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Some widely used over-the-counter cold and flu medicines may be exposing patients to unexpectedly high amounts of one ingredient, revealing a lapse in regulations and perhaps raising safety concerns, a company that develops such drugs reported on Wednesday.

The company, AFT Pharmaceuticals of New Zealand, said that when the nasal decongestant phenylephrine, or PE, was combined with the pain reliever acetaminophen, levels of PE in the blood were two to four times as high as when the same dose of PE was taken alone.

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