Bob Delmont

Bob Delmont

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FDA now says Biggest decongestant does not work!

Woman taking pills from medicine cabinet

Photo: Comstock / Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Nice to know we've collectively wasted BILLIONS on this stuff: An advisory panel for the FDA announced yesterday that the most popular decongestant in America doesn't actually WORK.

Great. I've been feeling like crap all week and taking this stuff twice a day. No wonder I'm not feeling any better.

It's called phenylephrine.  (feh-null-EHH-freen) It's in a ton of cold medicines, including



*Vicks Sinex Nasal Spray

*Tylenol Cold & Flu

*Benadryl Allergy Plus

*Certain types of Robitussin

*Sudafed P.E.  (A lot of those do have other ingredients that help with symptoms.)

All 16 committee members agreed it's not dangerous, but there's no real proof it helps when you're stuffed up. So they think it should be pulled from shelves. Quote, "We should not have products on the market that are not effective."

The FDA said they'll take it into consideration. If they agree, drug companies would have to remove it from decongestants and reformulate their products.

It first got approved in the 1970s. But drug companies weren't using it a lot until 2005, when a different decongestant got restricted thanks to METH.

That one is pseudoephedrine.  (sue-doe-uh-FEH-drin) It's in the better type of Sudafed that DOES work. It's just harder to get now, because people kept stealing it to make meth.

The one the FDA panel ruled on yesterday has NEVER been proven to work. Back in 2007, a different panel only said it MIGHT be effective. But patients and doctors have been saying for years that it doesn't seem to do much.

The various cold medicines it's in generated almost $1.8 BILLION in sales last year alone. 


(CNN / NBC News)

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