When we have a cold, we often pick up some over-the-counter medicine to help relieve our symptoms. We know there isn’t a cure for the common cold, but some medications can help us feel better in the meantime.
Some cold medicines offer to relieve congestion, and they have a common ingredient: Phenylephrine. That drug claims to provide the relief we desire. The problem is that a minimum of four studies show it doesn’t do anything to relieve congestion, according to Science.
According to a researcher working at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Jonathan Burstein, it isn’t the drug that’s the problem; it’s how we take it. According to Denver 7, he said it just goes to the gut when we swallow it, and it is inactivated because of an enzyme in the stomach.
In other words, it doesn’t get into the bloodstream, and it doesn’t effectively relieve congestion.
As a result of these findings, Berenstein would like the FDA to remove the medication from the market if it is in oral medicine. The request is being taken under advisement by the FDA, per Denver 7.
Although they are thinking about it, Berenstein doesn’t feel they have it on their high-priority list because it is a non-toxic medicine.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology also spoke out against the pills that contain Phenylephrine. They spoke about research that showed it was ineffective at helping with the condition, according to Denver 7.
The big problem, as far as Burstein is concerned, is the economic waste of purchasing ineffective medicine. When you buy something to use as a therapy to make you feel better, getting something ineffective will only extend your problem.
According to the Advisory Board, however, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said that the ingredient is effective and safe and studies show that only using Phenylephrine as a nasal spray makes it effective.