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TikTok trend where people cook chicken in NyQuil is dangerous and could lead to lung damage, FDA says

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  • The FDA released a statement asking people not to boil chicken in NyQuil.
  • The statement came after a “social media video challenge,” the FDA said.
  • Taking too much acetaminophen, an ingredient in NyQuil, can lead to serious health complications.

The FDA is asking people to stop boiling their chicken in NyQuil.

In response to a “social media video challenge” seen on TikTok and Twitter, the Food and Drug Administration released a warning on the risks of cooking chicken in the cough medicine.

Though TikTok has removed videos that show users pan-frying chicken breast while pouring NyQuil over them, videos of users commenting on the absurdity of the trend remain on the app.

TikTok has included a warning on some of these videos that reads: “Participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt.”

A search for “NyQuil chicken” directs users to a page asking them to “make informed decisions” regarding viral challenges.

The FDA said inhaling NyQuil when it’s boiling may result in lung damage or dangerously high levels of the medicine entering the body.

Procter & Gamble, NyQuil’s parent company, also warned against taking the medication outside the recommended dosage in a statement: “At P&G, consumer safety is our number one priority, and we do not endorse any inappropriate use of our product. NyQuil is an over the counter medication that treats nighttime symptoms of the common cold and flu. It should only be taken as directed using the dosage cup provided.”

Eating ‘NyQuil chicken’ can cause liver damage and muscle breakdown, and you can get sick just by inhaling the vapor

Taking too much acetaminophen, one of the active ingredients in NyQuil, can cause toxic byproducts to build up and damage the liver. The warning signs of liver damage — vomiting, nausea, and pain on the right side — are similar to cold and flu symptoms, potentially leading to delayed care.

Dr. Josh Trebach, an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said cooking chicken in NyQuil makes it difficult to determine how much of the medication you’ve actually taken. 

“If you use a whole bottle of NyQuil to cook your chicken, how much NyQuil are you ingesting with just one bite of chicken? No one knows,” Trebach told Insider.

If untreated, acetaminophen toxicity can lead to serious health conditions like liver failure, coma, and blindness.

Other ingredients in NyQuil can cause further health problems, Trebach said. Too much dextromethorphan can cause altered mental status, and doxylamine toxicity can lead to to seizures, muscle breakdown, blurry vision, and fast heart rates.

Trebach said he has treated patients in the hospital who have participated in previous viral challenges. 

“We must continue to be vigilant for these emerging trends so that we can be vocal about the dangers associated with them and prevent anyone else from getting harmed,” Trebach said.



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