Pharmacy resident talks about decongestant alternatives after FDA says some aren’t effective

Sudafed PE (Courtesy: KNOE)
Sudafed PE (Courtesy: KNOE)(KNOE)
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:40 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The FDA recently ruled that some common decongestants people use aren’t actually very effective.

Heather King, a pharmacy resident at Novant Health, says it’s a conversation they have often nowadays to make sure that patients are getting the best treatment with their medication.

Sudafed PE is one of those medications that medical experts don’t recommend taking anymore, but regular Sudafed is still recommended.

“So, with the PE, that’s when Phenylephrine is the active ingredient. Sudafed by itself, without the PE on the end, that pseudoephedrine, so it’s a different active ingredient, which is shown to be very effective for relieving nasal congestion,” King said.

She said there are other options too like nasal sprays, but some of those aren’t meant for longterm use because it can make congestion worse.

But King says this doesn’t mean that you need to throw out everything in your medicine cabinet.

“So, there are a lot of combination of brand name products that have more than one active ingredient in and so Phenylephrine being in there isn’t going to make the other active ingredients less effective. And Phenylephrine has been deemed ineffective, but it’s still safe. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw away all the cough and cold medicine you’ve already purchased is just not necessarily the most effective thing for those symptoms,” King said.

King added that if you’re taking a medication like Sudafed for seven days and don’t see an improvement in your symptoms, then you should see a doctor.