Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Cold Medicine Found Not to Work

Cold Medicine Found Not to Work


A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously that oral phenylephrine was not effective in unblocking sinuses and clearing stuffy noses. The drug has been in use for nearly a century and is an ingredient in more than 200 over-the-counter decongestants. Drug stores have begun removing these products from the shelves.

The decision by the FDA was the result of decades of research and an unwavering commitment by two University of Florida pharmacists to remove decongestants from the market that contained an ingredient that was no better than a placebo.