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All about: phenylpropanolamine

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Generic Name: phenylpropanolamine (fen ill proe pa NOLE a meen)
Brand Names: Acutrim 16 Hour, Acutrim II, Maximum Strength, Acutrim Late Day, Control, Dexatrim, Empro, Mega-Trim, Phenyldrine, Propagest, Propan, Rhindecon, Westrim, Westrim LA

What is phenylpropanolamine?

Phenylpropanolamine is a decongestant. It works by constricting (shrinking) blood vessels (veins and arteries) in your body. Constriction of blood vessels in your sinuses, nose, and chest allows drainage of those areas, which decreases congestion.

Phenylpropanolamine is used to treat the congestion associated with allergies, hay fever, sinus irritation, and the common cold. Phenylpropanolamine also causes a decrease in appetite and is used in some over-the-counter diet aids.

Phenylpropanolamine has been associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain or into tissue surrounding the brain) in women. Men may also be at risk. Although the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is low, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that consumers not use any products that contain phenylpropanolamine.

Phenylpropanolamine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about phenylpropanolamine?

Phenylpropanolamine has been associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain or into tissue surrounding the brain) in women. Men may also be at risk. Although the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is low, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that consumers not use any products that contain phenylpropanolamine.

Do not take phenylpropanolamine for longer than 7 days if your condition does not improve or if your symptoms are accompanied by a high fever.

Do not take more of this medication than is recommended on the package or by your doctor. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Phenylpropanolamine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Who should not take phenylpropanolamine?

Do not take phenylpropanolamine if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A very dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have

  • high blood pressure;

  • any type of heart disease, hardening of the arteries, or irregular heartbeat;

  • thyroid problems;

  • diabetes;

  • glaucoma or increased pressure in your eye;

  • an enlarged prostate or difficulty urinating; or

  • liver or kidney disease.

You may not be able to take phenylpropanolamine, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

It is not known whether phenylpropanolamine will harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant. Infants are especially sensitive to the effects of phenylpropanolamine. Do not take this drug if you are breast-feeding a baby. If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from phenylpropanolamine. You may require a lower dose of this medication. Using a short-acting formulation of phenylpropanolamine (not a long-acting or a controlled-release formulation) may be safer if you are over 60 years of age.

How should I take phenylpropanolamine?

Take phenylpropanolamine exactly as directed by your doctor, or follow the instructions that accompany the package. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water. Never take this medication in larger doses or more often than is recommended. Too much phenylpropanolamine could be very harmful.

If your symptoms are accompanied by a high fever, or if they do not improve in 7 days, see your doctor.

Store phenylpropanolamine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a phenylpropanolamine overdose include extreme tiredness, sweating, dizziness, a slow heart beat, and a coma.

What should I avoid while taking phenylpropanolamine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Phenylpropanolamine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities. Never take this medication in larger doses or more often than is recommended. Too much phenylpropanolamine could be very harmful.

Phenylpropanolamine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects from this medication, stop taking phenylpropanolamine and seek emergency medical attention:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • seizures;

  • unusual behavior or hallucinations; or

  • an irregular or fast heartbeat.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take phenylpropanolamine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or drowsiness;

  • headache;

  • insomnia;

  • anxiety;

  • tremor (shaking) or restlessness;

  • nausea or vomiting; or

  • sweating.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect phenylpropanolamine?

Do not take phenylpropanolamine if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A very dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

Phenylpropanolamine may also interact with the following medicines:

  • furazolidone (Furoxone);

  • guanethidine (Ismelin);

  • indomethacin (Indocin);

  • methyldopa (Aldomet);

  • bromocriptine (Parlodel);

  • caffeine in cola, tea, coffee, chocolate, and other products;

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theochron, Theolair, others);

  • tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), doxepin (Sinequan), and nortriptyline (Pamelor);
  • other commonly used tricyclic antidepressants, including amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil);
  • phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and prochlorperazine (Compazine); and
  • other commonly used phenothiazines, including fluphenazine (Prolixin), perphenazine (Trilafon), mesoridazine (Serentil), and trifluoperazine (Stelazine).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with phenylpropanolamine. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about phenylpropanolamine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Phenylpropanolamine is available over the counter under the brand name Propagest, and with a prescription under the brand name Rhindecon. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Propagest 25 mg--oval, white, scored tablets

  • Rhindecon 75 mg--timed-release capsules

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.03. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:01:14 PM.

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