Last week, I caught a pretty bad cold. Normally, I’m quite lazy and I don’t like to take any medicines because I always forget and tend to skip doses in between. But this time, I felt way too sick and I had to go work. I went to the local pharmacist and he didn’t have the medicine that I wanted so he recommended Cheston Cold (by Cipla). I was in no position to say no or doubt him because (a) my head was heavy and my nose was drippy and (b) a weird sand storm was brewing outside and I had to rush back to my PG.
I have a habit of checking out medicines online even if they are prescribed by a doctor. I’m just curious! Anyway, so it turned out that Cheston Cold has been BANNED in India since January 2011 (edit: I just learned that the Madras High Court revoked the ban a few months ago) and banned in other countries several years ago! The reason being that studies show that phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which is there in Cheston Cold, can cause hemorrhagic strokes in women between the age of 18-49. Great, I fit the criteria perfectly!
There seems to be confusion about the safety of PPA. While many countries have banned it for a long time now, pharma companies are saying that there seems to be no side effects in Indians! Seems like, we’re pretty tolerant :P Anyway, just to be on the safe side, here’s a list of drugs that contain PPA. Next time, you have the sniffles, be sure to check the ingredients before you take it!