Actifed is a registered trademark for a combination antihistamine and nasal decongestant medication used for cold and allergy symptoms. Developed in 1958 by Burroughs Wellcome & Company (now part of GlaxoSmithKline), the product was later acquired by Pfizer, and was most recently sold by Johnson & Johnson. In the U.S., the formula was changed in 2006 due to a change in the legal environment; at the same time, distribution of the product was limited to certain stores. The United States Food and Drug Administration, FDA, lists Actifed as discontinued.
2006 U.S. formula change
The original formula for Actifed contained pseudoephedrine hydrochloride 60 mg as the nasal decongestant and triprolidine hydrochloride 2.5 mg as the antihistamine. However, in response to widespread laws requiring products containing pseudoephedrine to be kept behind the pharmacy counter, Pfizer changed Actifed's U.S. formula in late 2006 to contain chlorpheniramine maleate 4 mg as the antihistamine and phenylephrine HCl 10 mg as the nasal decongestant. Many users of the old formula have complained that the new formula is not as effective at relieving their symptoms. Other brands available behind the counter that use the old formula include Genac and Aprodine. The American pharmacy chain Walgreens produces a house-brand version of Actifed, Wal-Act, which uses the original pseudoephedrine/triprolidine formula.
In the UK, Germany, and Thailand the formulation remained unchanged. The product is available Over-the-counter as a pack of 12 tablets produced by McNeil. Each tablet contains Triprolidine hydrochloride 2.5 mg and Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride 60 mg.
In Germany, the product is marketed under the registered trademark Rhino PRONT.
Actifed was included in the standard medical kit aboard the United States Apollo missions, and was used during Apollo 7 and Apollo 12 when crew members developed head cold symptoms. When Actifed was made available over-the-counter, former astronauts from the Apollo missions appeared in commercials promoting the product.
- Our history - About GlaxoSmithKline
- "FAQ". pfizerch.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007.
- "Walgreens Wal-Act Cold & Allergy Medicine Tablets".
- SP-368 Biomedical Results of Apollo, NASA
- YouTube video of astronauts' advertisement