Common cold conundrum


I am a member of a web group called SparkPeople. This morning one of our members posted a shocking report concerning common medications for the common cold. I am printing the message in its entirety for your information. I am trying to verify its validity and will confirm – but wanted to pass this along for your consideration.

Update: I have reviewed several reliable websites concerning this warning, and it appears it is outdated information which is still circulating. We’re leaving it on the site as a matter of information. Apparently there is some truth to the rumor based on a recall that took place in 2000. I urge you to check with your pharmacist.

The Sparkpeople member wrote:

“I would like to thank those of you who expressed condolences on the recent passing of my mother. She suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while she was driving home from my house on July 30th and passed away on August 3rd. My mother’s stroke and passing was an enormous shock to my family, because she did not have any symptoms or risk factors for a stroke. Just the week before she had gone to her doctor for a check up and received a clean bill of health.
She did, however, develop a cold while she was visiting me and had taken Alka Seltzer Cold Plus for 3 days. Since her passing, we have learned that Alka Seltzer is one of the many cold medicines that contains Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which can cause hemorrhagic stokes or cerebral bleeding, even with the first use. I am forwarding a list of other medications that currently use PPA. These medicines are supposedly being recalled but my mother just purchased this medication less than two weeks ago. Pharmaceutical companies have known about this danger for years, we unfortunately, did not.
I urge you to review the list of medicines with PPA and avoid these medications. All drugs containing PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE are dangerous. You may want to try calling the 800 number listed on most drug boxes and inquire about a REFUND. Please read this CAREFULLY. Also, please pass this on to everyone you know. STOP TAKING anything containing this ingredient.
It has been linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain) among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of the medication. Problems were not found in men, but the FDA recommended that everyone (even children) seek alternative medicine.
The following medications contain Phenylpropanolamine :-
1. Acutrim Diet Gum Appetite Suppressant
2. Acutrim Plus Dietary Supplements
3 Acutrim Maximum Strength Appetite Control
4. Alka-Seltzer Plus Children’s Cold Medicine Effervescent
5. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine (Cherry or Orange )
6. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine Original
7. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine Effervescent
8. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu Medicine
9. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Effervescent
10. Alka Seltzer Plus Night- Time Cold Medicine
11.. BC Allergy Sinus Cold Powder
12. BC Sinus Cold Powder
13. Comtrex Flu Therapy & Fever Relief
14. Day & Night Contac 12-Hour Cold Capsules
15. Contac 12 Hour Caplets
16. Coricidin D Cold, Flu & Sinus
17. Dexatrim Caffeine Free
18. Dexatrim Extended Duration
19. Dexatrim Gelcaps
20. Dexatrim Vitamin C/Caffeine Free
21. Dimetapp Cold & Allergy Chewable Tablets
22. Dimetapp Cold & Cough Liqui-Gels
23. Dimetapp DM Cold & Cough Elixir
24. Dimetapp Elixir
25. Dimetapp 4-Hour Liquid Gels
26. Dimetapp 4-Hour Tablets
27. Dimetapp 12-Hour Extentabs Tablets
28. Naldecon DX Pediatric Drops
29. Permathene Mega-16
30. Robitussin CF
31. Tavist-D 12-Hour Relief of Sinus & Nasal Congestion
32. Triaminic DM Cough Relief
33. Triaminic Expectorant Chest & Head

More on this story…

I discovered Tthe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did issue a public health advisory in 2000 concerning phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride. FDA announced it was taking steps to remove phenylpropanolamine from all drug products and has requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing phenylpropanolamine.

Although this risk of hemorrhagic stroke is very low, FDA had significant concerns because of the seriousness of a stroke and the inability to predict who is at risk. FDA does not consider the conditions for which phenylpropanolamine is used (over-the-counter or by prescription) as justifying the risk of this serious event. Other products are available for use.

In the meantime, consumers can identify over-the-counter cough-cold, nasal decongestant, and weight control products containing this ingredient by looking for “phenylpropanolamine” in the list of active ingredients on the label.

Consumers can check with their health care provider or pharmacist to see whether their prescription cough-cold or nasal decongestant product contains phenylpropanolamine. We advise consumers to discuss alternative over-the-counter and prescription products with their health care providers or pharmacists.

I have three of these meds in my medicine cabinet – two contain the questionable ingredient – that tells you how old the pills probably are. I don’t know if I should keep them or not. I guess chicken soup and bed rest are our best options.

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