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About Phenylephrine


Updated July 20, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Phenylephrine Is Used For:

Phenylephrine is used to treat congestion caused by the common cold, allergies, or sinusitis. It relieves symptoms like runny nose, stuffy nose, and sinus pressure.

How Phenylephrine Works:

Phenylephrine causes the blood vessels inside the nasal passageways to become smaller (also called vasoconstriction).

Who Can Take Phenylephrine:

Persons who are suffering from congestion and who are over the age of four can take this drug. Scientists are questioning the efficacy of use in children between the ages of four and eleven.

Notify your physician and pharmacist of all other medications you are taking (prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal supplements) before taking phenylephrine to avoid drug interactions.

Who Should Not Take Phenylephrine:

Phenylephrine should not be taken by anyone who has had a previous allergic reaction to phenylephrine or a combination product containing it. Consult your doctor before taking this drug if you are pregnant or nursing, have thyroid or heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Do not take phenylephrine if you are taking an MAO inhibitor, such as Marplan or Nardil.


Medline Plus. Phenylephrine. Accessed: July 18, 2010 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a606008.html

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