Although generic Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) products are currently available, they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Any medication containing pseudoephedrine is required to be kept behind the pharmacy counter, and people need to show identification to buy these products. As an unintended consequence, however, generic versions of Sudafed are difficult to find because many manufacturers have stopped making the generic products.
Is a Generic Version of Sudafed Available?
Sudafed® (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) is a non-prescription medication used for treating nasal and sinus congestion due to allergies and the common cold. It belongs to a group of medications known as decongestants.
Brand-name Sudafed is made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Generic Sudafed is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
What Happened to Generic Sudafed?
Any medication containing pseudoephedrine (including Sudafed and generic versions of Sudafed) is required to be kept behind the pharmacy counter. People need to show identification to buy Sudafed and are limited to a certain amount of the medication per month. These measures were put in place to decrease the use of pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine (see Abuse of Pseudoephedrine for more information).
However, as an unintended consequence, generic versions of Sudafed may be difficult to find. Many generic manufacturers chose to stop making generic Sudafed, instead replacing it with generic Sudafed PE (which contains phenylephrine, a different decongestant that is not used to make methamphetamine). Also, many pharmacies choose only to stock a few (usually brand-name) Sudafed products, since "behind the counter" space is usually quite limited in most pharmacies.
It should be noted there are no generic versions of extended-release Sudafed tablets (Sudafed 12 Hour and Sudafed 24 Hour).