Common brand names:
Phenylephrine is used for the temporary relief of stuffy nose, sinus, and ear symptoms caused by the common cold, flu, allergies, or other breathing illnesses (e.g., sinusitis, bronchitis). This medication works by decreasing swelling in the nose and ears, thereby lessening discomfort and making it easier to breathe.
Cough-and-cold products have not been shown to be safe or effective in children younger than 6 years. Therefore, do not use this product to treat cold symptoms in children younger than 6 years unless specifically directed by the doctor. Some products (such as long-acting tablets/capsules) are not recommended for use in children younger than 12 years. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details about using your product safely.
These products do not cure or shorten the length of the common cold and may cause serious side effects. To decrease the risk for serious side effects, carefully follow all dosage directions. Do not use this product to make a child sleepy. Do not give other cough-and-cold medication that might contain the same or similar ingredients (see also Drug Interactions section). Ask the doctor or pharmacist about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms (such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier or saline nose drops/spray).
How to Use This Medication
If you are using the over-the-counter product, read and follow all directions on the product package before taking this medication.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food or as directed by your doctor. Taking it with food may decrease stomach upset.
If you are using the liquid, carefully measure your prescribed dose using a medication-measuring device or spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are using chewable tablets, chew each tablet thoroughly before swallowing.
If you are using a product made to dissolve in the mouth (tablets or strips), dry your hands before handling the medication. Place each dose on the tongue and allow to dissolve completely, then swallow it with saliva or with water.
The dosage is based on your age. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than directed without your doctor's approval. Improper use (abuse) of this medication may result in serious harm (e.g., hallucinations, seizure, death).
If your symptoms worsen or do not improve after 7 days, if you develop fever/chills, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
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Information expires June 2016.