The PPA Blues

What do you do when scientists tell you that the bottles in your medicine chest can kill you?

I must admit that when the news broke last week that over-the-counter medications I've been taking since childhood could kill me, I approached the story more as a consumer than as a doctor or journalist. What do you do when an FDA advisory committee of scientists recommends the ban of an ingredient contained in hundreds of popular decongestants and appetite suppressants, citing new evidence linking it to hemorrhagic strokes caused by bleeding in the brain?

Phenylpropanolamine, or PPA, is in the headlines today, but this isn't the first time scientists have questioned its safety. The drug has been around for 50...

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