Drugs Q & A

Why Was Bromfed Discontinued?

Bromfed is a medication that provides temporary relief of symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose or throat, itchy or watery eyes, cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation, nasal congestion, nasal passages swelling) associated with the common cold, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), sinusitis, or other upper respiratory allergies.

Each 5ml of Bromfed DM Cough Syrup contain the following ingredients;

  • Brompheniramine maleate 2mg
  • Pseudoephedrine HCl 30mg
  • Dextromethorphan HBr 10mg

It also contains alcohol 0.95% v/v; butterscotch flavor.

Was Bromfed discontinued?

No, they still make Bromfed DM but the medication is now more tightly controlled and only available on prescription because it contains pseudoephedrine, an ingredient sought after by drugs dealers for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.

Currently, most methamphetamine in the United States is produced by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) in Mexico. This methamphetamine is highly pure, potent, and low in price. The drug can be easily made in small clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine.

Typically, pseudoephedrine is mixed with other easily obtained ingredients in a single vessel, usually, an empty two-liter plastic soda container, initiating a chemical reaction that produces 1 to 3 grams of finished methamphetamine.

To curb the production of methamphetamine, Congress passed the Combat methamphetamine Epidemic Act in 2005, which requires that pharmacies and other retail stores keep logs of purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine and limits the amount of those products an individual can purchase per day. Restrictions on the chemicals used to make methamphetamine in the United States have dramatically reduced domestic production of the drug. In 2010, there were 15,256 domestic methamphetamine laboratory incidents—a figure that has fallen over 80 percent to 3,036 in 2017.

Data on drug seizures indicate that most domestic production of methamphetamine is now conducted in small laboratories that make two ounces or less of the drug-using common household items.

Mexico has also tightened its restrictions on pseudoephedrine and other methamphetamine precursor chemicals. But manufacturers adapt to these restrictions via small- or large-scale “smurfing” operations: obtaining pseudoephedrine from multiple sources, below the legal thresholds, using multiple false identifications.

Frequently reported side effects of Bromfed

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue

Other side effects of Bromfed: Talk with your doctor right away if you have any of these signs of:

  • A significant reaction like wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Is Bromfed Cough Syrup the same thing as codeine syrup?

No. Codeine is an opioid sometimes used in cough syrups as a cough suppressant. Bromfed Cough Syrup doesn’t contain any opioids, including codeine.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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