FDA Issues Warning About 'Dangerous' Trend to Cook Chicken in NyQuil

A viral trend has prompted officials from the United States Food and Drug Administration to issue an official warning of the dangers associated with it.

The trend, known as "Sleepy Chicken," involves cooking chicken in NyQuil or another cough and cold medication.

"Social media trends and peer pressure can be a dangerous combination to your children and their friends, especially when involving misusing medicines," a release issued by the FDA read.

Cough Medicine
Here, a stock image of cough medicine poured onto a spoon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a warning about the dangers of cooking chicken in cough medicine. BrianAJackson/iStock

TikTok users and doctors have discussed the dangers of the challenge dating back to January of this year.

A TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek there was a small amount of content relating to the trend, but the platform was removing videos that violated its guidelines.

The official website for NyQuil advised that those who take it should only use the dose cup provided.

"Do not exceed 4 doses per 24 hours," the website said. "Adults and children 12 years and over take 30mL every 6 hours."

One of the dangers that come with the "Sleepy Chicken" trend is how it is prepared.

"Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways," FDA officials said. "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."

This means someone may take a high amount of the medicine without intending to do so.

The FDA noted it issued a warning in 2020 about another viral internet trend that involved people taking large doses of allergy medicine, which contain diphenhydramine, to induce hallucinations.

Video challenges may include nonprescription—or over-the-counter—drugs, which can be found in someone's home, per the FDA.

"The FDA actively monitors social media trends in efforts to combat the spread of online misinformation," an FDA spokesperson wrote to Newsweek. "The agency will continue to prioritize the safety of consumers and regulated products, and will issue warnings and/or consumer safety advice when/where most appropriate to keep consumers safe."

A TikTok spokesperson wrote to Newsweek that content that promotes dangerous behavior has "no place" on the platform.

"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," the spokesperson said.

Parents are encouraged to keep over-the-counter and prescription drugs locked away from children to prevent accidental overdoses and to have a conversation about the dangers of misusing drugs.

Medications, the FDA said, should only be used as intended.

"If you believe your child has taken too much medication and is hallucinating, can't be awakened, has had or is having a seizure, has trouble breathing, has collapsed or is showing other signs of drug misuse, call 911 to get immediate medical attention," officials said.

The FDA recently issued a recall for health and hygiene products from Family Dollar because they were reportedly kept at incorrect temperatures while they were being stored.

Another social media trend the FDA warned against was a hack to keep avocados fresh.

Updated 09/22/2022, 2:56 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from a spokesperson from the FDA and a spokesperson from TikTok.