The Food and Drug Administration’s independent Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee Sept. 12 by unanimous vote declared oral phenylephrine ineffective as a decongestant. Phenylephrine is a common active ingredient in over-the-counter medications sold under the Nyquil, Tylenol, Advil, Robitussin, Sudafed and Benadryl brands, to name a few. FDA is not bound to the committee’s recommendations, but the agency’s own analysis presented prior to the panel’s meeting concluded that oral phenylephrine formulations are safe but ineffective at standard or even higher doses. The vote paves the way for products containing oral phenylephrine potentially being pulled from shelves until reformulated versions are offered.

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