The Islamic Post Blog


Common Medicines Classified ‘Unsafe’ by Khalida
May 21, 2009, 7:18 am
Filed under: May Volume I - 2009, Science | Tags:

By Asma A. Adl
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP) –The counter (OTC) drug called phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (PPA) has been widely used for many years as a nasal decongestant in OTC products as well as prescription and weight control products.
The FDA states that they started scientific reviews of OTC drug products in the 1970s, wanting to test the safety and effectiveness of products marketed in the United States. In 1976 the use of PPA was deemed safe for nasal decongestants by an expert panel and given the go ahead by a different panel in 1982 for weight control. The FDA, however, makes mention that they had not completed their own safety and effectiveness tests due to the occasional reports of the association of the drugs and with hemorrhagic strokes.
A hemorrhagic stroke is the bleeding inside of the brain and in its surrounding tissue. With the association of PPA and these strokes, pharmaceutical industries were requested by the FDA in 2000 to evaluate the risks of taking drugs containing PPA. The industry study was case controlled and consisted of people 18-49 years old. The subjects had been recently hospitalized with subarachnoid or intercerebral hemorrhages. For women using PPA for weight control, the increased risk occurred after 3 days, and for women using the drug as a nasal decongestant product, it occurred after the first day. The reported exposure was verified by the study investigators.
A few over the counter medications that have contained PPA are as follows: Alka-seltzer plus cold medicine; Alka-seltzer plus cold and flu; Alka-seltzer cold and sinus effervescent; BC Allergy sinus cold powder; Comtrex flu therapy & fever relief; Contac 12 hour tablets; Dimetapp Elixir; Dimetapp Cold & Cough liquid-gels; Robitussin CF; Triaminic Cold and Cough, allergy, and chest and head; Dexatrim products; Triaminic products and Triaminic childrens products.
The FDA, however, does not keep an updated list of products containing PPA as companies continue to reformulate their products. Therefore ingredient lists should be regularly checked.

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