Phenylephrine Tablets

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that treats sinus congestion and pressure. It reduces symptoms of a runny or stuffy nose by decreasing swelling in your nose. This makes it easier to breathe. The brand name of this medication is Sudafed PE®

What is this medication?

PHENYLEPHRINE (fen il EF rin) treats a runny or stuffy nose. It may also be used to treat sinus congestion and pressure. It works by decreasing swelling in the nose, making it easier to breathe. It belongs to a group of medications called decongestants.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Sudafed PE, Sudafed PE Congestion, Sudafed PE Sinus Congestion, Sudogest PE

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Prostate problems
  • Taken an MAOI like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, or Parnate in last 14 days
  • Thyroid disease
  • Trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to phenylephrine, other decongestants, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medication with food, water, or milk to prevent stomach upset. Take your medication at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be prescribed for children as young as 6 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Patients over 60 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medication with any of the following:

  • Bromocriptine
  • Cocaine
  • Dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergoloid mesylates, methysergide, or ergot-type medication
  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
  • Other stimulant medications

This medication may also interact with the following:

  • Anesthesia
  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Medications for mental depression

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. See your care team if you are not better in 7 days or if you have a fever.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Heart palpitations—rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Increase in blood pressure

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Copyright ©2023 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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