We're taking away your sudafed, but here's something that doesn't work

| Comments (2) | Outstanding! Pharma
As you may have noticed, it's become quite inconvenient to get pseudoephedrine. Luckily, Pfizer has rolled out a replacement, Sudafed PE, containing phenylephrine, a common topical nasal decongestant Not so luckily, there's no good evidence that it works as an oral decongestant, and substantial reason to think it doesn't, as indicated in this review by Ronald Eccles (þ Robert Cohen via Radley Balko) :
The aim of this review was to investigate the rationale for replacing the nasal decongestant pseudoephedrine (PDE) with phenylephrine (PE) as a means of controlling the illicit production of methamphetamine. A literature search was conducted in electronic databases and use of textbooks. Restrictions have been placed on the sale of PDE in the USA in an attempt to control the illicit production of methamphetamine. This has caused a switch from PDE to PE in many common cold and cough medicines. PE is a poor substitute for PDE as an orally administered decongestant as it is extensively metabolized in the gut and its efficacy as a decongestant is unproven.

Pseudoephedrine, by the way, does work. Outstanding!


I can confirm this from my own experience. It has driven me back into the arms of Afrin, whose addictive properties are well known, but which works like a champ at drying me out. It has also driven several folks I know to get pseudoephedrine in bulk and stash it, thus making them look like meth-cookers when they are not.

Go, War on Drugs!

I had an interesting PDE experience tonight. I went to purchase Children's Sudafed Liquid because both my kids have colds.

I was told they pulled it from the market until they could reformulate it with PE. In the meantime, you couldn't even get the PDE version from behind the pharmacist's counter.

But get this, Infant's Sudafed Drops (with PDE) are still on the market. They're just a higher concentration of Sudafed liquid in a smaller bottle. It's hard to know where to start on what's wrong with this picture.

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