Generic Name: acetaminophen/phenylephrine (a-SEET-a-MIN-oh-fen/FEN-il-EF-rin)
Brand Name: Examples include Excedrin Sinus Headache and Vicks DayQuil Sinus
Acetaminophen/phenylephrine is used for:
Relieving symptoms such as pain and sinus congestion due to colds, upper respiratory infections, and allergies. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Acetaminophen/phenylephrine is an analgesic and decongestant combination. The analgesic works in the brain to help decrease pain. The decongestant works by constricting blood vessels and reducing swelling in the nasal passages, which decreases stuffiness.
Do NOT use acetaminophen/phenylephrine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in acetaminophen/phenylephrine
- you have severe high blood pressure, severe heart blood vessel disease, rapid heartbeat, or severe heart problems
- you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using acetaminophen/phenylephrine:
Some medical conditions may interact with acetaminophen/phenylephrine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of adrenal gland problems (eg, adrenal gland tumor), heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, blood vessel problems, stroke, glaucoma, an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems, seizures, an overactive thyroid, severe kidney problems, or liver problems (eg, hepatitis), or if you drink 3 or more drinks with alcohol per day
- if you smoke or have a history of addiction to alcohol
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with acetaminophen/phenylephrine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, tolcapone), furazolidone, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), indomethacin, isoniazid, MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may increase the risk of acetaminophen/phenylephrine's side effects
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), digoxin, or droxidopa because the risk of bleeding, irregular heartbeat, or heart attack may be increased
- Bromocriptine because its side effects may be increased by acetaminophen/phenylephrine
- Guanadrel, guanethidine, mecamylamine, methyldopa, or reserpine because their effectiveness may be decreased by acetaminophen/phenylephrine
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if acetaminophen/phenylephrine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use acetaminophen/phenylephrine:
Use acetaminophen/phenylephrine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take acetaminophen/phenylephrine by mouth with or without food.
- If you miss a dose of acetaminophen/phenylephrine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use acetaminophen/phenylephrine.
Important safety information:
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use acetaminophen/phenylephrine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do not take diet or appetite control medicines while you use acetaminophen/phenylephrine unless your doctor tells you to.
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine has acetaminophen and phenylephrine in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has acetaminophen or a decongestant (eg, phenylephrine) in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
- If your symptoms do not get better within 7 days or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to acetaminophen/phenylephrine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine may harm your liver. Your risk may be greater if you drink alcohol while you are using acetaminophen/phenylephrine. Talk to your doctor before you take acetaminophen/phenylephrine or other fever reducers if you drink more than 3 drinks with alcohol per day.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take acetaminophen/phenylephrine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Use acetaminophen/phenylephrine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Different brands of acetaminophen/phenylephrine may have different dosing instructions for CHILDREN. Follow the dosing instructions on the package labeling. If your doctor has given you instructions, follow those. If you are unsure of the dose to give a child, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using acetaminophen/phenylephrine while you are pregnant. Acetaminophen/phenylephrine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking acetaminophen/phenylephrine. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use acetaminophen/phenylephrine, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of acetaminophen/phenylephrine:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; excitability; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness or anxiety; trouble sleeping; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); dark urine; difficulty urinating or inability to urinate; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; mood or mental changes; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; stomach pain; tremor; vision changes; yellowing of skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blurred vision; confusion; hallucinations; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; unusually fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; vomiting.Proper storage of acetaminophen/phenylephrine:
Store acetaminophen/phenylephrine between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep acetaminophen/phenylephrine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about acetaminophen/phenylephrine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Acetaminophen/phenylephrine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take acetaminophen/phenylephrine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about acetaminophen/phenylephrine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to acetaminophen/phenylephrine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using acetaminophen/phenylephrine.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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