Phenylephrine is a decongestant that helps relieve the symptoms of coldsallergies and hay fever.

Pronunciation: FEN-il-EFF-rin

What are phenylephrine’s uses?

Phenylephrine is used to treat symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion and discomfort, as well as congestion of the Eustachian tubes (the tubes that drain fluid from the inner ear).

What dosage should you take?

For adults, the phenylephrine nasal solution dosage is two to three sprays in each nostril every four hours. 

For children, check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Do not administer this medicine to a child below the age of two years. Always ask your doctor for advice when administering cold or flu medication to a child as misuse can have adverse effects.
  • It is not known whether this medicine can be harmful to an unborn baby, so seek advice from your doctor before using it during pregnancy. 
  • Phenylephrine can pass into breast milk, so avoid using it while breastfeeding.
  • If you are scheduled for surgery, advise your surgeon that you are taking this medication as you may need to stop using it for a short time.
  • Do not use this medication if you have taken an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) – the older class of antidepressants – in the last 14 days.
  • Do not use phenylephrine solution for longer than three days unless instructed by your doctor.

Phenylephrine should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • A phenylephrine allergy
  • An allergy to other decongestants

Phenylephrine should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions:

What drug interactions could you experience?

As a rule, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take to ensure you don’t suffer the effects of adverse drug interactions.

What are phenylephrine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Burning or stinging in the nose
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • An increase in discharge from the nose
  • Allergy symptoms include hives, rash, swelling of face, mouth, tongue or lips, and difficulty breathing.

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Call a doctor or the ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015