Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Sudafed Pe


  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
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Clears your sinuses.

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Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

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.

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  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

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These are side effects of Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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What to expect when you start Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • History of high blood pressure
    • Taking MAO inhibitors

    People taking Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine) and MAO inhibitors together, or up to 14 days apart from each other, can experience very high blood pressure that can cause headaches and strokes. MAOI drugs are used to treat Parkinson's disease, depression, and other emotional conditions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking MAO inhibitors and still want to use a cough medicine.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Shouldn't use it before you want to sleep.