In an effort to reduce the spread of illness during this difficult period, CVS Health announced it will no longer sell decongestants containing the ingredient phenylephrine. The active ingredient, often found in cold and flu remedies, works by constricting the blood vessels in the sinuses and nasal passages.
CVS Health’s announcement marks the first major decision by a pharmacy retailer to limit the sale of medications that contain phenylephrine. The decongestant is sometimes used as a substitute for ephedrine, an ingredient that can be found in asthma and allergy medications and is known to be dangerous if misused.
The decision by CVS Health comes as health care professionals and experts are concerned about the misuse and overuse of ephedrine. There are several known symptoms associated with ephedrine abuse, including rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and insomnia.
In addition, CVS Health highlighted the growing reports of individuals experiencing “excited delirium” caused by the use of decongestants containing phenylephrine. Excited delirium is a severe mental condition characterized by agitation, confusion, and disorientation.
In a statement released by CVS Health, the pharmacy retailer expressed its commitment to the health and safety of its customers. “CVS Health is committed to supporting the health and safety of our customers,” said CVS Pharmacy president Troyen A. Brennan. “We believe it is best to remove decongestants containing phenylephrine from our shelves in order to reduce the risk of misuse and abuse.”
The move by CVS Health to limit the sale of decongestants containing phenylephrine follows similar regulations that have been implemented in Canada and Europe. CVS Health says it will also look into phasing out other decongestants containing ephedrine, which is now linked to a host of serious medical conditions.
The decision by CVS Health will no doubt help to reduce the risk of individuals misusing and abusing decongestants. The pharmacy retailer’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its customers is commendable and is a step in the right direction.