Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine: managing the risk of misuse - 2011 review

This public assessment report has been superseded by a more recent report published in 2015.

30 August 2011

Pseudoephedrine (PSE) and ephedrine (EPH) are nasal decongestants (drugs which help to clear a blocked nose) contained in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.

There is a risk that PSE and EPH can be extracted from these medicines and used in the illegal manufacture of the class A drug methylamphetamine.

To reduce this risk, measures were put in place in 2008 to control the sale and supply of PSE and EPH-containing medicines. The impact of the measures on the misuse of these medicines has been reviewed yearly by the Commission on Human Medicines and the MHRA.

The 2011 review showed that the measures were helping to contain the problem of misuse, and that the sale of PSE and EPH products had reduced. This Public Assessment Report summarises the findings of the 2011 review.

This report presents the evidence that was available when the regulatory decision was made, showing a ‘snapshot’ of the clinical landscape at the time. However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).

Page last modified: 11 February 2016