The Food and Drug Administration is issuing the following warning in response to a recent social media trend: Don’t cook your chicken in NyQuil.
What is the NyQuil Chicken challenge on TikTok?
“One social media trend relying on peer pressure is online video clips of people misusing nonprescription medications and encouraging viewers to do so too,” the FDA stated. “These video challenges, which often target youths, can harm people — and even cause death.”
The FDA specifically highlighted one recent social media challenge that has encouraged people to marinate chicken in acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine — ingredients of NyQuil and other over-the-counter cold products.
“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe,” the FDA said in a statement released on Sept. 15. “Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.
“Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”
The FDA’s warning — related to all social media in general — alludes to a TikTok video posted at least a year ago that shows a user cooking chicken in the medicine, NBC News reported. The video — which NBC News noted did not use the word “challenge” — previously went viral but seems to have since been removed.
TikTok has deleted search results for “NyQuil chicken” — although searches for “sleepy chicken” still produce results, according to Bloomberg.
This isn’t the first TikTok trend to draw attention from the FDA. Two years ago, the “Benadryl Challenge” dared people to take such large doses of the antihistamine diphenhydramine that it could lead to hallucinations, CNN reported. The challenge sent some teenagers to emergency rooms and, in some cases, led to teenagers’ deaths, according to the FDA.
FDA warns of social media drug challenges
The FDA encouraged adults to sit down with their children and “discuss the dangers of misusing drugs and how social media trends can lead to real, sometimes irreversible, damage.”
“Remind your children that overdoses can occur with OTC drugs as well as with prescription drugs,” the FDA said.
The agency said to keep kids safe from these harmful trends by keeping over-the-counter and prescription drugs locked up and out of reach.
What TikTok says about NyQuil chicken challenge
TikTok said in a recent statement that “content that promotes dangerous behavior has no place” on the site, per Bloomberg. “This is not trending on our platform, but we will remove content if found and strongly discourage anyone from engaging in behavior that may be harmful to themselves or others.”
- “Stop: Pause a moment.”
- “Think: Is it safe? Is it harmful? Is it real? If you’re unsure, check with an adult or friends, or look for more information from authoritative sources online.”
- “Decide: “If it’s risky or harmful, or you’re not sure if it is, don’t do it. It’s not worth putting yourself or others at risk.”
- “Act: Report harmful challenges or hoaxes in-app. Don’t share them.”