The Maxiclear range
From the mid-2000s, law enforcement and regulatory agencies expressed concern about the conversion of pseudoephedrine - commonly used in over-the-counter cold and flu products - into illegal methamphetamine (commonly known as ‘P’ or ‘Ice’).
Since then cold and flu products containing pseudoephedrine have been made prescription only in New Zealand (2011). In Australia, cold and flu products containing pseudoephedrine are classified as schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only), with sales limited by volume, and identification obligations on purchasers.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Well in advance of classification changes to these products, AFT Pharmaceuticals had begun to develop cold and flu products that did not contain pseudoephedrine as one of the ingredients.
This was a choice made by the company’s R&D team who deliberately opted away from pseudoephedrine on ethical grounds.
While phenylephrine has now become the ready replacement for pseudoephedrine in many over the counter (OTC) cold and flu products around the world, AFT was well ahead of the curve in terms of the shift away from an ingredient so clearly linked to methamphetamine.
THE VALUE OF R&D
The Maxiclear range showcases AFT’s commitment to innovation in at least two ways.
First, products within the range (specifically Maxiclear Cold and Nasal and Maxiclear Hayfever and Sinus) have a unique patented combination of a non-drowsy antihistamine and a nasal decongestant.
Inventor Dr Hartley Atkinson developed the products to fill a clear gap in the market.
Antihistamines are useful for treating allergy symptoms caused by hayfever. But research showed that 84% of people with hayfever also have a blocked or runny nose1. Most antihistamines have little effect on nasal congestion. So Dr Atkinson combined an antihistamine with a nasal decongestant in a unique combination to provide a more effective treatment option for hayfever sufferers.
Second, many over the counter cold and flu products combine phenylephrine (a decongestant) and paracetamol (an analgesic). AFT’s groundbreaking research - published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine2 - has revealed that when combined with paracetamol the level of phenylephrine is effectively twice what it should be.
AFT has since developed new versions of products within the Maxiclear range that are in the process of being licensed for use around the world. These new versions will ensure people receive the correct level of phenylephrine as originally deemed safe by regulators in a number of countries.
- G. W. Canonica, J. Bousquet, J. Mullol, G. K. Scadding, and J. C. Virchow, “A survey of the burden of allergic rhinitis in Europe”, Allergy (2007) 62 Suppl 85:17-25; and F. C. Hoyte and R. K. Katial, “Antihistamine therapy in allergic rhinitis”, Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. (2011) August; 31(3):509-43.
- Hartley C. Atkinson, Ioana Stanescu, and Brian J. Anderson, “Increased Phenylephrine Plasma Levels with Administration of Acetaminophen”, New England Journal of Medicine (2014) 370;12 1171-1172.