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Nasal Decongestant Poses Increased Risk of Stroke Among Women

According to a group of researchers in Korea, cold remedies that contain the drug phenylpropanolamine (PPA) pose an increased risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke, especially among women.

PPA, which was recalled by the FDA in 2005, is a drug that was formerly used as a nasal decongestant for over-the-counter cough and cold medicines as well as an appetite suppressant. According to the Korean researchers, even small doses of PPA can increase the risk of stroke.

Initially, the FDA asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily remove the PPA from medicines nearly 5 years ago. In late 2005 it re-classified the drug as “unsafe” and removed it from over-the-counter medicine.

Many companies have removed PPA from their new formulas of medicine, but older medicines may contain the drug.

The Seoul National University Hospital, who is responsible for the research, said the primary focus of the study was to determine whether a stroke could be triggered by PPA in smaller doses. An earlier study performed by Yale University researchers in May 2000 already concluded that the use of PPA in appetite suppressants and diet pills can increase the risk of stroke.

The Seoul study consisted of 940 people who had a hemorrhagic stroke. Each was paired up with two controls. The researchers concluded that 1.7 percent of the women who had a stroke also had ingested a cold or cough medicine containing PPA, versus just 0.7 percent of the controls. They also determined that longer exposure to PPA increased risk of stroke.

The study also concluded that while men are at risk, the percentage of men affected by PPA was a very small amount. Both the Seoul study and the Yale study found that women who have taken PPA are at a higher risk.

The study results can be found in the January 9th issue of Neurology.

And to think, some new medicines still contain this poison.

The risk of the ingredients found in over the counter cough medicines have been apparent for years. Some studies have even shown such ingredients to be deadly to infants. Other studies have shown cough syrups to be just as effective as water in treating coughs. The only difference is the refined carbs found in the syrups.

Yet many people rush to the pharmacy the minute they feel a tickle in their throat. Instead, head over to your natural supplement store and pick up some marshmallow, licorice, eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil and thyme. At least you won’t have to worry about getting a stroke.

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