Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine: managing the risk of misuse - 2012 review

This public assessment report has been superseded by a more recent report published in 2015

29 October 2012

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

There is a risk that pseudoephedrine and ephedrine can be extracted from the medicines and used in the illegal manufacture of the class A drug methylamphetamine (crystal meth). In 2008, legal measures were introduced in the UK to manage this risk of misuse. The measures included reduced pack sizes, and a tighter control on sales.

These measures have been reviewed yearly since 2008 (see MHRA Public Assessment Reports from 2009, 2010 and 2011), and were reviewed again in 2012.

As with previous reviews, the 2012 review concluded that the measures are continuing to effectively manage the risk of misuse of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. A Public Assessment Report which summarises the findings from the 2012 review is now available.

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 However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).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: 16 February 2016