Compare Phenylephrine vs. Rhinocort Aqua

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Sudafed Pe

Rhinocort Aqua

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 nasal allergy symptoms. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) is a steroid nasal spray that works best when used regularly for your nasal allergy symptoms.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)
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Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Phenylephrine »
  • Nosebleed 3%
  • Sore throat 1%
  • Bronchospasm 1%
More Rhinocort Aqua side effects »
How it works
Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) is a steroid nasal spray that works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
Type of medication
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
CorticosteroidPrescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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 »
  • Long-term use
  • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Long-term use
  • Untreated infections
  • Long-term use
  • Long-term use
  • Long-term use
  • Taking more than recommended dose
Detailed Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.
No specific sleep-related info.
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • 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.
  • Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) lowers the number of nasal symptoms you'll get during allergy season.
  • Most people don't have many side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
Downsides and risks
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • 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.
  • Needs to be used everyday to work, so it can't be used as needed.
  • Can hace an unpleasant smell or taste.
  • It's good for 120 sprays, but there isn't a counter to help you keep track of sprays.
  • Can't be used in kids younger than age 6 years.
  • Need a prescription to get Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
  • Works best if used everyday. It takes about one week to start seeing the best results.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how to use this nose spray correctly.
  • Shake the spray gently and clear your nose before each use.
  • Before using it for the first time or if you haven't used it in 2 days, prime the spray pump until you see a fine mist.
  • Breathe in slowly as you're spraying and tilt your head back slightly after spraying. Wait 15 minutes before blowing your nose if needed.
  • Some people get minor nose irritation, nosebleeds, sore throat, or headaches after using it.
Learn more
More about PhenylephrineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Rhinocort AquaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert