Compare Phenylephrine vs. Rhinocort Aqua

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

Sudafed Pe
(Phenylephrine)

Rhinocort Aqua
(Budesonide)

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
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

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Side effects
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua

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
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
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
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
CorticosteroidPrescription only
Available as
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
Risk factors for serious side effects
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
  • 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
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
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
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
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.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
  • 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
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
  • 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
PhenylephrineRhinocort Aqua
  • 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