What Is Phenylephrine

People with allergies may want to know what phenylephrine is. This non-prescription medication is most commonly used as a nasal or sinus decongestant for relieving congestion and pressure due to allergies (such as hay fever) or the common cold. However, phenylephrine is also used in emergency situations to increase dangerously low blood pressure.
This medication comes in a variety of forms, including phenylephrine hydrochloride (in oral, nasal, injectable, cream, and eye drop forms), phenylephrine bitartrate (in effervescent tablet form), or phenylephrine tannate (in oral form).
This medication works by stimulating certain receptors known as alpha-adrenergic receptors. In the lining of the nose and sinuses, this action causes the blood vessels to constrict, allowing less fluid to leave the blood vessels and decreasing inflammation.
Although most people tolerate this medication well, it is not suitable for everyone. Before starting treatment with phenylephrine, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you may have or any other medications you are taking. Some of the common side effects include insomnia, dizziness, and nervousness.
(Click Phenylephrine for a closer look at this medication, including how it works, and what to tell your healthcare provider before using it.)
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