FDA Warns Against Viral NyQuil Chicken TikTok Trend

·2 min read

Because apparently that wasn't common sense.

TikTokers are once again giving out really bad life advice by suggesting users marinate their chicken in over-the-counter cough syrups.

At this point, we're no stranger to questionable TikTok trends. Still, they leave us scratching our heads more often than not. Now, an old trend that should have already been put to rest seems to be resurfacing, as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has issued a formal warning against the NyQuil Chicken recipe—because, apparently, "don't cook your chicken in cold medicine" wasn't already common sense.

The FDA shared guidelines for social media challenges involving medications last week in response to a viral TikTok trend that involves cooking chicken in NyQuil or similar OTC cough syrups.

The trend made headlines back in January, but it's making the rounds again. One video from @janelleandkate is frequently reposted and stitched/dueted, though the original video is no longer available. It seems to have originated in January, too. The account is full of bizarre food combinations, including waffles made with Pepto Bismol and peanut butter steak, so it wouldn't be surprising to find "sleepy chicken," as they called it, had made its resurgence thanks to them, but TikTok has (rightfully so) put a list of resources in place of search results when you look up "Nyquil Chicken," making it unclear who uploaded the "meal" first.

National Capital Poison Center, an independent, non-profit poison control center, credits the trend to a years-old Reddit thread that has inexplicably persisted.

Forget about how disgusting the blue-tinged end result looks (and assumedly tastes); the FDA warns about a variety of dangers associated with pouring the cough syrup into your skillet. To start, boiling medications can make them much more concentrated. It may also change the properties of the medication, leading to unexpected side effects. There's also the risk of inhaling the medication through vapors while cooking, allowing high levels of the drug to enter your body without even realizing it, which could put the integrity of your lungs at risk.

NCPC pointed out how many of the TikToks in question use up to a whole bottle of NyQuil, if not more, meaning the chicken likely absorbs much larger quantities than a person is intended to ingest at once—especially as the alcohol boils off and leaves behind higher concentrations of active ingredients. Many TikTokers also film themselves pouring excess liquid back into the bottle, which could be contaminated with bacteria if you undercook the chicken, as many users appear to do, according to the center. 

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