When racked with a cold, flu, or bout of allergies, breathing through a snotless schnoz can seem like a sweet, sweet luxury—one most coveted during sleepless hours of the night. But many of the pills marketed to help achieve that unobstructed euphoria may be infuriatingly useless.
In a new study of more than 500 adult allergy sufferers, researchers found that the common, over-the-counter(OTC) decongestant, phenylephrine, was no better at unclogging noses than placebo—even when given at higher doses than those currently approved. The study’s authors called on the Food and Drug administration to strike phenylephrine from its list of effective nasal decongestants.
The study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, isn’t the first to find phenylephrine useless at busting up boogers. There’s a long history of weak evidence for phenylephrine, Leslie Hendeles, a professor of pharmacy and pediatrics at the University of Florida, told Ars.