Compare Sudafed vs. Phenylephrine

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

Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)

Prescription or OTC

Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

Prescription or OTC
Clears your sinuses.

Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 1740 reviewsforSudafed
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.

3.1/ 5 average rating with 164 reviewsforPhenylephrine
Upsides
  • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
  • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
  • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
  • Available in regular and extended release forms.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
  • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
  • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
Price
No pricing information available
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
1740 reviews so far
82%
saidit'sworth it
45%
saiditworked well
6%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)?

Leave a review
164 reviews so far
44%
saidit'sworth it
24%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart problems
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
    • Taking MAO inhibitors
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart problems
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
See more detailed risks and warnings
Now you can ask a pharmacist!

What is your question about?

Your question

Your email

We need your email to send you an answer.

Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.