Compare Phenylephrine vs. Advil Congestion Relief

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Sudafed Pe
(Phenylephrine)

Advil Congestion Relief
(Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine)

Clears your sinuses. Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) is a good medication for relieving stuffy nose. It doesn't work as well as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), but it has fewer side effects.Relieves pain and congestion. Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a good combination medicine to relieve pain and congestion, but it's more medicine than you need if you only have one symptom.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.171779141104294Phenylephrine
Reviews for Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)
44%
of people say Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) is worth it
23%
say it works well
10%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine)
73%
+29% vs. Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)
32%
+9% vs. Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)
7%
+3% vs. Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)
Side effects
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief

We haven’t found good data for Phenylephrine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Phenylephrine »

We haven’t found good data for Advil Congestion Relief side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Advil Congestion Relief »
How it works
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that treats cold and allergy symptoms. Ibuprofen is an NSAID that relieves swelling, pain, and fever. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Pain reliever
NSAID
DecongestantOver-the-counter
Available as
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
Risk factors for serious side effects
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking MAO inhibitors
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) risks & warnings »
  • History of stomach bleeding or ulcers
  • Age 60 years or older
  • Taking aspirin, NSAIDs, or blood thinners
  • Drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Women of childbearing age
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Taking high blood pressure medications
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Taking with aspirin
Detailed Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
  • Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) contains ibuprofen, an NSAID that can lower kidney function or cause damage. Taking the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time lowers your risk. Your doctor should check your kidney function if you take Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) for any amount of time.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.
No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
  • Works to clear nasal congestion and helps you breathe better.
  • Helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches.
  • Has fewer side effects than other decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
  • It doesn't raise your blood pressure and heart rate as much, or cause as much trouble falling asleep.
  • Doesn't give you rebound congestion (worse symptoms when you stop taking it) like nasal spray decongestants do.
  • Advil Congestion Relief (Ibuprofen / Phenylephrine) is a combination medicine that relieves multiple cold and allergy symptoms. It's good to use if you have a stuffy nose, sinus pressure, and pain.
  • The decongestant (phenylephrine) has fewer side effects than other decongestants like pseudoephedrine. It doesn't raise your blood pressure and heart rate as much, or cause as much trouble falling asleep.
Downsides and risks
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
  • Can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.
  • Not as effective after using it for 4 days in a row.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • If you don't really need both of the medications in this combination, you're taking extra medicine and might have extra side effects for no reason.
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
  • The pain reliever (ibuprofen) can interact with other medications and make health problems like stomach bleeding and ulcers worse.
  • It's not safe to take ibuprofen if you're pregnant since it increases the risk of heart defects in babies.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
PhenylephrineAdvil Congestion Relief
  • Phenylephrine can make you restless, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • It's in other cold and flu combination medicines. Read labels closely so you don't accidentally double up and take too much of it in a day.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
  • Don't take it if you have an allergy to aspirin since ibuprofen can cause a similar reaction.
  • Phenylephrine (the decongestant ingredient) can make you restless, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than what's recommended on the package.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
Learn more
More about PhenylephrineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Advil Congestion ReliefSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert