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Dangers and sources of Phenylpropanolamine

Posted Mar 24 2010 5:54am


Chemistry was a bizarre subject to study in high school. There was general chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry and finally, the one that I hated the most, organic chemistry. So every time I walk into a drugstore and look at the chemist, I find myself sympathizing with the poor chap who had to read words that were quadri-syllabic at the least that were largely a part of abstract theories that were conceptualized by some aging whiz with a receding hairline in a lab located in the middle of nowhere.

And of course, one of the applications of chemistry is in the making of drugs which relieve pain, make old men virile and so on and so forth.

Some of these drugs 'help' both animals and humans alike, and in the case of the drug Phenylpropanolamine (for which you'd need a speech impediment curing drug once you get past pronouncing the word), it is used as a decongestant and an appetite suppressant in humans as well as to control urinary incontinence in 'bitches' (pun not intended!) as a veterinary drug.

Sources of Phenylpropanolamine (PPA)

According to a warning issued by the FDA in December 2005, the notice clearly banned all medicine containing the compound Phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride that came in pills for cold, flus, sinus, cough, dietary supplements and appetite control.

Alka-Seltzer Plus, BC Sinus Allergy and Cold Powders, Comtrex pills for fever, flu and cold congestion, Contac 12-hour capsules & caplets, Coricidin for cold, flu and sinus, Dimetapp tablets, Elixir and Liqui Gels, Naldecon DX Pediatric Drops, Permathene Mega-16, Robitussin CF, Tavist-D, Triaminic syrup for cold, Acutrim Diet Suppressants, Dietary Supplements and the Dexatrim Caffeine free diet pills and Gelcaps.

The companies that manufactured these medicines were asked to take them off shelves as well as customers were asked to request for a refund if they had bought these medicines during the issue of the warning.

The main reason for this drastic action was due to a study conducted which analyzed the condition of about 702 patients (both men and women) that were between the age of 18 to 49 years of age, showing an occurrence of a subarachnoid or intracerebral hemorrhage within 30 days before enrollment at the hospital.

The study showed that women were more susceptible to a hemorrhagic stroke due to blood pressure irregularities when using appetite suppressants or cough and cold remedies, and the rest as they say is history.

And yes, the medicine for dogs continue to be in use…

Dangers of Phenylpropanolamine (PPA)

Apart from the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, studies since the 1960s have also reported a link between acute mania, paranoid schizophrenia, and organic psychosis and the use of PPA medication.

Among these two threats, PPA is also known to cause emesis, tachycardia, reversible renal failure, palpitations, myalgias, paresthesias, tremor, anxiety and nausea.

And strangely enough, the diet pills containing PPA are not effective either much like amphetamines in the 60s which only worked for a short period and after a long period of use caused paranoia, exhaustion and anorexia.

In Closing

On a blog somewhere I read a story of a mother who passed away from a stroke because of using PPA, and then it struck me that there is very little that we know about the pills, syrups, vitamin supplements that we take as some people allege that these side effects were known to pharmaceutical companies since the 60s, when the ones who should have been kept informed were the folks who were taking medication containing this companies. Maybe it was a natural distaste for multisyllabic words or chemistry or even a collective case of attention hyper deficit disorder… who knows?

Conspiracy theory or not… one thing's for sure… they've got our attention now, don't they?

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