"Urgent drug recall." Those words might have sent you into a panic if you've seen an e-mail that is circulating now.
Three people have sent it to me warning that most of the popular over the counter cold and cough remedies contain an ingredient called phenylpropanolomine. According to the e-mail, studies have shown that can trigger strokes and seizures in children and young women within three days of taking the drug. So we went to Caprock Drugs to find out if there's any truth to this.
"You know it mentions a lot of common products in there and a lot of people really don't look at the label to see what it actually contains in those products, but phenylpropanolomine is not one of the ingredients in there anymore. It's not even available any longer so the whole deal must be a hoax you know, or somebody's way of a joke," says Tony Jones, a pharmacist at Caprock Drug.
But the drug manufacturers are not laughing. The 1-800 number at the bottom of the e-mail takes you to the makers of Triaminic. The operator told me they get tens of thousands of calls daily from people scared about this when the e-mail is not even based on fact. There were never any studies done in children and the FDA never ordered a recall. The drug makers voluntarily phased out the use of phenylpropanolomine four years ago when lab studies showed that high doses of it might cause an increase in blood pressure.
The bottom line, you won't find it in anything you buy now and the drug makers ask that you please delete that e-mail instead of scaring all your friends.