FDA Warns Against Cooking Chicken in NyQuil. For Real.


The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to abuse nonprescription drugs as part of social-media challenges, including cooking chicken in NyQuil.

The regulator issued a warning cautioning the public that social-media challenges where people misuse nonprescription medications can be dangerous or even fatal. It pointed to a recent challenge where people cook chicken in NyQuil or similar medications. 

The agency says that boiling a medication can make the drug more concentrated and that inhaling a medicine’s vapors while cooking with it could cause a person to ingest a high amount of the drug. In the case of the NyQuil-chicken challenge, the FDA says a person could hurt their lungs.

“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing—and it is,” the FDA said. “But it could also be very unsafe.” 

The regulatory body recommended that parents talk with their children about drug misuse “and how social media trends can lead to real, sometimes irreversible, damage.”

Procter & Gamble Co.

PG -0.36%

, the parent company of NyQuil, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


How should social-media challenges be handled? Join the conversation below.

The NyQuil-chicken challenge isn’t the first time the FDA has warned the public about the danger of certain social-media challenges. It cautioned people in September 2020 that taking too much Benadryl, a TikTok challenge at the time, could result in different health problems, including death.

TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. 

When searching for “NyQuil chicken” on TikTok, a message surfaces for users urging them to assess challenges and warnings in a four-step process: stop, think, decide and act.

Social-media companies also aren’t alone in fighting back against dangerous challenges. P&G, which also makes Tide laundry detergent, in 2018 launched a social-media campaign telling people to only use its Tide pods for doing laundry after videos of people eating the pods went viral.

Write to Allison Prang at [email protected]

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