The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) on Friday advised parents to avoid medicines that contain a nasal decongestant ingredient called phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which is being suspected of causing hemorrhagic stroke among women and seizures in children.
"My advise to the public is to read the label and make sure... Stay away from PPA-containing products," BFAD Director Leticia Barbara Gutierrez said in an interview over radio dzMM.
Gutierrez said people should avoid all medicines with PPA while the BFAD creates a list of brands that may be recalled from drug stores. She promised to release the list Friday afternoon.
Gutierrez said the US Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) is already taking steps to remove PPA from all drug products.
She said their US counterpart had also requested all drug companies to “discontinue marketing products containing PPA.”
The BFAD chief, meanwhile, said that several drug-manufacturing companies have already “reformulated” their cold relief medicines and took out the PPA ingredient.
She said some drug companies are now using another type of decongestant called phenylephrine.
“They removed the PPA and replaced it with another nasal decongestant, phenylephrine,” Gutierrez said.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on Thursday sent a letter to BFAD asking for the recall of medicines that contain PPA after receiving reports about the USFDA’s study.
“I understand certain drugs can be bought [in the Philippines] over the counter, such as Alkaseltzer, Dimetapp, Robitussin, Dexatrim, Bioflu, Neozep, Sinutab, and Decolgen,” Pimentel said.