Published: Mar 03, 2011 3:38 AM EST
Updated: Mar 03, 2011 12:41 AM EST

It's a same old drill: you get a cold, see the doctor, get a prescription. And you assume those pills are making you better, but the FDA says for decades, doctors have been prescribing pills that don't work.

Wednesday, the agency announced it's pulling 500 unapproved cold and allergy meds like  Lodrane, Cardec and Pedia-hist from the market.

"If you look at this list it's actually quite simple," Dr. Richard Wingert of Cape Coral Ear Nose and Throat explained. "There's only about 10 different ingredients on here and everything is simply a reformulation of about 10 basic ingredients. I am not amazed at this because I see how many formulations and concoctions these things are. Every manufacturer has one."

Officials say some have potentially risky combinations of ingredients, while others marketed as "timed-release" may release active ingredients too slowly or too quickly.

"It doesn't have a therapeutic effect and that's what we want," Wingert said. "Every drug goes off right away, and it's supposed to be a long-acting, sometimes a 24-hour drug."

Experts also concerned some are inappropriately labeled for use by infants and children.

Companies have 90 days to stop manufacturing and 180 days to stop shipping. The FDA assures consumers, there are still plenty of other medications on the market that do meet FDA standards.    

To see a full list of pulled medications, go to: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/EnforcementActivitiesbyFDA/SelectedEnforcementActionsonUnapprovedDrugs/ucm245106.htm