We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Phenylephrine?

Alex Tree
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Phenylephrine is a medication often used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, seasonal allergies, and other conditions. This decongestant is normally available over the counter in many countries around the world, meaning it can be purchased without a prescription. It comes in a variety of forms, though nasal spray is an especially common form, and can be taken about every four hours to temporarily lessen or eliminate symptoms of minor ailments. Phenylephrine can temporarily worsen some conditions, like epilepsy and hypertension, in addition to having other, more common side effects. Less common uses of the drug are to increase blood pressure and pupil dilation.

The medication as a decongestant is typically taken in the forms of a tablet, nasal spray, or soluble film placed on the tongue. Nasal spray is a particularly popular form of phenylephrine in several countries. The effectiveness of the drug to relieve congestion is a subject of debate and research because some studies have found that it is no more effective than a placebo, in direct contradiction to other studies. To dilate the pupils, usually for a health professional to better exam the eye, the drug takes the form of eye drops. As a way to increase blood pressure, phenylephrine can be especially useful because it does not increase heart rate as well.

Phenylephrine, no matter how it is administered, can increase the risk of epileptic seizures in those who have epilepsy, but its most common side effect is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Abdominal cramping, vomiting, and an upset stomach may also be the fault of phenylephrine. Less severe side effects are temporary insomnia, nervousness, and dizziness. Around one week after taking phenylephrine in a nasal spray, a patient may experience even more congestion, which is called rebound congestion and should not be treated with further sprays. If a person already has high blood pressure, he or she will usually be advised by his or her health professional to not take this medication.

This medication is available in popular cold remedies around the world. For example, in the United States, Tylenol®, DayQuil®, and Benadryl® commonly use phenylephrine as an ingredient in some of their products. The brands Decolgen and Bioflu in the Philippines may also contain the drug. Italy, India, and the United Kingdom are also among the countries that have products containing the drug. Even with its effectiveness being questioned, the medication has a strong market.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.