NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT. A team a medical researchers from 43 American hospitals reports that women using products containing phenylpropanolamine are at substantially increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke (rupture of an artery wall in the brain). Phenylpropanolamine is found in appetite suppressants (diet pills) and in such cold and cough remedies as Contac Cold 12 Hour Relief, Coricidin D, Triaminicin, Dimetapp, and Sinutab. The just-completed study included 702 men and women (50:50 ratio) between the ages of 18 and 49 years who had suffered a stroke (subarachnoid or intracerebral) and 1376 control subjects matched for age, sex and race. The researchers found that the incidence of stroke among the women who had used appetite suppressants within three days preceding the stroke was almost 17 times higher than in the women who had not used appetite suppressants. The incidence of stroke among the women who had used phenylpropanolamine-containing cold and cough remedies for the first time in the preceding 24 hours was three times higher than among the women who had not. An analysis in the men showed no increased risk of a hemorrhagic stroke in association with the use of phenylpropanolamine- containing cold and cough remedies. None of the men reported use of appetite suppressants. The research team concludes that one woman may have a stroke for every 107,000 to 3,268,000 women using phenylpropanolamine-containing appetite suppressants.
Kernan, Walter N., et al. Phenylpropanolamine and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. New England Journal of Medicine, December 21, 2000