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The Safety of Phenylpropanolamine in Patients with Stable Hypertension

Kurt Kroenke, MD, LTC, MC; Deborah M. Omori, MD, MAJ, MC; John O. Simmons, MD, MAJ, MC; David R. Wood, DO; and Nancy J. Meier, RN
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: Kurt Kroenke, MD, Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Kroenke and Omori: Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Dr. Simmons: 1610 Hatcher Lane, Columbia, TN 38401.

Dr. Wood: 3326 E. Southcross Boulevard, San Antonio, TX 78223.

Ms. Meier: General Medicine Service, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234.


Ann Intern Med. 1989;111(12):1043-1044. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-111-12-1043
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Phenylpropanolamine is a popular decongestant and appetite suppressant, with an estimated 5 billion doses consumed annually (1). However, label directions still caution people with hypertension against using products containing phenylpropanolamine. Isolated reports of complications have often involved either phenylpropanolamine overdoses or a more potent isomeric form unavailable in the United States (1-3). Given the prevalence of hypertension and the wide availability of phenylpropanolamine, the rare occurrence of hypertensive events in persons taking phenylpropanolamine is just as likely coincidental as causative. The purported risks of phenylpropanolamine remain debatable (4, 5). Numerous clinical trials have shown the safety of phenylpropanolamine in normotensive

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