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Taking PBS medicines overseas

Travellers taking PBS medicines overseas should make sure the medicine is legal in the country they are travelling to by contacting the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate before leaving Australia.

If you are planning to take PBS medicines overseas for your own personal use or the use of someone travelling with you, you should:
  • contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you are visiting to make sure the medicine is legal there
  • carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking and stating that the medicine is for your personal use
  • leave the medicine in its original packaging
  • There are restrictions on the amount of PBS medicines you can take overseas. Check with your doctor before you travel.

Customs may detain any medicine suspected of being illegally exported. It is in your best interests to have a letter from your doctor explaining what the medicine is, how much you are carrying and that it is for your personal use. If you are unable to get a letter from your doctor, the Medicine Export Declaration form may be enough to let Customs know the medicine is for your personal use. People found to be illegally exporting PBS medicines overseas may be prosecuted.

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Pseudoephedrine - Misuse of decongestants

What are decongestants?
These medicines help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and ease the stuffiness and sinus pressure. They come as nasal sprays, like naphazoline (Privine), or phenylephrine (Sinex). They also come as pills, such as phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).

Don’t use a decongestant you take by mouth for more than a week without checking with your doctor. You shouldn’t use a decongestant nasal spray for more than 3 days, or it could make your congestion worse. Never give decongestants or any over-the-counter cold medicine to children under age 4.

Rebound congestion
Decongestant nasal sprays can help reduce nasal congestion when you have a cold. But after a few days, the lining of your nose may become less responsive to the medication. You may need more and more nasal spray to control congestion. If you stop using the medication, your congestion may get worse. This is known as rebound congestion. What's the fix? If you have rebound congestion, stop using the spray and wait. Call your doctor if you need help. To prevent rebound congestion, use decongestant spray for no more than a few days in a row.

Pseudoephedrine - what the fuss?
Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant which acts vascular smooth muscle in the respiratory tract. It is used for the relief of congestion associated with conditions such as acute and chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, otitis media and the common cold.

For some time now, pseudoephedrine has been targeted for non-therapeutic purposes. All forms (single ingredient and compound solid dose forms, liquid preparations and raw powder) are being used in the manufacture of amphetamines in clandestine laboratories for the illicit drug market. Recent reports confirm that most of the methamphetamine now available on Australia's illicit drug market is produced from pseudoephedrine-containing medicines diverted from community pharmacy.

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The information in the above were collected from the internet,
either from government websites or from reasonably reliable health information sources.
They are for general information only and should not replace the need of seeking medical care during illnesses.

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