Pseudoephedrine Harder to Find

Off-the-shelf allergy remedies might be missing this ingredient

Can't find your favourite cold or allergy remedy with pseudoephedrine? Are youW worried that it's been taken off the market? Look again: it might just be behind the counter at your local pharmacy or corner store.

As of September 30th, the US Patriot Act kicked in, requiring consumers to provide photo ID and sign a logbook to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine. For many of us, this means a small inconvenience in getting the allergy remedies we know and trust.

It may seem a strange thing to fuss over, but the intention is to put a stop on local meth labs. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in crystal meth, a street drug that has taken the US by storm. By requiring ID and restricting the amount of products containing pseudoephedrine that a person can purchase over a certain time period, the hope is that crystal meth labs will be put out of business. Whether this action taken by the US government will work or not, is yet to be seen.

It's important for consumers to know that pseudoephedrine products are still available. You can either show your ID and get the real thing, or switch to allergy remedy products that use phenylephrine. Phenylephrine is a similar drug, but is less powerful than pseudoephedrine.

The problem with phenylephrine is that you may have to take a much higher dose in order to get the same effect as a small dose of pseudoephedrine. While some studies show these higher doses to be safe, they have not yet been approved by the FDA.

If you aren't willing to risk a high dose of phenylephrine and can't be bothered to show ID and sign a log book, you can always choose other types of allergy remedy products to get relief. One such option is steroid nasal spray, with brand names including Flonase, Nasonex and Rhinocort. However, you'll need a prescription to get these products. You could also try non-steroid nasal sprays, but be warned: these can cause a kind of "rebound" congestion if used for more than a few days.

News Release, October 27, 2006

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