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Panacea or self-deception: A doctor explains whether cold powders are effective

Panacea or self-deception: A doctor explains whether cold powders are effective Are cold medications effective (photo: Freepik)

Cold powders are popular medicines. However, their effectiveness is often questioned, as they seem to only relieve symptoms, but do not cure, informs RhinoClinika.

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Doctors have long been intrigued by a key component in popular medicines: phenylephrine hydrochloride, which purportedly alleviates nasal congestion and swelling.

The doctors assert that these medications become significantly pricier without phenylephrine. They also note the FDA's assertion that phenylephrine has no greater efficacy than a placebo.

What you need to know about phenylephrine hydrochloride

"It is a synthetic substance that stimulates vascular receptors and has a vasoconstrictive effect, reducing nasal congestion in patients with acute and chronic rhinitis," explain the doctors.

Its safety was proven back in 1976, after which it gained worldwide use.

"Phenylephrine hydrochloride is only available in combined cold remedies like powders, tablets, and drops. Pseudoephedrine has a similar effect, but was banned due to its narcotic properties," the doctors state.

The effectiveness of phenylephrine hydrochloride was questioned in 2007 due to insufficient research. A committee specifically recommended conducting additional trials on a large population of patients.

As established by the 2007 studies, scientists determined that there was no significant difference in the effect of 10 mg phenylephrine and that of a placebo. In addition, using higher doses of the drug may be hazardous to one's health, warn the doctors.

At the same time, doctors clarify that they prescribe these drugs to their patients solely because of their positive impact on treatment.