FDA Warns of New Social Media Challenge With OTC Cough, Cold Medications

In a recent social media video challenge, individuals were encouraged to cook chicken in NyQuil or another similar OTC cough and cold medication.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety warning related to another social media challenge involving the use of an over-the-counter medication.

In a recent social media video, individuals were encouraged to cook chicken in NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, doxylamine) or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat. According to the Agency, boiling a medication could enhance its concentration and change its properties in other ways. Even if not ingested, inhaling the vapors while cooking food in the medication could potentially result in damage to the lungs.

In September 2020, a social media challenge on the application TikTok prompted the FDA to issue a warning about the dangers of consuming higher than recommended doses of the OTC allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl). This challenge resulted in reports of teenagers needing to go to the emergency room or, in certain cases, dying after ingesting high doses of diphenhydramine. Adverse events involving any medication, including OTC drugs, should be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch program.


A recipe for danger: social media challenges involving medicines. News release. US Food and Drug Administration. September 15, 2022. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/recipe-danger-social-media-challenges-involving-medicines