Pseudoephedrine is a drug found in both prescription and over-the-counter products used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, hay fever, and other respiratory allergies. It can also be used illegally to produce methamphetamine.
The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 has been incorporated into the Patriot Act signed by President Bush on March 9, 2006. The act bans over-the-counter sales of cold medicines that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is commonly used to make methamphetamine. The sale of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine is limited to behind the counter. The amount of pseudoephedrine that an individual can purchase each month is limited and individuals are required to present photo identification to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine. In addition, stores are required to keep personal information about purchasers for at least two years.