Compare Delsym vs. Phenylephrine

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

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Sudafed Pe (Phenylephrine)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves coughing.

Delsym (Dextromethorphan) is a good option for treating dry cough. It's not safe to take with MAO inhibitors though.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 127 reviewsforDelsym
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
  • Good for treating dry cough.
  • Available in drugstores either by itself or in combination with other medications to treat cold and allergy symptoms.
  • Available as a liquid and a tablet.
  • Some products relieve cough for up to 12 hours.
  • 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
  • Can't take dextromethorphan if you're taking MAO inhibitors (drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, depression, and other emotional conditions). If taken together, they will cause dangerously high blood pressure levels.
  • If you're taking this in combination with other cold and allergy medications, you should read labels closely to make sure you're not accidentally taking too much of a single ingredient.
  • 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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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid extended release
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
  • Eye drops
  • Suppository
Price
No pricing information available
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Reviews
127 reviews so far
63%
saidit'sworth it
32%
saiditworked well
12%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Delsym (Dextromethorphan)?

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 Delsym (Dextromethorphan) 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
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Using other medications that affect serotonin
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