Are Over-The-Counter Cold Medicines Really Effective?

Tuesday, November 10th 2015, 9:12 am
By: News 9

It's the season for colds. Most of us are stuck looking for what over-the-counter medicines work best, because some aren't as effective as advertised.

New findings really give it to consumers bluntly. One pharmacist even said don't waste your money, because, "Some over-the-counter medicines are a rip-off."

The study focuses on what's called Phenylephrine, the decongestant that's in many over-the-counter cold medicines like from Tylenol Sinus, Sudafed PE and Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain.

What researchers found is Phenylephrine's effectiveness is insignificant, and didn't work any better than a placebo. Also these decongestants may not be worth the risk.

"Those medicines can cause elevated blood pressure. Fast heart rate, heart problems and even very at risk individuals even strokes. And what they do is they are supposed to shrink the membrane and help you breath better but they don't work as well as other medicines can," said Dr. Rachel Franklin, with OU Physicians Family Medicine.

Instead Dr. Franklin recommends  Saline Nose Spray, Neti pots. and also steroid sprays such as Flonase.

Other tips, make sure you read the active ingredients.

Also, be patient. Doctor Franklin says the sprays may take longer to work but are worth the wait.