melt-in-your-mouth medicine

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TREND WATCH

Forget pills and potions--strips are the newest thing on the drugstore aisle. Here's a taste.

Legend for Chart:

A - Calm a cough or relieve a cold
B - Soothe a sore throat
C - Provide vitamins, herbs, and minerals
D - Freshen breath
E - Deliver a burst of energy

A

B

C

D

E

NAME, PRICE

• TheraFlu Thin Strips
(12 for $5.49, either
the cough or multi-symptom
versions)

• Triaminic Thin
Strips (16 for $5.99)

• Chloraseptic Sore
Throat Relief Strips
(40 for $5.29)

• Little Colds Cold
Relief Strips (24 for
$3.99)

• Healthy Moments
(28 for $4.99); more
than 25 varieties
available, including
some for kids

• Listerine PocketPaks
(24 for $1.69)

• Nature's Gate
Zap Breath Strips
(24 for $2.69)

• Adrenalin Boost
Strip (24 for $2.29)

BENEFITS

They're convenient if
you don't want to carry
around a medicine
bottle, have a hard
time swallowing pills,
or don't like lozenges.

A neat alternative
to messy sprays and
sticky syrups.

They're appealing if
you don't like swallowing
big, horsey
pills. And the flavors
are unusual (margarita
lime, anyone?).

Similar to breath
mints, they help mask
oral odors. Listerine
strips have germ-fighting
ingredients,
like the mouthwash.

There's no adrenalin
here--and far less caffeine
(16 mg) than in a
cup of coffee (100-200
mg). They may be easier
on sensitive stomachs.

KEEP IN MIND

They're pricey per
dose--and neither
active ingredient
(dextromethorphan and
diphenhydramine)
brought relief to sick
kids in a recent study.
Cherry-flavored TheraFlu
tastes medicinal
and faux-sugar sweet.

The anesthetic in
Chloraseptic numbs
your mouth as well
as your throat. Little
Colds soothes by way
of pectin, a jelly-like
substance from fruit.

Don't look at strips
as a way to get vitamins
into a kid who
doesn't like the taste
of chewables. The
strips, like most vitamins,
don't taste great.

The effect only lasts
about 30 minutes,
dentists say. Listerine
strips are less powerful
than the mouthwash
because the
dose is smaller.

You'll likely absorb the
caffeine faster than if
you drank it. Java
junkies may need to
consume several strips
for a noticeable effect.
Taste: a little bitter (like
coffee) but minty.
~~~~~~~~

By Jacqueline Stenson

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