A bunch of major cold medicines apparently do nothing to relieve congestion. I feel betrayed.
· Dec 22, 2022 · NottheBee.com

If you ever pop a Mucinex in the hopes of getting rid of that stuffy nose, and then hours later you're still...

...don't worry, you're not going crazy:

Some of the most widely used decongestants don't work, several studies have found, prompting doctors and researchers to call for ending sales of the drugs.

Versions of Benadryl, Mucinex and Tylenol, which more people are taking now as reports of respiratory infections increase, are among dozens of over-the-counter pills, syrups and liquids that rely on an ingredient called phenylephrine to clear up stuffy noses. The ingredient has proven safe, but at least four studies have found the medicines don't relieve congestion.

Citing the findings, doctors, pharmacists and groups including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy have said the pills shouldn't be sold.

"Why give something if it has no benefit?" said Eli Meltzer, an allergist in San Diego who performed some testing. "It's a waste of money."

Um, yes. Yes it is. I don't know about you but congestion is maybe the worst part of a cold. It's just awful. If I'm shelling out bucks for a medicine I've been led to believe is a dang mucus thinner, I expect to have my mucus thinned!

It looks like we're unlikely to see any action on this for a while, though:

Stefanie Ferreri, a professor at the University of North Carolina's Eshelman School of Pharmacy, who isn't involved in the petition but has followed the issue, said the FDA is probably not taking action because people face low risk of harm. ...

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, an industry trade group, said the medicines should remain on the market. The FDA recognized that phenylephrine works safely as an oral decongestant, and its member companies comply with federal regulations, a group spokesman said.

Johnson & Johnson, which sells Tylenol and Benadryl, said phenylephrine is recognized by the FDA to work safely, and it evaluates the latest science, safety information and regulatory information on all its products.

In other words, the government knows these drugs apparently don't do what they're advertised as doing; the trade groups know it; the companies know it.

And yet when we ask if they're going to do anything about it, the response is:

Guess it's just stuffy noses for the foreseeable future, folks.

Ready to join the conversation? Subscribe today.

Access comments and our fully-featured social platform.

Sign up Now
App screenshot