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

September 14, 2010 2:44:33 PM PDT
Despite a 70% rise in abuse, the Food & Drug Administration won't put new restrictions on popular medications

A panel of medical experts says cough medicines like Robitussin should continue to be sold over-the-counter, despite increasing abuse among teenagers that has prompted calls to restrict the products.

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

Abuse of the products, dubbed "robotripping," is on the rise, with more than 8,000 emergency room visits linked to the practice in 2008. Law enforcement officials asked the FDA to reconsider how it regulates the products.

But experts at Tuesday's meeting said making the products prescription-only would be overly burdensome.

They sent the issue back to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which will make the ultimate decision on how the products will be sold.


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