Compare Phenylephrine vs. Afrin
Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.
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.
Afrin (oxymetazoline) clears stuffy noses, but can worsen your congestion if it is used more frequently than 3 days in a row.
- 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.
- It works right away and each dose lasts up to 12 hours.
- The effect is limited to your nasal passageways so it may be safer than other decongestants you take orally.
- Available as a nasal spray and a nasal mist.
- Can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription.
- 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.
- Sometimes Afrin (oxymetazoline) causes temporary stinging, burning, or dryness of the nose.
- Talk to your doctor first before using it in children younger than 6 years old.
- Nasal spray
- Eye drops
- Nasal spray
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- 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
- Rebound nasal congestion
- Using Afrin (oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days