same. Just uttering the phrase “falling plane” started to lead Babette and Grey, who consumed Dylar for months, to seek protection from an imaginary plane. Thus, Babette is a victim of a scam Mr. Grey conceived using a drug created without any scientific foundation. He continued to supply Dylar to Babette in exchange for sex and the former continued to consume it since the pill aggravated her fear of death.

Dylar is Not a Real Drug

No, Dylar is not a real drug. The drug is conceived by Don DeLillo, who wrote the eponymous source novel of the film. Although fear of death AKA thanatophobia is a real fear, there isn’t any particular real-life drug that specifically treats the same. Instead, psychiatrists seemingly prescribe medications to treat anxiety, such as benzodiazepines. While benzodiazepines are a class of drugs approved and prescribed by psychiatrists worldwide, Dylar is a fictional pill conceived to address Babette’s immense fear of death.

Although there isn’t a real-life counterpart for Dylar, Babette’s revelation that the drug is created by Mr. Grey as part of a secret clinical trial sheds light on the several illegal clinical trials that are happening globally in reality. These trials have snatched away or permanently damaged the lives of several trial participants. Babette can be considered as the representative of the victims of these real-life illegal and unethical clinical trials.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s White Noise Filmed?