ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -An active ingredient in many common nasal decongestants bought over-the-counter is under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Continuous studies on phenylephrine have brought its effectiveness into question.

Dr. Hillary Matson teaches students at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences about active ingredients like phenylephrine. She says the study is not due to dangers.

“Phenylephrine is a product that we use for over-the-counter to alleviate nasal decongestion. It works by temporarily constricting blood vessels. If you have been using phenylephrine to care for yourself, to care for your loved ones, safety is not being questioned at all. The study comes right out to say that.”

As for the FDA, reviewers say new testing shows that only traces of the medicine actually hit nasal passages when taken by mouth. Other applications of the active ingredient aren’t under review. “It’s still very effective as an inhaled or nasal spray decongestant. It’s just not as effective when you take it in tablet or liquid form,” explained Supervising Pharmacist at Lincoln Pharmacy, Zarina Jalal.

Albany’s Lincoln Pharmacy will still carry other decongestants with and without the need for a prescription. If those with phenylephrine are pulled by the FDA, Jalal says providers will adapt. “We’ll probably have other cold and flu medications that are reformulated. Taking out the phenylephrine and having other decongestants in its place.”