The Margin: FDA warns ‘NyQuil chicken’ is ‘a recipe for danger’

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Stock Market

What the actual cluck? The latest seriously questionable social-media trend apparently has people sautéing chicken in over-the-counter cough and cold medicine like NyQuil, presumably to eat. And this “NyQuil chicken,” or “sleepy chicken,” has ruffled health officials’ feathers so much that the Food and Drug Administration has actually issued a warning about it. 

A recent consumer update entitled “A Recipe for Danger: Social Media Challenges Involving Medicines” spells out the danger of a “silly and unappetizing” viral-video challenge like “NyQuil chicken.” And misusing OTC meds in this way can harm people and cause death, the FDA writes. 

The danger? As any seasoned cook (or someone who regularly watches cooking competitions) knows, boiling and reducing a liquid makes it much more concentrated — meaning you could make the concentration of the medicine you’re cooking even stronger than the recommended safe dosage. What’s more, even if you’re cooking the NyQuil chicken with no intention actually eating it, just inhaling the medicine’s vapors (we’re talking drugs like acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine) while cooking could still see you ingesting high levels of the medication into your body, and it could also damage your lungs.  “Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it,” the FDA warning explains.  To be fair, it’s not clear that “NyQuil chicken” is actually a viral social-media dare on par with 2018’s “Tide Pod Challenge.” In fact, most of the TikTok videos sharing the NyQuil chicken trend feature posters highlighting how gross and dangerous it looks — not actually accepting the challenge and making the dangerous dish, themselves.

But it certainly began trending on Twitter on Tuesday. 

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