New cold drug to cut down on meth

ELKINS – A large pharmacy chain recently announced it has stopped selling cold medications in West Virginia containing pseudoephedrine as its only active ingredient. But representatives from two local pharmacies – one in Elkins and one in Parsons – said they have adopted a better solution.

Health Center Pharmacy in Elkins and Community Care Pharmacy in Parsons will offer their customers the option of Nexafed, a 30-mg over-the-counter medicine used for nasal decongestion. Amanda Smith, pharmacy director of Health Facilities Inc., said this medicine uses impede technology.

“What that means is the medicine is manufactured so that when it is crushed and dissolved in water or alcohol, it turns to a gel,” Smith said. “It cannot be used to make the illegal methamphetamine.”

Smith said Nexafed offers patients an alternative, and still allows them to be able to treat their cold symptoms with pseudoephedrine, without contributing to the making of methamphetamine.

“This also keeps patients safe by assuring they do not have pseudoephedrine in their homes,” Smith said. “We want our patients to be safe, and this is a good alternative for what they need.”

Smith said there are no additional side effects with Nexafed’s impede technology.

“Nexafed is just the same, except it cannot be crushed down and used to make meth,” Smith said. “The procedure does not change the effects of the medicine.”

Smith said patients purchasing Nexafed must still present a driver’s license to purchase the medicine. The license and name are still logged into the national database.

“Those restrictions still apply with this medicine,” Smith said.

Smith said the pharmacies are trying to act proactively offering this medicine.

“This will help keep one of the medicines used in the manufacture of methamphetamine off the streets,” Smith said. “We want to do our best to protect our patients while providing for the medicines they need. There are a couple of other products, but we went with Nexafed because of its cost savings.”

Smith said she has used Nexafed and can recommend using the medicine to relieve cold symptoms. It is produced by Acura Pharmasuticals Inc.

Questions about Nexafed can be answered by calling Health Center Pharmacy at 304-636-6767 or Community Care Pharmacy at 304-478-2319.