Are Social Media Challenges a Recipe For Disaster?

Believe it or not, the FDA has been forced to issue a warning NOT to cook chicken in NyQuil.  It is in response to a new, popular TikTok trend among young people. It comes on the heals of adolescents engaging in dangerous behaviors encouraged on the popular app, like eating Tide Pods.

In a statement, the FDA warns: “One social media trend relying on peer pressure is online video clips of people misusing nonprescription medications and encouraging viewers to do so too. These video challenges, which often target youths, can harm people — and even cause death,”

One recent challenge posted on social media encouraged people to cook chicken in a mixture of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine – the basic ingredients of NyQuil and some similar over-the-counter cough and cold products.

The Dangers of Social Media Challenges with Drugs

Because the teenage brain isn’t fully developed, teens may act without understand consequences.

“Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways,” the FDA said. “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.”

The agency also pointed to a TikTok challenge daring people to hallucinate by taking large doses of the over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine. Called the “Benadryl Challenge,” the FDA cited reports of teens ending up in hospital emergency rooms or dying after participating.

For doctors, it means that counseling your younger patients on the dangers of these popular challenges should be happening on each visit.

The FDA’s warning, ‘A Recipe for Danger:  Social Media Challenges Involving Medicines’ can be read in full by clicking here.