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Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine: Controlling the risk of misuse of medicines

The information on this page was updated in July 2010. Please view the updated information.

Cold and flu remedies containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine will remain as pharmacy (P) medicines after tighter controls were found to minimise the misuse of these ingredients in the illegal manufacture of methylamphetamine (crystal meth).

A Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Public Assessment Report (published 29 July 2009), reviewing the impact of the tighter controls revealed no new reports of the misuse of these drugs in the past year.

Pharmacies have also seen a 25% drop in the number of pseudoephedrine tablets or capsules being sold. Following a 2007 public consultation, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) advised that these medicines should only be available in the pharmacy in reduced pack sizes and with tighter controls on their sale.


Page last modified: 30 July 2009