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Medicine Science

The Popular Over-The-Counter Cold Medicine That Science Says Doesn't Work (forbes.com) 310

HughPickens.com writes: Back before methamphetamine cooks started buying up non-prescription decongestants to brew crank, all of us were able to buy effective decongestants right off the store shelf without a problem. Now David DiSalvo writes at Forbes that to fill the store-shelf void, drug companies substituted the already-FDA approved ingredient phenylephrine for pseudoephedrine. But the oral decongestant phenylephrine simply doesn't work at the FDA-approved amount found in popular non-prescription brands, and it may not even work at much higher doses. Researchers at the University of Florida are asking the FDA to remove oral phenylephrine from the market. "We think the evidence supports that phenylephrine's status as a safe and effective over-the-counter product should be changed," says Randy Hatton. "We are looking out for the consumer, and he or she needs to know that science says that oral phenylephrine does not work for the majority of people."

In 1976, the FDA deemed a 10 milligram oral dose of phenylephrine safe and effective at relieving congestion, making it possible for companies to use the ingredient without conducting studies. But Leslie Hendeles and Hatton say phenylephrine does not effectively relieve nasal stuffiness at this dose. They say the FDA cited four tests demonstrating efficacy at the 10 milligram dose, two of which were unpublished and sponsored by drug manufacturers. In contrast, the FDA cited six tests demonstrating no significant difference between phenylephrine and placebo. Hendeles said a higher dose may work, but no research has been published regarding safety at higher doses. "They need to do a dose-response study to determine at what higher dose they get both efficacy and safety," says Hendeles adding that until then "consumers should go that extra step and get it (pseudoephedrine) from behind the counter."

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The Popular Over-The-Counter Cold Medicine That Science Says Doesn't Work

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  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:24AM (#50808749)

    Anyone who has taken a product sans pseudoephedrine already knows they don't work.

    • I'm all Afrin now (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:37AM (#50808819) Homepage Journal

      After CMEA, I switched to oxymetazoline nasal spray, which works better than oral pseudoephedrine ever did. People say Afrin can be addictive, but I reduce risk of rebound congestion by using it in one nostril in the morning and the other at night.

      • Re:I'm all Afrin now (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:51AM (#50808903)

        Yeah but pseudoephedrine relieves all congestion, not just nasal.

        • Re:I'm all Afrin now (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @09:55AM (#50809391)

          ^^^ THIS ^^^

          Usually when I get a bad head cold, it's my ears that get plugged up to the point that I become almost deaf. Then I head to the pharmacy, get the "you dirty meth head!" look, try my best to interact with them verbally (maybe I should learn sign language), get more "you druggie!" looks, sign the "I'm a COW! Mooo!" form, take 2, and in 15 minutes my ears completely unplug.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Usually when I get a bad head cold, it's my ears that get plugged up to the point that I become almost deaf.

            Are you sure it isn't just ear wax? Usually Debrox (carbamide peroxide ear drops) clears that up for me.

      • Re:I'm all Afrin now (Score:5, Interesting)

        by thoromyr ( 673646 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:21AM (#50809647)

        Afrin is pure, unadulterated evil. It is, far and away, the best decongestant on the market, bar none. It is also over the counter.

        It is wrong, IMO, to describe it as addictive due to the connotations of that word. There are no cravings that result from Afrin use. No one is going to feel a compulsion that they "just gotta have it". No junkie related crime. What *does* happen is that your body starts to rely on Afrin to keep the airways clear. Without it, you are stopped up and cannot breath. Even worse, after prolonged use the efficacy of Afrin is decreased. So eventually you will be using it three shots each nostril several times a day and still not be able to breathe.

        Thankfully, you *can* wean yourself off of Afrin. It is miserable, however, and not likely something you want to go through. The sooner you start the better. Although I've never had the misfortune to abuse Afrin like that I've known multiple people who have. At the beginning they talk about how wonderful it is (and it doesn't hurt that it is "just over the counter" so "it must be safe"), then they have to recover from it. I have significant long term breathing issues and at least twice a year I have to use Afrin for a few days in a row. Even at that I eventually noticed a diminishment of effect.

        The fact that something so debilitating, so damaging to the user's health, is sold over the counter while other less harmful drugs are strictly regulated says a lot about the true functioning of the FDA.

        • by jbwolfe ( 241413 )

          It is wrong, IMO, to describe it as addictive due to the connotations of that word.

          I think your right. A more accurate description would be that one can become physically dependant on oxymetazoline as the rebound congestion becomes worse the more its used. Additionally, and perhaps worse, regular use can cause a host of unwanted side effects:http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+3143/ [nih.gov]

        • Afrin is pure, unadulterated evil.

          Preach it, brother! My parents were hooked on Dristan nasal spray and I ended up hooked on it as a teenager. I had a serious dependency on it all through high school, especially when trying to sleep. I decided to go nearly cold-turkey in college which led to many sleepless nights due to feeling like I was suffocating and a roommate who almost punched me for snoring when I finally did get to sleep. It was worth finally kicking the habit, though.

          I don't know that it shoul

          • to be clear, I'm not saying it should be banned. I *am* saying that it is ridiculous for Afrin to be unregulated given how harmful it is compared to drugs that *are* regulated.

            I (unfortunately) have to use Afrin from time to time. I would be very upset if it was banned. Requiring a prescription would be annoying, but not that much of an issue (I already have to see the doctor regularly to renew other prescriptions for substances that are far less harmful).

        • Plus, most of these sprays contain benzalkonium chloride as a preservative, and that stuff can cause its own problems.

        • by burbilog ( 92795 )

          It is possible to get rid of decongestant dependency with the help of hormonal nasal spray. It's called Nasonex in Russia, don't know about international names. It takes a few weeks to kick in and suddenly you don't have to use any decongestant, then it takes a few weeks to slowly stop using hormonal spray.

          I used it to get rid of horrible decongestant dependency. It worked like magic. Of couse, you have to be free of hormonophobia (some people prefer to die instead of taking hormonal drugs).

          • Nasonex is not the answer -- its long term use is harmful. And, speaking anecdotally, it is about as useful as regular use of saline solution. Or not.

            Regrettably I have quite a bit of experience with congestion. At one time or another I have been on a wide variety of medications. Nasonex, flonase, patonase, etc. In my experience none of them (with the exception of Afrin) have any meaningful effect. Allegra D was the one oral medication that provided *some* relief, but I eventually fell victim to one of its

        • It is wrong, IMO, to describe it as addictive due to the connotations of that word. There are no cravings that result from Afrin use

          Maybe, this stuff to me is one of the greatest drugs ever. It actually works, works quickly, and is night/day. If you have nasal issues such that even when healthy you aren't breathing that well, Afrin is very compelling (it also helps if you don't want to have surgery you know you need to have). You will breathe really, really well. So there might be a psychological componen

        • It is wrong, IMO, to describe it as addictive due to the connotations of that word. There are no cravings that result from Afrin use. No one is going to feel a compulsion that they "just gotta have it". No junkie related crime. What *does* happen is that your body starts to rely on Afrin to keep the airways clear. Without it, you are stopped up and cannot breath. Even worse, after prolonged use the efficacy of Afrin is decreased. So eventually you will be using it three shots each nostril several times a da

          • Yeah... but we use language in a cultural context. And the *connotations* of saying something is "addictive" are more than that. Would you actually call someone who habitually used Afrin an addict?

            (If you answer "yes" be sure it isn't from pedantism, but what your actual usage would be. Further note that this is out of joint with the vast majority of speakers of English and would result in misunderstandings, some of them at your expense.)

        • My Approach (Score:4, Interesting)

          by kackle ( 910159 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @01:26PM (#50811341)
          I have learned to use Afrin to get all the way through a bad cold, but then when I'm feeling better, I use pills to recover from the Afrin dependency, which is usually brief.

          PS - I have dramatically reduced my nasal issues in life once I started taking very good care of my teeth. It never dawned on me that germs have 8 hours every night to travel a short, wet, warm path to my sinuses.
      • Afrin is great for your nose, especially if you have a deviated septum and chronic sinusitis. However when you have a full blown cold, it takes a bit more.

    • In my ignorance, I bought the Sudafed containing phenylephrine, and I could not figure out why Sudafed, which was my go-to medicine for daytime cold relief, did not work! I wasn't really expecting to suddenly hear an angelic choir from the heavens after taking the stuff, just some relief. Instead, nothing. Not a goddamn thing.

      I did the research and figured out what was wrong: I was rope a doped. Not only is the good stuff only behind the counter, the pharmacist (at least here) defaults to giving you the Su

      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @01:32PM (#50811383) Journal

        Well here's the real problem - pseudoephederine is a short cut to making meth. Meth cooks made meth before they figured out you could use decongestants. Meth cooks still make meth after the so-called restrictions.

        In fact, meth cooks in Mexico make meth using extract from natural ephedera plants that grow like weeds, and then smuggle it across the border the same as anything else.

        In the end, we've just made it harder for legit use, just like practically all other "think of the children" and drug war legislation. Oh, and the pharma companies were able to perpetrate a multi-billion dollar placebo scam for the last 10 years by selling a decongestant that does NOTHING.

  • This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:25AM (#50808757) Journal

    Everyone knows PE doesn't work. It's only there so the government can claim they haven't removed all the useful OTC decongestants from the market. Yes, technically you can still buy pseudoephedrine in most states, but doing so puts you on a list which gives them probable cause to bust down your door on suspicion of meth manufacture.

    • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:51AM (#50808901)

      Furthermore, the FBI's own stats show that the ban/restriction on pseudoephedrine has made the problem worse. Before the ban, meth was mostly a mom & pop business. For the next 2 or so years after the ban meth sales dropped, but then the mexican cartels more than filled the gap [washingtonpost.com] with wholesale production (like Breaking Bad style industrial manufacturing importing the raw ingredients from China) and now instead of little guys who are mostly dumbasses selling to their neighbors you've got organized crime networks all over the country.

      Meanwhile I don't feel safe buying a sudofed and there are a bunch of stories of people being arrested for having bad allergies. [google.com] I don't have the link handy, but the very first person arrested for buying too much was buying it for his kid.

      • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @09:24AM (#50809131)
        The government would be better off decriminalizing all drugs and producing chemically pure versions and controlling the sale of those substances while investing the revenues in treatment programs. It won't eliminate addiction, but it will go a long way to reducing the amount of organized crime in this and other countries that make their profits off the back of illegal drug sales. That in turn would go a long way towards freeing up law enforcement who wouldn't have to devote nearly as much activity towards dealing with the gangs that run the illegal drug trades.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          it will go a long way to reducing the amount of organized crime in this and other countries that make their profits off the back of illegal drug sales

          These crime gangs will just look for some other large profit activity. If drugs were legalised, do you think they'd all re-train as accountants?

          • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @09:41AM (#50809293)

            Alcohol prohibition proves you wrong. Eliminating it greatly reduced gang crime. History is a great teacher, people are just to fucking stupid to realize it.

            • Or, as the saying goes ... "People who don't learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"

              The counter argument is "But DRUUUUGGGGSSSS!!!!"

              Yeah, so, making them illegal has stopped them from being used? It has created associated crimes hasn't it?

              I am opposed to drugs, because they are bad for people. I am also equally if nor more so, opposed to government making them illegal. In trying to protect us from ourselves, the government actually has made things worse. As it usually does.

          • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:13AM (#50809555)

            In the short term, existing gangs will move to other areas of criminality, which are less profitable (or else they would switch now). The reduced cash flow will also intensify competition (read: violence) in those endeavors.

            In the medium term, a few organizations will die out, the remainder will claim their new turf but with less wealth to spread around both for status (read: bling) and patronage (read: cheddar, philanthropy). There won't be much less crime here at this stage, but the organizations will be less able to buy loyalty (kinship).

            In the long term, the reduced status and patronage will mean fewer recruits and ultimately an equilibrium with less crime. But you are right, gangsters don't go into accounting. The difference comes from convincing kids to go into accounting instead of criminality, and to do that you've got to reduce the total revenue of the criminal organizations.

          • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:14AM (#50809567)

            it will go a long way to reducing the amount of organized crime in this and other countries that make their profits off the back of illegal drug sales

            These crime gangs will just look for some other large profit activity. If drugs were legalised, do you think they'd all re-train as accountants?

            Sorry, the accountant cartel has that one already sewn up. But seriously, much of all of this goes back to good old ethanol. When the puritans decided we couldn't have it it just opened up the floodgates for funding criminal based business, as people aren't going to stop getting their buzz on, and those who will provide can make a lot of money for their risk.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            Other high water marks for OC were the Harrison act in 1914 and the Marijuana Tax act in 1937.

            But when old Dick Nixon declared "War on Drugs" in 1971. The money really started pouring in for the bad guys, and the military tactics we used got them into military tactics of their own.

            There will always be bad guys. There will always be vice. What you do, is remove the profit from it. When there is no profit, you are probably as close to controlling it as you can ever get.

            One thing is for certain - The staunchest anti-drug strong law crusaders are on the same page with the most ruthless drug cartels in wanting strict anti-drug laws.

          • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:28AM (#50809723) Journal
            If drugs were legalised, do you think they'd all re-train as accountants?

            FDR appointed Joe Kennedy as the first chairman of the SEC for a reason.
          • These crime gangs will just look for some other large profit activity.

            If the alternative activity was profitable, someone would already be doing it. Most crime is opportunistic. If you eliminate the opportunity, you eliminate the crime. There is not a fixed amount of crime in the world, and there is no reason to believe that eliminating one type of crime causes increases in other crimes.

          • Re:This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:39AM (#50809823)
            Outside of drugs, the next biggest criminal enterprise is probably prostitution, which is yet another vice crime that shouldn't be illegal. As Carlin said, "Selling's legal. Fucking's legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal?"

            Once you eliminate those you're down to much lower profit margins and can't support the kind of massive gangs that trouble law enforcement so much. Even if they try to stick with the illegal drug business who would want to buy from them when you can get a better product from a legal source?

            Also, you still need someone to work at the store that's selling the drugs. Seems like there are probably some out of work drug dealers that could handle a counter job and be tax paying citizens. If taxes are used to fund other organizations to help people get over their addictions, etc. that's additional jobs that are being created rather than having the revenues end up in the coffers of criminal enterprises while still leaving society with the cost of cleaning up the consequences.
          • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @11:25AM (#50810233)

            If drugs were legalised, do you think they'd all re-train as accountants?

            I have news for you. A lot of them ARE de-facto or even actual trained accountants. If you want to do something illegal on a big scale and not go to jail for it, you had better have a more than passing familiarity with accounting. All that money has to be accounted for same as with any other business and it has to be moved around and used to pay bills, buy materials and stored somewhere. Who do you think does all that? The tooth fairy?

          • by f3rret ( 1776822 )

            it will go a long way to reducing the amount of organized crime in this and other countries that make their profits off the back of illegal drug sales

            These crime gangs will just look for some other large profit activity. If drugs were legalised, do you think they'd all re-train as accountants?

            No, but a significant amount of them would.
            It's easy to paint all drug dealers as these evil super criminals who do nothing but profit on the misery of others. And yes, there are some who are like that, but honestly, a significant amount of drug dealers simply like making money and would go legit if they could do so safely.

          • They can't just move into running guns, as there are already criminals that do that, but their main buyers (drug pushers) are not buying, so it doesn't work.
            So then there is human trafficking, black markets, illegal gambling, theft, counterfeiting, and extortion.
            I don't think there is much growth potential in most of these fields.
            And with police relieved from most of the interdiction work, there are more resources left enforce the other problems.
        • That in turn would go a long way towards freeing up law enforcement who wouldn't have to devote nearly as much activity towards dealing with the gangs that run the illegal drug trades.

          ... And they would instead have to devote twice as much time and manpower to controlling public intoxication and domestic incidents resulting from such a move. Not to mention the stress and damage that this type of drug puts on families and then eventually the extra burden it puts on an already dysfunctional foster care system. What is now a relatively quiet issue with pockets of violence more or less isolated geographically would turn into an overt epidemic on a country wide scale. Meth isn't the same as

      • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @09:34AM (#50809229)
        Was never to save people from meth, it was to contain the damage to the poor communities. One of the byproducts of our drug war is that the poors keep their misery to themselves. If they start spilling over we toss then in jail. Meth broke that. You had desperate folks cooking it in middle class neighborhoods. Making it otc restored the balance and put the drug way back where it belonged: in poor neighborhoods
    • Crushed garlic. [wikipedia.org] Eat it raw.

      A small (146 healthy adults) double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a daily supplement containing purified allicin, had dramatic results by reducing the risk of catching a cold by 64%, the symptom duration was reduced by 70% and those in the treatment group were much less likely to develop more than one cold.

      Allicin has antiviral activity both in vitro and in vivo. Among the viruses susceptible to allicin are Herpes simplex type 1 and 2, Parainfluenza virus type 3, hum

  • by aldousd666 ( 640240 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:29AM (#50808773) Journal
    I remind the pharmacist every time I have to sign my life away to buy the real stuff that the PE doesn't work. They always wink and laugh like 'sure it doesn't, we know you're cooking very small amounts of Meth with this at home, no need for the cover story.'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla ( 258480 )
      The pharmacist already knows PE doesn't work, and these stupid rules annoy them far, far more than they annoy you.

      Instead of you just walking up, grabbing what you need, and checking out... You instead have someone making $75+/hr forced to stop whatever useful task they had in progress and waste five minutes of their day to check your ID and have you sign the book, and then they need to store the book on the off chance the DEA decides to chase after allergy sufferers in your area.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Well, it's usually a pharmacy technician or a pharmacist's assistant (essentially a clerk) who handles the Sudafed requests at my drug store, and I doubt they make $75/hr. You only get the pharmacist if you have a question about something like drug interactions.

        Overall it's quite easy to obtain pseudoephedrine; you just pick up a card from a bin located where the OTC decongestants are and take it to the pharmacy counter. You have to wait in line with people picking up their prescriptions, but the clerk w

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:33AM (#50808799) Journal
    I used to take Sudafed for my allergies, but then they had to change because METH. Now I take Claritin D, and if I want more than a 2 week supply, I have to get a prescription. This requires me to go see my doctor every so often, because she isn't keen to give prescriptions without checkups. All of this mess because somebody might use a drug as an ingredient for a drug that used to be legal [wikipedia.org].
    • This requires me to go see my doctor every so often, because she isn't keen to give prescriptions without checkups.

      Hell, no... neither will mine. That office visit fee is seemingly habit-forming.

      Physicians, by and large, would be for more drugs regulated by prescription.

      • Yep. Its particularly annoying for things that don't get you high.

        For instance, I've got gout. To avoid being off my feet for a few days every other month or so, I take Allopurinol daily, and cholchicine if I ever do feel any pain coming on.

        I have needed these medications for ~10 years now. I'll almost certainly need to keep taking them for the rest of my life. So why the heck do I have to see my doctor every 6 months just for him to say "Yep, you've still got gout - here's your permission to buy your m

        • by glitch! ( 57276 )

          I don't know if this works for you, but here is an option:
          https://www.inhousepharmacy.vu... [inhousepharmacy.vu]
          I have ordered from them and have been satisfied, other than waiting a month for delivery.

        • to add to that, in your case you *could* "just deal with it". Say someone is going to die from a hyperactive thyroid and so it is removed. After that they *must* take some sort of thyroid medication (say, thyroxin) in order to live. But they still have to go see a doctor (at least once a year, if not twice) in order to keep their prescription filled.

          Is there any chance that they've magically grown a new thyroid? Of course not. But the government is afraid of what you might do with a prescription medication.

    • In fact, Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride tablets) is still legal in the USA [wikipedia.org]. It's a prescription drug used to treat obesity and ADHD, in the same Schedule II as Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride) and Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts).

    • I get the Wal-Mart brand of Claritin [walmart.com] or Zyrtec [walmart.com]. No Prescription needed even for 6+ month supplies. I find I have to alternate between the two every few months. There's something in the Georgia grass that my skin just doesn't like being around...and my body tries to kill me if I go out and mow, no matter what med I take.
      • I have ridiculous allergies, and take a number of antihistamines to keep them in check (but hey, the asthma is enough in check that I can run, so I'm happy.) I have found that for me guaifenesen, which is usually thought of as a expectorant, works pretty well as a decongestant with the added bonus that it's non-drying - a huge plus in Ohio winters.

        It thins mucous and does something with its consistency that protects the vocal cords - a lot of singers take it for this reason. I take it if I'm getting a scrat

        • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <[dfenstrate] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:10AM (#50809517)

          I have ridiculous allergies, and take a number of antihistamines to keep them in check (but hey, the asthma is enough in check that I can run, so I'm happy.)

          Try eating a tablespoon a day of locally produced honey, unfiltered, for a month or so. The beekeeper should be the closest one to your home you can find, though even 100 miles out still ought to work.

          Sending the local pollen through your digestive tract gives your immune system another shot at getting used to pollen without causing respiratory problems. I used to have terrible allergies that could barely be controlled by double doses of claritin. I still have allergies, but they're much milder and much more controllable by medication.

          It's a pretty low-cost, low-risk home remedy. I stumbled across it when I was doing an internet search for "Is it safe to take double doses of Claritin?", and I figured 'What the hell, it's not like honey is expensive or dangerous.'

          • There is some evidence of honey's impact on specific kinds of allergy symptoms, although honey, especially unfiltered and raw honey, can be dangerous. Some research has suggested honey "should not be considered a completely safe food" due to potential toxic compounds. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]
      • I get the Wal-Mart brand of Claritin or Zyrtec. No Prescription needed even for 6+ month supplies.

        I also get the generic equivalent, but they only sell them in 2 week packs, and will only sell one at a time. The other reason I get the prescription is because thanks to Obamacare, I now have to have a prescription to use my HSA $. Before Obamacare, I could use my HSA on OTC medicine. So yet another hoop to jump through, and people ask me why I'm against big government. None of these things is overly terrible taken on it's own, but cumulatively...

      • Regular Claritin and Zyrtec don't have psuedoephedrine in them. The -D variants do. The government doesn't care about basic allergy pills, they care about meth precursors like pseudoephedrine. Unfortunately pseudoephedrine is the only really useful decongestant that we have at the moment.

        Fun fact though, if you take one of those time-release Sudafeds that's supposed to last 12 hours - sometimes it will completely dissolve in an hour or so and dump the full dose into your system. It's like a caffeine bu
    • Claritin D is just Claritin with sudafed in it. (That's the "D" for decongestant.)
    • and to be clear, the reason "she isn't keen to give prescriptions without checkups" is because, as the source for the prescription, she is under at least as much scrutiny as the purchasers. The reason for this is obvious on reflection: the doctor (and the pharmacist) are gatekeepers who grant access to the drug. A good way for a doctor to get in serious trouble is to hand out too many narcotic prescriptions. In an effort to protect themselves, some doctors will "turn in" patients they think might be buying

    • Claritin D has sudafed in it... that's the D. Same with Allegra D.
  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:48AM (#50808881) Homepage

    ... is that crystal meth is relatively easy to obtain, and it can be converted to Sudafed. [io9.com] Now all we need is for researchers to simplify the process and provide a practical process for the layman.

  • Nothing else taken orally works for me. PE also raises my blood pressure temporarily. That's where the warnings should lie. Making it difficult to acquire sufficient amounts to produce meth had the effect of pushing the manufacture over the border and increasing the amount of violent crime involved in smuggling it back into the US. Oh yeah, and puts me on more government lists. They'll probably put me on the no-fly list for being chronically congested.
  • It's the only thing that is offered because these companies are cheap assholes.

    I only buy the good old stuff you have to give blood samples and anal probings to get. Luckily the guy at costco will let me do two transactions to get two 15 pill packs to last for a while.

    Do not waste time with any of the alternate crap as it really is 100% ineffective.

    • Luckily the guy at costco will let me do two transactions to get two 15 pill packs to last for a while.

      Most states have a reasonable limit, like 3.6g/day purchase (up to 7.5g/month). At 60mg per pill, that's 60 pills in a single purchase. It sounds like your Costco guy doesn't know what he's doing. With the log book, it doesn't even make a difference that you split them into two transactions, the limit is per day not per transaction.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        most places allow you only ONE box. and some stores stopped carrying the 15 pill boxes and only have the 10 pill boxes just to be assholes.

      • It does depend on what you buy exactly. The 12 hour time release variants have 120mg / pill which makes 30 pills your daily cap and no more than 60 in a month (which, rather conveniently, covers a single user for the entire month at the recommended dose). The 24 hour variant has 240mg per pill. I do no recommend the 24 hour version though because the time release mechanism is sketchy and can sometimes dissolve immediately resulting in...undesirable side effects. The side effects are tolerable in the 12
  • I never take medication when I have a common cold. It just doesn't help. Is your throat sore? Just drink some tea. Is your nose stuck? blow it. It will get better in a day or two. Only if I get a headache I may take some Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, but that's it.
    • Medications for colds aren't meant to cure it - they merely manage the symptoms. If you want - sure, just deal with it and it will go away on its own, but you can use medication to make that time between when you get sick and when you get better a lot more tolerable.

    • Only if I get a headache I may take some Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, but that's it.

      Ibuprofen is also useful for reducing inflammation and lowering fever. I've been specifically prescribed ibuprofen after wisdom tooth operations for the former reason, though I didn't need anything for the pain. Fever is another useful bodily response you may need to limit at times.

      Acetaminophen is great if you really want liver damage.

  • "and he or she needs to know that science says that homeopathy does not work for anyone."

    That's the study I really want to see!!!

  • I've tried the OTC nasal decongestants for a few years before giving up. I would just suffer without wasting my money. They never seemed to work for me. The neti pot worked better. I thought it was just me those pills didn't work for. Now science brings me comfort. A pox on the snake oil being sold!!

    The behind the counter stuff works great but makes me feel 'speedy' and stimulated until it climaxes in a creepy anxious state. Feeling the effects of pseudoephedrine makes this chill person have extra compassio

  • Meh. There are plenty of BS "remedies" for all sorts of aliments. All citing "clinical studies" usually of some unknown origin or bought and paid for by themselves. I think ColdFX is one of those. It is far from alone. There is a reason that "Snake Oil Salesman" has its origins in the medical industry's past. One that has never completely gone away. You can walk into any pharmacy anywhere, and probably point to literally hundreds of things that dubiously do anything, don't have any research pointing to that

  • It's supposed to assure us that the medications we take are both safe and effective. In practice, we have seen approvals of compounds that later turn out to be dangerous (Vioxx) or ineffective, as in this case. Meanwhile, the glacial pace of the FDA approval process makes every drug we buy more expensive than it should be.

    Time to make FDA ratings advisory, rather than mandatory. Let patients, doctors and insurance companies decide whether they want to stay with the gold standard of FDA-approved, or take a r

    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      Agreed that the FDA has serious flaws, but I want to go off on a tangent here

      "...compounds that later turn out to be dangerous (Vioxx) "

      Vioxx is a case study in USA ignorance. This drug was an extremely effective treatment for arthritis and other chronic pain. All of a sudden it's found to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and in typical knee-jerk USA fashion, it's promptly banned. "Vioxx == bad". What a shame. We're not talking about something that's inherently dangerous, only something tha

  • How I can buy 50,000 bullets and high capacity magazines, no questions asked, but if I try and buy 30 boxes of decongestant, cops show up at my door?

    • Because America, you commie pinko!

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )
      Because there is no 2nd amendment right to have clear sinuses. Oh, and, Charlton Heston never stood in front of a crowd, held aloft a mortar and pistil, and told the government they can pry it from his cold, dead, and shaking hands.
  • by MrVictor ( 872700 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:08AM (#50809501)
    While the FDA is at it, can they please tackle all the other snake-oil products at the drug stores? All the homeopathic crap, Airborne Head On, magnet bullshit, diet pills, etc. They are all 100% bullshit placebos.
  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @10:30AM (#50809737)
    The allergies are so bad where I live meth dealers have been turning meth back into pseudoephedrine.
  • Pseudoephedrine is still readily available in Canada in many forms, and we don't have huge problems with meth manufacture and addiction. Making it illegal won't solve the social problems which cause people to seek it out in the first place. If you stop people from obtaining pseudoephedrine, they'll just move on to some other drug.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @11:26AM (#50810247)
    Ephedrine from Ephedra plant (or Ma Huang, if you're Chinese) is exactly as effective as pseudoephedrine, and anybody can grow it in their own garden... why is there a market for the chemically synthesized version in the first place? IIRC, the only difference between ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is that one is a right-handed and the other is left-handed molecule, meaning both good be used for manufacturing meth... makes me wonder when Walter White is going to take up gardening...

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