Alternatives to Phenylpropanolamine

W. Steven Pray, Ph.D., R.Ph., Professor of Nonprescription Products and Devices, School of Pharmacy, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK

US Pharmacist. 2001;26(1) 

In This Article


Use of the ingredient phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is an issue that has been fraught with controversy for several decades. Many who used PPA escaped without adverse events; however, its side-effect profile was too high for general consumer safety. The sheer variety of adverse reactions reported in the medical literature was equally disturbing to concerned medical professionals.

Nonetheless, nonprescription product manufacturers continued to assert that the substance was safe and effective for both nasal congestion and weight loss. Many of the best-selling products contained the ingredient, and it was widely marketed to the lay public, despite preliminary data suggesting that it was responsible for serious patient harm.


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