FDA advisory panel's conclusion that oral phenylephrine is ineffective means consumers need to think twice when buying cold and flu meds

The ramp-up to cold and flu season is a bad time for consumers to learn that some of their most trusted go-to products don't actually work. An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded unanimously in September 2023 that phenylephrine – an active ingredient found in popular over-the-counter cough and cold products such as Sudafed PE, Theraflu and NyQuil Severe Cold and Flu – works no better than a placebo when taken orally. The 2023 FDA advisory panel met to review growing evidence that oral phenylephrine is an ineffective treatment for nasal congestion.