Change to popular cold medicine

September 12, 2023
Tissue and cups

It doesn’t work.

Dr. Paul Pisaric of Archwell Health in Oklahoma on a common ingredient in cold medicine: phenylephrine. An FDA advisory panel voted against the ingredient – potentially a first step in removing it from store shelves.

Why It Matters: Phenylephrine is a popular ingredient in decongestants, becoming available after cold medicine with pseudoephedrine became more limited (often moved behind the counter and requiring ID). Questions about the drugs effectiveness have swirled for years – including several studies showing it as not effective in its current common form (a tab) and dosage. An independent FDA advisory panel unanimously voted in agreement against the use of the ingredient as currently available.

What would this mean? "If the FDA follows through on the panel’s recommendations, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and other drugmakers could be required to pull their oral medications containing phenylephrine from store shelves. That would likely force consumers to switch to the behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine products or to phenylephrine-based nasal sprays and drops" (The Associated Press).

Something To Consider: North America held the largest share in the Decongestants Market (40%) in 2021.

Popular OTC medicines for colds and allergies don’t work, FDA panel says

by Jenna Lee,