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Phenylephrine: Commonly used decongestant in cold and flu remedies doesn’t work, says FDA

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 18 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2124
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that the decongestant phenylephrine, used in hundreds of over-the-counter cold, flu, and allergy remedies, does not work.123

The regulator’s independent Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee voted unanimously that “orally administered phenylephrine is not effective as a nasal decongestant at the monographed dosage (10 mg of phenylephrine hydrochloride every 4 hours) as well as at doses up to 40 mg (dosed every 4 hours).” The committee said that phenylephrine is still effective in nasal sprays and drops, which are less commonly used.

Phenylephrine …

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