FDA panel: cough meds should stay over-the-counter

AP, September 15, 2010

A panel of medical experts said Tuesday that cough medicines like Robitussin and Nyquil should continue to be sold over-the-counter, despite increased abuse among teenagers that has prompted calls to restrict sales of the products.

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 15-9 against a proposal that would require a doctor's note to buy medicines containing dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in more than 100 over-the-counter medications.

The FDA is not bound to follow the group's advice, though it often does. Specifically, panelists were asked if the ingredient should be "scheduled," a regulatory move designed to decrease access to drugs with high potential for abuse.

"For me there was no data to show us that scheduling this product would decrease abuse," said panelist Janet Engle, professor and department head of pharmacy practice at the University of Illinois.

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