Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) – Side Effects, Interactions, Uses, Dosage, Warnings

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that is used to treat stuffy nose and sinus congestion caused by the common cold, hay fever, or other allergies.

Phenylephrine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


What is Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) used for?

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Hypotension
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Shock
  • Cardiogenic Shock
  • Sepsis
  • Hypotension Secondary to Hemodialysis


What is the most important information I should know about Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

Do not use phenylephrine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

You should not use phenylephrine if you are allergic to it.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure;
  • diabetes;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • an enlarged prostate and urination problems; or
  • any drug allergies.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

The liquid form of this medicine may contain phenylalanine. Check the medication label if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using phenylephrine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat;
  • severe dizziness or nervousness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • increased blood pressure–severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears.

Common side effects may include:

  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • loss of appetite; or
  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Risk cannot be ruled out
Based on FDA pregnancy categories

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.


What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using other cough or cold medicines that may contain similar ingredients.

Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

Use Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Cold medicine is only for short-term use until your symptoms clear up.

Always follow directions on the medicine label about giving cold medicine to a child.

You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Remove an orally disintegrating tablet from the package only when you are ready to take the medicine. Place the tablet in your mouth and allow it to dissolve, without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days, or if you have a fever, rash, or headaches.

If you need surgery, tell your surgeon if you are currently using this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.

What should I do if I missed a dose of Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

Since cold medicine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. Skip any missed dose if it's almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on: Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE),  call your doctor or the Poison Control center

(800) 222-1222

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE), call 911



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