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phenylephrine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: phenylephrine (FEN il EFF rin)
Brand Name: Ah-Chew D, Dimetapp Cold Drops, Nasop, Nasop12, Sudafed PE, Sudafed PE Children's Nasal Decongestant, Sudafed PE Quick Dissolve, Sudogest PE, Triaminic Thin Strips Cold, ...show all 19 brand names

What is phenylephrine?

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

Phenylephrine is used to treat nasal and sinus congestion, or congestion of the tubes that drain fluid from your inner ears, called the eustachian (yoo-STAY-shun) tubes.

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

What is the most important information I should know about phenylephrine?

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cough or cold medicine. Phenylephrine or other decongestants are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains phenylephrine or a decongestant.

Do not use phenylephrine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking phenylephrine?

Do not use phenylephrine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to phenylephrine or to other decongestants, diet pills, stimulants, or ADHD medications.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take phenylephrine if you have:

  • heart disease or high blood pressure;

  • diabetes; or

  • a thyroid disorder.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether phenylephrine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Phenylephrine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Artificially sweetened liquid cold medicine may contain phenylalanine. If you have phenylketonuria (PKU), check the medication label to see if the product contains phenylalanine.

How should I take phenylephrine?

Use 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. Cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

You may need to shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Do not take phenylephrine for longer than 7 days in a row. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a headache, cough, or skin rash.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using phenylephrine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since phenylephrine is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include feeling restless or nervous.

What should I avoid while taking phenylephrine?

Avoid taking this medication if you also take diet pills, caffeine pills, or other stimulants (such as ADHD medications). Taking a stimulant together with a decongestant can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cough or cold medicine. Phenylephrine or other decongestants are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains phenylephrine or a decongestant.

Phenylephrine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these 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 a serious side effect such as:

  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat;

  • severe dizziness or anxiety;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, ringing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, trouble breathing, uneven heart rate, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite;

  • warmth, tingling, or redness under your skin;

  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children);

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • skin rash or itching.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Phenylephrine Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypotension:

IM or subcutaneous: 2 to 5 mg every 1 to 2 hours as needed.

IV bolus: 0.2 mg/dose (range: 0.1 to 0.5 mg/dose) every 10 to 15 minutes as needed (initial dose should not exceed 0.5 mg)

IV infusion: 100 to 180 mcg/min initially. The usual maintenance dose is 40 to 60 mcg/min.
Alternatively, 0.5 mcg/kg/minute; titrate to desired response. Dosing ranges between 0.4 to 9.1 mcg/kg/minute have been reported.

Usual Adult Dose for Shock:

IM or subcutaneous: 2 to 5 mg every 1 to 2 hours as needed.

IV bolus: 0.2 mg/dose (range: 0.1 to 0.5 mg/dose) every 10 to 15 minutes as needed (initial dose should not exceed 0.5 mg)

IV infusion: 100 to 180 mcg/min initially. The usual maintenance dose is 40 to 60 mcg/min.
Alternatively, 0.5 mcg/kg/minute; titrate to desired response. Dosing ranges between 0.4 to 9.1 mcg/kg/minute have been reported.

Usual Adult Dose for Supraventricular Tachycardia:

0.25 to 0.5 mg IV over 30 seconds.

Usual Adult Dose for Nasal Congestion:

Tablets or oral liquid: 10 to 20 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.

Phenylephrine 7.5 mg/5 mL oral liquid:
15 mg orally every 6 hours not to exceed 60 mg daily.

Phenylephrine 10 mg oral tablet:
10 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours not to exceed 4 doses daily.

Phenylephrine 10 mg oral disintegrating strip:
10 mg orally every 4 hours not to exceed 6 doses daily.

Phenylephrine 10 mg/5 mL oral suspension, extended release:
10 to 20 mg orally every 12 hours.

Phenylephrine tannate 10 mg oral tablet, chewable, extended release:
10 to 20 mg orally every 12 hours.

Phenylephrine tannate 7.5 mg/5 mL oral suspension, extended release
7.5 to 15 mg orally every 12 hours.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypotension:

IM or subcutaneous: 0.1 mg/kg every 1 to 2 hours as needed. Maximum dose: 5 mg.
IV bolus: 5 to 20 mcg/kg/dose every 10 to 15 minutes as needed.
IV: 0.1 to 0.5 mcg/kg/min titrated to effect.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Shock:

IM or subcutaneous: 0.1 mg/kg every 1 to 2 hours as needed. Maximum dose: 5 mg.
IV bolus: 5 to 20 mcg/kg/dose every 10 to 15 minutes as needed.
IV: 0.1 to 0.5 mcg/kg/min titrated to effect.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Supraventricular Tachycardia:

5 to 10 mcg/kg IV over 30 seconds.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Nasal Congestion:

phenylephrine 1.25 mg/0.8 mL oral liquid:
2 years to 5 years: 1.6 mL orally every 4 hours not to exceed 6 doses daily.

Chewable tablets or oral liquid:
6 years to 11 years: 10 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.
12 years or older: 10 to 20 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.

Phenylephrine 7.5 mg/5 mL oral liquid:
2 years to 5 years: 3.75 mg orally every 6 hours not to exceed 15 mg daily.
6 years to 11 years: 7.5 mg orally every 6 hours not to exceed 30 mg daily.
12 years or older: 15 mg orally every 6 hours not to exceed 60 mg daily.

Phenylephrine 10 mg oral tablet:
12 years or older: 10 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours not to exceed 4 doses daily.

Phenylephrine 10 mg oral tablet, disintegrating:
2 years to 5 years: 5 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.
6 years to 11 years: 10 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.
12 years or older: 10 to 20 mg orally every 4 hours as needed.

Phenylephrine 10 mg/5 mL oral suspension, extended release:
12 years or older: 10 to 20 mg orally every 12 hours.
6 years to 11 years: 5 to 10 mg orally every 12 hours.

Phenylephrine 10 mg oral disintegrating strip:
12 years or older: 10 mg orally every 4 hours not to exceed 6 doses daily.

Phenylephrine tannate 10 mg oral tablet, chewable, extended release:
6 years to 11 years: 5 to 10 mg orally every 12 hours.
12 years or older: 10 to 20 mg orally every 12 hours.

Phenylephrine tannate 7.5 mg/5 mL oral suspension, extended release
2 years to 5 years: 1.25 to 2.5 mL orally every 12 hours.
6 years to 11 years: 2.5 to 5 mL orally every 12 hours.
12 years or older: 5 to 10 mL orally every 12 hours.

phenylephrine 1.25 mg oral disintegrating strip:
2 years to 3 years: 2.5 mg orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 15 mg in 24 hours.

phenylephrine 2.5 mg oral disintegrating strip:
2 years to 5 years: 2.5 mg orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 15 mg in 24 hours.
6 years to 11 years: 5 mg orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 30 mg in 24 hours.

phenylephrine 1.25 mg oral tablet, chewable:
12 years or older: 5 mg orally every 4 hours not to exceed 6 doses daily.

phenylephrine 2.5 mg/5 mL oral liquid:
4 years to 5 years: 5 mL orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 6 doses in 24 hours.
6 years to 11 years: 10 mL orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 6 doses in 24 hours.

What other drugs will affect phenylephrine?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • blood pressure medications;

  • a beta blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Dutoprol, Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others; or

  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol), doxepin (Sinequan), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and others.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with phenylephrine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about phenylephrine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01. Revision Date: 2012-07-05, 12:12:55 PM.

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