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FDA Warns of Over-the-Counter Drug

November 6, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Food and Drug Administration warned Americans Monday not to use dozens of over-the-counter cold remedies or appetite suppressants until their makers replace an ingredient that may cause hemorrhagic strokes, especially in young women.

The ingredient, called phenylpropanolamine or PPA, is found in products ranging from Dexatrim to Triaminic.

The FDA said it is taking steps to formally ban PPA, but in the meantime wrote manufacturers asking them voluntarily to immediately quit selling products containing the ingredient.

The risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain, is very small to an individual user. But with millions of Americans swallowing PPA every day, the FDA determined the ingredient could be to blame for 200 to 500 strokes just in people under age 50 _ those who typically are too young to be at risk for strokes.

``We suggest you stop taking the drug immediately and use an alternative,″ says an FDA warning issued for consumers Monday.

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