August 29, 2008

Phenylephrine Phail

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Rants,Science — Katrina @ 9:15 pm

Alright, first of all, I know I’m seriously behind the times on this. I know I heard about it happening way back when but didn’t really think about what it meant until now. When it affects me. LOL

So a couple days ago, I came down with the telltale eustachian tube pain and runny nose. Crap. I’m getting a cold. Been 14 months since my last one, and both were the very strange summer colds. June and August are usually safe months, but nooo.

Fine, I got a cold. Okay. It’s not so bad. Not when I’ve got my trusty Tylenol Cold! I believe I’ve given a brief history of my colds and that medicine before. So I figured I’d dull the malady’s annoyances along with feeling really really good like Tylenol Cold does to me.

Uh oh. The box I had was way expired, having bought it in like 2005 or so, and the pills looked a little questionable and crystally looking. Alright, better go get some more. It was like midnight, but thankfully there’s a 7-11 just walking distance from here. Yay! Got back to my house, took a couple, and waited to feel really great.

Well, I felt kinda great. Strange. Didn’t think much of it though. Except, other strange thing, my nose was still stuffy, and the medicine usually takes care of that. Took care of other stuff, but the stuffy nose seemed ignored almost.

Later I was glancing at the new box and saw the active ingredients. Nasal decongestant was phenylephrine HCl. Is that new? Could have sworn was something else before. Looked at the old box from 2005. Yup. Old box says pseudoephedrine is the nasal decongestant. I wondered why the change.

Next day at work, with my desk littered with tissues, I went to Wikipedia and looked at the two ingredients. Looked at phenylephrine first. Okay, okay, nasal decongestant to be substitute of pseudoephedrine. Well, that sucks, since it doesn’t friggin’ work! Pseudoephedrine punched the nasal congestion out, while phenylephrine just sort of swatted at it and gave up. Reading down the page, I found I wasn’t alone in this assessment. Then I found another bit of information.

The “nice” thing about phenylephrine is it doesn’t exhibit pseudoephedrine’s side effects as much, such as dizziness, excitability, etc.

So! That’s what happened to my excitability! The excitability was what made it fun. It is what turned Coughing Wheezing Katrina into Super Happy Running Up and Down the Hallway for No Reason Katrina. Now? Well, I sort of strode up the hallway a bit swinging my arms, I’ll give it that. I mean, Tylenol Cold still has dextromethorphan as the cough suppressant and that causes the same thing, so the effect was still there a little. Just weaker than it should be.

Now why would they ditch tried and true pseudoephedrine? Sniffling, I clicked over to its article… Ohhh… That’s right. I remember hearing about that now that you mention it. Apparently, meth labs like pseudoephedrine and find it useful in their meth making. So our lovely government decided “meth people use it, pseudoephedrine is evil, GTFO” and put all these millions of restrictions on it, such as making anyone who buys a product containing it have to show ID and give lots of information and go search for the Holy Grail. Alongside the nice hint hint nudge nudge to manufacturers to ditch using it altogether and try an alternative. Like, say, epic fail but at least meth people can’t use it phenylephrine.

After reading through that, for a moment, I truly understood the plight of the people fighting for drug policy reform. I’ve always supported them anyway, but this was a different feeling. They just want to feel good. I mean, it’s not quite the same, I know. It’s not illegal for me to take pseudoephedrine, if I wanted to take my chances with those crystallized looking over-a-year-expired pills in the old box. And I only take cold medicine when I actually have a cold, and as directed, but I still like to enjoy the gooood feeling from the side effects. What the hell is wrong with that, damn it? :doitnow:

Admittedly, I could be way off here and attributing the gooood cold medicine high to the wrong ingredient, but what I’m saying still stands. After all, it isn’t just about that. As I said, the new decongestant is not nearly as effective. Hell, later that same day, I mentioned the ingredient change to my supervisor at work and even she was like “I know, the new ingredient doesn’t work at all!”

Oh, but at least it’s one tiny step to putting a stop to crystal meth. I’m sitting here gawking in awe. Or no, more like my mouth is hanging open because I’m breathing through it because my nose is plugged up and useless. Asshats. :irked:

This has been Day 98 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 8.


  1. Go get the real damn thing over the counter then.

    Comment by maxh — August 30, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  2. Apparently Sudafed still has real pseudoephedrine still. Have to be over eighteen to buy it though. NYRA, this is quite possibly the worst manifestation of ageism today. GET ON IT! Kat, SUDAFED+NEW TYLENOL COLD==OLD TYLONOL COLD!

    Comment by maxh — September 16, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

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