Pseudophedrine and ephedrine contained in nasal decongestants and cold and flu remedies are to have tighter controls, the medicines and drugs regulator has announced.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says a public consultation showed increasing concern about the potential for the drugs to be used in the illegal manufacture of methylamphetamine (crystal meth).
The MHRA is acting following a ruling by the Commission of Human Medicines, which conducted the consultation that ended in June.
The CHM ruled large packs of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine will be replaced by small packs of 720mg, the equivalent of 12 60mg tablets or 24 30mg capsules.
Sale of the drugs must be carried out by a pharmacist and they will be reclassified from pharmacy only to prescription only.
Dr June Raine, MHRA director of vigilance and risk management of medicines, said: 'The MHRA is introducing these measures to protect the public health following concern that was highlighted during the consultation process.'