COLORADO SPRINGS — An FDA advisory committee recently announced the main ingredient in common cold medicines does not work.
The drug is known as phenylephrine. It’s found in medicine you probably have at home, like Dayquil and Mucinex.
The drug is thought to relieve congestion by reducing swelling in the nose. However, new evidence suggests the oral form of the drug is not effective. F-D-A experts are worried the drug could be dangerous for consumers to use in the meantime. A local pharmacist tells me if you’re sick, there are other options.
“There is Sudafed. That is a medication that you get behind the pharmacy. There’s only a certain amount you can get by day or per month and you have to show an I.D. to purchase it. It is not recommended for anyone who has heart issues. There is also Afrin which is a nasal spray,” said Keaton Andrus, a pharmacist at St. Francis Hospital.
The F-D-A will have to vote on whether to take the drug off the shelves. The date for that vote has yet to be announced. Also, nasal sprays that contain the drug show evidence of being more effective. It’s just the oral form that is being questioned.
“There’s also the Neti Pot, which I personally like. It’s like a saline flush. Some people don’t enjoy using it because it feels weird but it’s a nice, holistic, natural way to clean your passages,” said Andrus.
Phenylephrine is the most popular oral decongestant in the U.S. It generated $1.8 billion in sales last year.
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