• The FDA warned the public about the sleepy chicken challenge
  • Many experts have since followed suit, explaining the health risks linked to the trend
  • One of them cited unwanted symptoms that may arise after "NyQuil chicken" consumption

The sleepy chicken challenge, a viral trend that urges people to cook chicken in NyQuil, an over-the-counter cough syrup, has been called out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the agency calling the practice "very unsafe."

The FDA issued a warning on Sept. 15, branding the cooking challenge as "silly and unappetizing." The agency also noted that boiling the medication makes it much more concentrated and forces a high amount of the drug into the body, which, in turn, proves dangerous to the lungs. Moreover, inhaling NyQuil when it is boiling also comes with its own list of health hazards, according to the FDA.

Entering the search term "NyQuil Chicken" on TikTok brings up multiple videos of the bizarre cooking practice, albeit with a customary safety warning after FDA pointed out the potential health risks associated with it.

NyQuil, which contains a combination of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine, is meant to treat night-time flu. While it works to dial down the unease caused by the common cold, the medication also has sleep-inducing properties, something that makes it notably unfit for overconsumption.

The "recipe" typically demands pouring the entire bottle on the pan, which exceeds the prescribed amount of 30 milliliters in six hourly intervals, as mentioned on NyQuil's website.

To emphasize the obvious health risks, Well+Good sought an expert commentary from toxicologist Kelly Johnson-Arbor, who is serving as co-medical director at the National Capital Poison Center.

In her statement to the publication, Johnson-Arbor seemed to echo the same concerns raised by the FDA authorities. "The NyQuil Chicken trend is potentially dangerous because cough and cold medications, such as NyQuil, can cause unwanted symptoms — some of which can be life-threatening — when used incorrectly," she explained.

Johnson-Arbor is particularly concerned about how the amount of NyQuil consumed. "In the TikTok videos, people typically pour an entire bottle of NyQuil into the pan in which the chicken is being cooked. This means that the chicken is being marinated in high doses of NyQuil — and high doses of acetaminophen, doxylamine, dextromethorphan or whatever other medications are contained in the NyQuil," she told the outlet.

Dr. Josh Trebach, an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic, also gave his two cents about the trend. In his statement to Insider, Trebach said that acetaminophen toxicity could lead to a bunch of other health issues like liver failure, coma and blindness, while too much dextromethorphan can lead to altered mental status.

Trebach added that doxylamine toxicity can lead to seizures, muscle breakdown, blurry vision and fast heart rates.

Chicken Breast
Representative image Siwon Lee/Pixabay