The leading decongestant used by millions of Americans looking for relief from a stuffy nose is no better than a dummy pill, according to government experts who reviewed the latest research on the long-questioned drug ingredient.
Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Tuesday against the effectiveness of the key drug found in popular versions of Sudafed, Dayquil and other medications stocked on store shelves.
“Modern studies, when well conducted, are not showing any improvement in congestion with phenylephrine,” said Dr. Mark Dykewicz, an allergy specialist at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
If the FDA follows through on the panel’s recommendations, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and other drugmakers could be required to pull their oral medications containing phenylephrine from store shelves.
In that scenario, the FDA would have to work with drugstores, pharmacists and other health providers to educate consumers about the remaining options for treating congestion, panelists said Tuesday.