From 1 April 2006, pack sizes containing pseudoephedrine 800 mg in liquid form or 720 mg in solid form are now prescription-only. This change is designed to mitigate diversion of pseudoephedrine to the synthesis of methamphetamine by so-called "pseudo-runners". Pseudo-runners have previously targeted pharmacies and there have been several recent initiatives for community pharmacies to control pseudoephedrine diversion. For information about these campaigns and pseudoephedrine diversion see the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia web site.

General practitioners should be aware that, as a result of these changes, pseudo-runners may switch their attention to general practice in order to gain supply to prescribed quantities of pseudoephedrine.

Pseudoephedrine is indicated for relief of nasal congestion associated with acute or chronic rhinitis. Pooled data support only a moderate benefit from a single dose of oral decongestant in the common cold.1 Pseudoephedrine is recommended in allergic rhinitis only when severe nasal blockage occurs or when patients need to travel by air.2


  1. Taverner D, Latte J, Draper M. Nasal decongestants for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;(3):CD001953.
  2. Walls RS, Heddle RJ, Tang MLK, et al. Optimising the management of allergic rhinitis: an Australian perspective. MJA 2005;182:28–33.