PPA is a chemical used in hundreds of over-the-counter and prescription medications. PPA was very common in diet drugs, nasal decongestants and cough medications. Annually, U.S. consumers buy about 6 billion doses of product containing PPA. PPA, however, is suspected in causing between 200 and 500 hemorrhagic strokes per year in patients age 18 to 49. Popular PPA Products containing PPA include:
Regulators determined that PPA is linked to cases of bleeding strokes in adults under the age of 50. Research pointed to a higher risk of hemorrhagic strokes, or bleeding into the brain, for women, but the FDA cautioned that men were also at risk. The strokes occurred within three days after people took the products. Since November 6, 2000, the FDA has moved to take PPA off the market. U.S. health officials have also urged consumers to stop taking decongestants and diet drugs containing PPA. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also asked all drug companies to voluntarily stop marketing products containing PPA. The agency is writing a proposal that will make the sale of PPA products, both prescription and over-the-counter, illegal. That process is likely to take several months. Drug makers, however, have the option to reformulate their products with other ingredients.