FDA warning about NyQuil chicken TikTok challenge may have spiked interest

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A statement issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking people to stop combining NyQuil with chicken after a “Sleepy Chicken” challenge went viral on social media earlier may have unintentionally spiked interest in the trend. 

There were fewer than five searches for NyQuil chicken content on TikTok a day prior to the Sept. 15 statement from the FDA, according to data provided to Fox News Digital by the social media app. 

By Sept. 21, around 7,000 searches were recorded. 

“Content that promotes dangerous behavior has no place on TikTok. 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,” a TikTok spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. 


Nighttime cold medicine and raw chicken have been combined in a strange “Sleepy Chicken” trend on social media. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that this shouldn’t be done because it’s dangerous to cook medicine into food. 

In a consumer update, the FDA mentioned the unusual trend as an example of over-the-counter drug misuse.

“A recent social media video challenge encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine) or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat,” the FDA wrote. “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is.”

The agency warned that cooking chicken in the nighttime cough medicine could cause liver damage and muscle breakdown. 

“Through its routine drug safety surveillance, the FDA observed social media trends promoting dangerous misuse of medications. In response to these observations, the FDA prepared a Consumer Update,” an FDA spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News. “The communication informs health care professionals and consumers (including parents) of this safety concern to facilitate its monitoring, management, and hopefully risk reduction. To that effect, the Consumer Update proactively communicates how to keep children safe and prevent potentially harmful trends, and the update includes directions on how to store and use over-the-counter drugs safely.”

Pain relief medicine at a pharmacy

Pain relief medicine at a pharmacy
(John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The #SleepyChicken hashtag on TikTok has 1.2 million views, and it has been tagged with trending reaction videos in which users share their thoughts on the medicine-cooked dish – many of which have expressed shock and disgust.

The social media app said it’s not seeing the NyQuil chicken challenge as a trend on its platform and has since directed search results on the topic to a community guidelines page to discourage such behavior.


The FDA acknowledged that the viral “Benadryl Challenge” of 2020 – in which people consumed high amounts of allergy medicine (diphenhydramine) to induce hallucinations – led to hospitalizations and death, even though the agency warned the public not to participate.

Fox News’ Courtney Moore contributed to this report.  

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