PPA (Phenylpropanolamine)

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What is PPA?

What is the problem?

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What is the problem?


The FDA became concerned over the use of PPA after a report titled "PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) & Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke: Final Report of the Hemorrhagic Stroke Project"  was sent to the agency. The report, based on research conducted at Yale University School of Medicine, found that people who took PPA had an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke -- a condition that literally causes the brain to bleed. The risk appeared to be greatest in women, many of whom were using diet pills containing PPA.


After receiving the report in October 2000, the FDA sent a letter to drug makers and distributors who sold products containing PPA. The letter issued a Health Warning for PPA: "Based on the recent research findings, FDA has significant concerns about the continued use of PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) in prescription drug products. FDA intends to take action to remove PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) from prescription drug products. FDA plans to issue a Public Health Advisory on PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) to alert consumers and health professionals about the report."


The FDA had suspicions of the risks of PPA dating back to the early 1990ís.  However, after reviewing all the available data in 1992, the agency concluded that the data did not warrant removing PPA from the over-the-counter market. The lack of information led to a five-year long study in which the risk of stroke was eventually exposed. The research was conducted by researchers at Yale University and was sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the nation's largest representative of over-the-counter drug makers.


In addition to the problem of hemorrhagic stroke, PPA shared many of the same side effects of ephedra and other stimulant medications including:

  • acute psychosis
  • convulsions
  • acute renal failure (kidney damage)
  • heart damage
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)


In addition, PPA may also cause:

  • nausea
  • emesis (bed wetting)
  • anxiety
  • heart palpitations
  • paresthesias
  • tremors
  • tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • myalgias
  • reversible renal failure
  • increased intracerebral pressure



Do I have a PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) case?

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