CVS removes cold medicine containing phenylephrine from shelves

DORAL, FL – Now some cold medicine containing phenylephrine will no longer be available at CVS Health Pharmacies after and advisory panel from the FDA ruled that the active ingredient was ineffective.

Such statement had also been made by doctors and researchers, while studies conducted in the past few years by Merck and Johnson & Johnson have shown no difference for alleviating congestion between cold medicine containing phenylephrine and placebos. 

According to the drug store chain, a small number of oral decongestants containing only the active ingredient will be removed from shelves. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously last month against the effectiveness of phenylephrine, found in some versions of Sudafed, Dayquil and other medications.

They said the drug is seemingly more effective when it’s applied directly to the nose, in sprays or drops. Those products are not under review. 

Phenylephrine became the main ingredient in decongestants after it was discovered an old one called pseudoephedrine could be illegally processed into methamphetamine. A 2006 law forced CVS to move this drug behind pharmacy counters for the previous reason. 

CVS Health runs more than 9,000 stores in the United States and the announcement comes shortly before the cold-and-flu season kicks in with the beginning of winter. However, according to reports the original versions of Sudafed and other medicines remain available without prescription. 


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