Cold Medicines and Babbling Pinballs

Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point? No? You should, it is really fascinating. In it he talks about different types of people. I fall into the connector category. If I come across information I think is useful, I feel compelled to share it. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes I should probably MYOB. I hope this is one of those times when the info I have is helpful.

You’ve heard of Sudaphed right? The ubiquitous little red tables that dry out your runny nose. The main ingredient in the original Sudaphed was psuedophedrine. Sadly, it is also one of the key ingredients in crystal meth. So, awhile back the FDA, ordered retailers to remove products with pseudophedrine from publicly accessible shelves.

Big Pharma knew that we, the American consumer, were not a particularly motivated group and that standing in lines was not one of our favorite pastimes, so they reformulated many of their cold products eliminating psuedophedrine and in my rarely humble opinion, rendered them as useful as sugar pills.

What most people don’t know is that you can still get many of the original formulations, but you have to ask a pharmacist for them AND provide a photo ID and signature for tracking purposes. Thank you thank you almighty pharmacist (or more likely a pharmacy technician) for providing me the one thing that actually provides me relief from my common cold symptoms.

Now, about the same time the FDA pulled psuedophedrine products from the shelves, the powers that be (I believe it was the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics), also instituted new regulations banning most multi-symptom cold formulas for children. The AAP said they didn’t work anyway. Really? How many of them have hung on to their sanity by a thread with a congested and miserable 1 year old only to be saved by Pedicare? I have friends who SWORE by Triaminic. Hey, they worked for us!

I spoke at length about this change with my children’s pediatrician and she said the biggest problem was that most parents were overdosing their children. Once again, a few dorks who can’t read labels ruin it for the rest of us. Grrrr. We talked about psudophedrine. She said that yes, it was safe for my kids (who were 8 and almost 4 at the time) and she gave me the doses. She did warn me that some people don’t react well to psudophedrine. This is a fact of which I was well aware. My husband cannot take decongestants as they increase is heartbeat and give him the shakes.

This is all leading somewhere I promise.

We are fortunate. Truly, the kids don’t get sick much, and I’m not one to offer medicine at the drop of hat. However, by the time my son had his 4th cold settled into is ears and developed into raging ear infection I was ready for something, ANYTHING to stop the insanity. I talked to my pharmacist (not the tech) and she agreed to order me a bottle of liquid psuedophedrine. Whoo Hooo! Yay! Amen, Hallelujah and Praise Be . . . aaaaaannnnnnnndddddd then the colds and ear infections stopped.

This is the first cold either of them have had in a long time. I was determined that this time I was going to keep the goop out of his ears. Yes he’s older and he’s grown significantly, but I wasn’t taking ANY chances. That said, I was a little wary of what his reaction to psuedophedrine might be, so I held out the first few days. I gave him Benadryl (also doctor recommended), and that dried up his nose some, plus had the added benefit of making him a tad drowsy. Today we tried the psuedophedrine. The first dose was effective and he seemed fine. About 5 hours later we gave him a second dose. ZING, PING, POP, ohmygawdhaveyouMETmysonthebabblingpinball??????????? He’s an energetic kid to begin with, but now he was just off the charts. At dinner, my husband said “you could never give him this and send him to school.” Well, I could, but I really LIKE his kindergarten teacher. The directions say every 4-6 hours. I supposed if I’m desperate, I might try it again, and spread the doses out even farther, but I’m thinking we’ll stick with Benadryl.

My daughter on the other had as been find on psuedophedrine (she can take the tablets). It has worked well for her. Just another way that they are COMPLETE opposites. So, if your family is suffering with runny noses, consider standing in line and getting some psuedophedrine, just keep an eye out for babbling pinballs.

Please note, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one of TV (10 points to anyone who gets THAT reference), I am simply sharing my experiences with a product that I like and have purchased with my own money. You should talk to your doctor and pharmacist before starting any new medications.


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