FDA Warns Against Using NyQuil As A Chicken Marinade

The social media platforms that have cropped up over the last decade or two do have certain benefits. But, there are some pitfalls. Recently, a new trend has emerged on social media called involving Nyquil and chicken. Nyquil chicken involves people using Nyquil- the common cold and flu medication- as chicken marinade.[1] Common sense would dictate that this is not a good idea, and since this could be considered a public health threat, the FDA had to intervene.


The trend has been circulating under the hashtag #sleepychicken. On TikTok alone, it has more than 1.3 million clips with that tag. As such, TikTok has even resorted to issuing safety warnings every time such a video is accessed or the tag is searched. The videos show people sauteing a pan full of chicken using the medicine for colds. In this regard, the FDA had to release an aimed disclaimer regarding the situation, which further propelled NyQuil to be the most trending Twitter topic for a day.


The statement from FDA reads, “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.” This simply solidifies a simple statement- NyQuil as an ingredient makes the food silly, tasteless, and potentially fatal. 

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Nyquil Chicken- The Latest Trend In The Social Media Sphere

This fervor over NyQuil should remind one of a similar craze that involved Tide pods which were particularly harmful to kids. According to a popular website, kids participate in such experiments because their prefrontal cortex isn’t completely developed. “Kids won’t necessarily stop to consider that laundry detergent is a poison that can burn their throats and damage their airways. Or that misusing medications like diphenhydramine and similar medicines can cause serious heart problems, seizures, and coma. What they will focus on is that a popular kid in class did this and got hundreds of likes and comments.”[2] 

Of course, there won’t usually be kids sauteing chicken on their own over a cooktop. However, it is alarming that young adults can and are trying to do so. In some regards, it bears resemblance to the 2020 Benadryl Challenge. It involved ingesting the medication in excessive amounts to induce hallucinations. Needless to say, it was extremely dangerous and the most recent challenge involving NyQuil is nothing less. However, as blind as the Internet can be, it can also be the harshest critic about the situation.


People on Twitter got quite a kick out of mocking those who were actually invested in Nyquil chicken. One user stated, “Why’d they call it Nyquil chicken and not robitusserie?

While another user tweeted, “You can’t stop me from birthing 5 babies and feeding them nothing by Nyquil chicken, it is my right as an American.

Someone else commented, “I feel like people cooking chicken in Nyquil is the kind of problem that solves itself”.

Andy Downing commented, “Forget Nyquil chicken, in this house, it’s all chicken vicksaloo.

Another user, Cassie, stated, “One kid eats a Tide pod and one kid cooks chicken in Nyquil and then we get seventy-eleven news stories about ‘dangers to kids’ when it was just one stupid kid.


The dangers of such trends to young kids are nothing new. Mitchell Prinstein, the Chief Science Officer at the American Psychological Association mentioned, “Kids are biologically built to become much more susceptible to peers in adolescence, and social media has magnified those peer influence processes to be much, much more dangerous than they were before. These kids are being influenced at a level that’s beyond their conscious awareness.”[3]

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  1. Cooking chicken in NyQuil is ‘very unsafe,’ FDA warns after #sleepychicken TikToks surface.” USA Today. Charles Trepany. September 20, 2022.
  2. FDA Warns Against Using NyQuil As A Chicken Marinade.” Huffpost. David Moye. September 20, 2022.
  3. FDA Says Don’t Try The NyQuil Chicken Trend You Saw on TikTok.” Bloomberg. Omose Ighodaro. September 20, 2022.