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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Information Page

 

Update - On December 22, 2005 the FDA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (notice) for over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant and weight control products containing phenylpropanolamine preparations. This proposed rule reclassifies phenylpropanolamine as nonmonograph (Category II) not generally recognized as safe and effective. Written and electronic comments and new data can be submitted by March, 22, 2006.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to remove phenylpropanolamine (PPA) from all drug products and has requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing PPA. In addition, FDA has issued a public health advisory concerning phenylpropanolamine. This drug is an ingredient that was used in many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription cough and cold medications as a decongestant and in OTC weight loss products.

In response to the request made by FDA in November 2000, many companies have voluntarily reformulated and are continuing to reformulate their products to exclude PPA while FDA proceeds with the regulatory process necessary to remove PPA from the market.

We have received numerous requests for a list of products containing PPA. Since companies continue to reformulate their products, FDA is not maintaining a comprehensive, updated list of products that still contain PPA. FDA is aware of emails circulating widely that list many products allegedly containing PPA. These emails, however, generally contain dated and inaccurate information and should be ignored.

The FDA recommends that consumers read the labels of OTC drug products to determine if the product contains PPA. The Agency believes this to be the most accurate method for determining the PPA content of OTC products rather than providing an incomplete or out-of-date list of products that may have already been reformulated and no longer contain PPA. (Introduction updated 03/07/2003)

Scientists at Yale University School of Medicine recently issued a report entitled "Phenylpropanolamine & Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke: Final Report of the Hemorrhagic Stroke Project."   This study reports that taking PPA increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain or into tissue surrounding the brain) in women.  Men may also be at risk.  Although the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is very low, FDA recommends that consumers not use any products that contain PPA.

FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee recently discussed this Yale study along with additional information on phenylpropanolamine. The Advisory Committee determined that there is an association between PPA and hemorrhagic stroke.  It recommended that PPA be considered not safe for over-the-counter use.