A warning about a dangerous food challenge issued by the US Food and Drug Administration has had the opposite effect — and instead spurred searches for it.
Known as the “NyQuil chicken” or “sleepy chicken” challenge on TikTok and other platforms, the viral trend involves marinating chicken breasts in the cold and flu syrup and then eating the results.
According to data from a TikTok spokesperson sent to BuzzFeed News, before the FDA released a statement about the challenge, there were less than five searches online.
Then, on Sept. 15, the FDA issued a warning against the dangerous practice and searches shoot to over 7,000.
The FDA said, “Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways.” The agency added that even inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body.
“It could also hurt your lungs,” the warning continued. “Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”
It’s unclear why the FDA only now issued the warning about the challenge, since videos have been circulating online for months.
Clips reposted primarily on TikTok show people cooking a chicken breast and pouring large amounts of the liquid medication — which contains acetaminophen, dextromethorphan HBr and doxylamine succinate — into the pan, coating and submerging the meat in it.
NyQuil have also tweeted about the challenge, which appears to have brought more attention to the situation.