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Health Team

Changes in Cold Medicines Can Reduce Effects

Posted February 7, 2007

There's a lot of sniffling and coughing going around. If you look for relief on drug-store shelves, you might be a little confused. You also might still be sniffling even after you select a product.

Some familiar-looking products may not even work as well as they used to because of changes in the ingredients. WRAL’s Health Team took a look at why that is.

Last year, a new law required products with pseudo-ephedrine to be sold behind the counter at stores. You have to sign for it, and there are restrictions on the amount you can buy.

That was because some people used mass quantities of pseudo-ephedrine to make meth, an illegal drug.

Now, pharmacy shelves display decongestants like Sudafed-PE—which does not contain pseudo-ephedrine. Instead, it has a new ingredient called phenyl-ephrine, or PE. Some new research shows, however, that PE doesn't work any better than a placebo for stopping symptoms.
8 Comments

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  • usnn Feb 14, 2007

    This is a terrible law, authored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

    The problem is now MOST PHARMACIES don't even have any psuedoephedrine behind the counter. The problem is, the only people that are suffering are not the meth addicts, but the actual sinus-allergy- and cold sufferers.

    Have you noticed any lessening of the meth problem due to this law? The answer is no. This is a ridiculous idea. The ONLY place to get the real Sudafed is at drugstore.com.

  • the pied piper Feb 8, 2007

    We have to suffer because a few meth makers needed the bucks. Now, they'll just find something else to make, that may be more dangerous. Thanks a lot, Mr. Lawman and drug dealers! I can now easily sleep at night with a cold (NOT!) knowing that the law is protecting me and my family.

  • jaynet Feb 8, 2007

    Sudafed PE not only is not effective as a decongestant, it also causes heart problems. After only a couple of days of taking it my heart started skipping beats, 3 times in 15 seconds, so the doctor ran all sorts of tests, at my expense, and could find nothing wrong. Stopped taking the Sudafed PE, heart stopped skipping, started taking it again, heart started back skipping beats. This is an otherwise very healthy and athletic person.

  • Forgetaboutit Feb 8, 2007

    Everyone just wash your hands, frequently...please!

  • yeshuathemessiah Feb 8, 2007

    This is an outrage!

  • tell.the.truth.and.run Feb 7, 2007

    This particular law is just one more that causes more problems for honest folk than is necessary. Rather than just lock up the tablets that can be used to make meth, they lock up all forms of pseudoephedrine. Liqui-gels weren't a problem, and could easily have stayed on the shelves. Thanks to public panic and a knee-jerk reaction by government, though, we now are stuck with ineffective medicines. Unless, of course, we're willing to be catalogued and tracked like animals just for seeking good cold/sinus relief. Ridiculous!

  • teddybear199 Feb 7, 2007

    I HAVE TO AGREE, MY HOME HAS HAD A COLD FLOATING AROUND FOR MONTHS, YET I HAVE YET TO FIND ANYTHING TO HELP US SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT..WE ARE STILL STUFFED UP.

  • Ladybug Feb 7, 2007

    This seems to be fraud on behalf of the companies that have taken ingredients out of these products without letting the public know. Here I've spent over $40 over the last few months on products that haven't helped my cold and wondered why since they used to work.