LOUISIANA (KPEL News) - Some of the most recognizable cold medicines will no longer be on the shelves at CVS pharmacies across the state after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says a key ingredient in them doesn't work.

According to an exclusive report in the Wall Street Journal, CVS is making the move after the FDA recently ruled that phenylephrine, an ingredient found in several cold medicines, was ineffective if taken orally.

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The products contain oral phenylephrine, an almost-century-old ingredient in versions of decongestants and over-the-counter pills, syrups and liquids to clear up congested noses.

An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration last month declared that the ingredient was ineffective when taken orally. The FDA had said in its own analysis that the oral phenylephrine formulations are safe but ineffective at standard or even higher doses.

The FDA has not made a decision yet nor asked manufacturers or retailers to remove products from store shelves. CVS is removing phenylephrine products voluntarily.

Because the FDA hasn't made an official decision on whether or not to tell retailers to take them off the shelves, some stores may continue selling them. However, CVS appears to be opting out of selling some of the most popular drugs on the market.

One of the most common of those drugs is Sudafed PE.

Phenylephrine is also found in Benadryl Allergy D Plus Sinus and Vicks DayQuil Cold and Flu Relief.

That doesn't mean all phenylephrine doesn't work. The FDA's decision regarding the ingredient only refers to taking it orally. It is still considered effective in the form of a nasal spray, and can be found in several well-known sprays, including Neo-Synephrine, Nostril, Pretz-D, Rhinall, Tur-Bi-Cal, and Vicks Sinex.

Not All Sudafed

Sudafed PE took off as a popular replacement for Sudafed, which can only be bought in certain quantities and only with proper identification.

The original Sudafed went from being an over-the-counter drug to a behind-the-counter drug in 2006 after reports that it was being used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The key active ingredient in the drug, pseudoephedrine, is highly effective in clearing up congestion.

While pseudoephedrine is more effective, it comes with some potentially hefty side effects, including dizziness, nervousness and trouble sleeping. It can also increase blood pressure.

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