PPA (phenylpropanoline)

PPA is a synthetic drug with similar chemical composition to Ephedra and is a commonly used ingredient in prescription and over-the-counter cold medicines and dietary supplements. PPA has been marketed for many years and was first reviewed for safety and effectiveness by the FDA in 1976. PPA was approved as a safe and effective nasal decongestant; but because of reports of hemorrhagic strokes linked to PPA’s use, the FDA never finalized a safe and effective status for its use in weight control products.

A 1999 report (often referred to as the Yale study report) concluded that there was an association of PPA with hemorrhagic stroke particularly among females ages 18-49. The very same industry representatives that previously called for it have heavily criticized this report.

The FDA subsequently requested in October of 2000 that manufacturers remove PPA from their products, and the FDA also issued a general health advisory warning in November of 2000 to the consuming public about the risks associated with PPA. In spite of this public warning, the industry never issued a recall of these products and many consumers still possibly have products containing PPA on their shelves.

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