NyQuil chicken can be harmful to your health

A look at the history of NyQuil Chicken and some of the harm it can do.

If you’ve been on social media in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen this viral trend of people cooking chicken infused with the popular cold medicine NyQuil.

Photo by Philippe Zuber on Unsplash

It started back in April of 2017 on the popular social media platform 4Chan where a user on the site posted a picture of themselves showing their process of creating the monstrosity known as a “sleepy chicken”. Many users on the site had some mixed reactions to the “sleepy chicken”, but a majority of them were horrified by the creation.

The trend of cooking “sleepy chicken” has been popular on social media over the years and has recently blown up again with the help of TikTok.

On the popular social media platform, people would show themselves cooking chicken with multiple methods. Some of the methods include pan-frying the chicken in NyQuil and boiling the chicken in NyQuil.

With the surge of people cooking chicken the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to chime in to tell people to cease the trend.

In a recent statement from the FDA, it’s reported, “Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.”

Photo by Scott Olson on Getty Images

Many health experts also agreed with the claims the FDA has told people such as one doctor named Betty Choi, an M.D., pediatrician, and author of “Human Body Learning Lab.” In a statement, she wrote, “This is a terrible idea because medication should only be used as directed.”


Another health expert that agrees with the FDA is Kelly Johnson-Arbor, M.D., FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, a medical toxicologist and co-medical Director at National Capital Poison Center. Johnson-Arbor tells people that simply heating NyQuil even without consuming it can make it more potent.

Johnson-Arbor was quoted, as saying, “When the pan is heated, alcohol and other volatile compounds present in the NyQuil will evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated amount of potentially poisonous NyQuil ingredients.”

Nevertheless, with the extensive amount of health experts advising people to never combine NyQuil with chicken and consume it. It is highly advised to never do this — even if it is for the meme and to get social media clout.