Down at the Target Pharmacy in Delta Township, pharmacist Jennifer Hardy has been busy filling prescriptions related to the common cold. While some need antibiotics to clear up infections, others turn to over the counter medications to alleviate symptoms, primarily decongestants containing pseudoephedrine.
"It comes into the sinuses area and causes the sinuses to shrink down, allows you to take air flow through the sinuses, allows you to breathe properly."
However, since March of 2006, drugs containing pseudoephedrine have only been available behind the counter. And according to Dr. John Wycoff, of Wycoff Wellness Center, that's where new products like Sudafed PE come in, using phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine.
"They're different chemicals, and there's some thought that the pseudoephedrine is a little bit more effective medication. But they're both decongestants. They both can be used for colds and respiratory infections."
Because the differences between pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are so small, it's just a matter of whether or not you want your medicine readily available on the shelves or your willingness to wait and get it from a pharmacist.
Hardy says, "It's a matter of almost convenience. There are some people that still prefer the original Sudafed and the problem being when the pharmacies are closed they can't get that."
But now the the comparable alternative is out there just in case the common cold catches up with you.