Sinutab is Dangerous To Your Health, So Why Do They Still Sell It in the Philippines?
At some point, if you are living or even just visiting in the Philippines, you will most likely find yourself buying some kind of medicine over the counter at one of the millions of pharmacies located in every mall and on just about every street corner (they are more numerous than McDonalds restaurants). Maybe you have a cold, a fever, a runny or stuffy nose. You will realize the medicines they sell in the Philippines are different than the ones in your home country. They don’t have Tylenol, they have Biogesic or Alaxan, they don’t sell Sudafed or Dimetapp, they have instead Sinutab and Neozip. (I don’t know the names of medicines in European countries so I am just using the American names here.)
(Update: Tylenol and Dimetapp ARE sold in the Philippines but they are more expensive and not nearly as popular as they are in the U.S. The more popular brands in the Philippines are Biogesic (paracetamol), Medicol (ibuprofen), and Neozip (decongestant and paracetamol).)
If you do have a cold, and you need to buy a decongestant, you should be aware of something. Sinutab, a very popular over-the-counter decongestant here in the Philippines, which is sold just about everywhere…has actually been withdrawn from the market in Canada and forbidden without a doctor’s prescription in the U.S. and other countries due to the fact that it causes stroke.
From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenylpropanolamine : “A scientific study found an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women who used PPA” (PPA is short for Phenylpropanolamine) and “In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory against the use of the drug in November 2000. In this advisory, the FDA requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing PPA. The agency estimates that PPA caused between 200 and 500 strokes per year among 18-to-49-year-old users.”
I mentioned this to many of my Filipino friends and they had absolutely no idea that Sinutab was dangerous. Not only is it still sold over-the-counter at every pharmacy but it’s still advertised, and actually is known for one of the “best Philippines commercials” starring RJ Rosales imitating Tom Cruise in the ‘Minority Report’ movie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_CoYkD4aUk
My suggestion is to stay away from it. Instead, if you have a cold, use Neozip, it contains Phenylephrine, not Phenylpropanolamine.