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Phenylephrine is a custom pharmacy drug classified as an alpha-1 adrenergic receptor agonist, commonly known as decongestant. Phenylephrine is often utilized to treat various congestion problems within the body, specifically in the nasal and sinus passages, as well as the eustachian tubes (inner ears). Dilated, swollen, blood vessels can cause irritation and congestion, phenylephrine works by decreasing swelling which allows for better flow with fewer symptoms or irritation.


Phenylephrine comes in various forms for congestion sufferers such as liquids, tablets, and dissolving strips, some that are regular acting, some that are extended-release. Check with your doctor to decide which form is best for you and your condition. Dosages are dependent on the form so talk to your doctor and get the information specific to your form of administration. Consult with your compounding pharmacist if you have further questions while taking this drug.


Side effects can occur with most any drug or medication and as such patients using phenylephrine may experience some unwanted side effects. Many tolerate this drug well, but until you begin taking it you will not know exactly how it will affect you. Watch for side effects and always see your doctor right away if you experience anything that lingers or gets worse. Common side effects seen with phenylephrine are as follows:

  • Sleepy Feeling
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness

Many other side effects are possible as each person is unique, so if you experience anything at all that feels like it is persisting or lingering, or getting worse, see your doctor. If you feel like you are experiencing a side effect that is severe, seek medical treatment immediately.

Severe Side Effects:

Some patients may experience severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. If you experience anything listed below, see your doctor at once or get immediate medical treatment.

  • Blurred Vision
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in Chest
  • Abnormal Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Pain in Shoulders
  • Pain in Arms
  • Pain in Jaw (or neck)
  • Pounding in Ears
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Accelerated Heartbeat
  • Slow Heartbeat

IMPORTANT NOTE: As some of the side effects listed above that are labeled as 'severe' are the same as side effects listed as 'common' it is best to have your doctor evaluate any side effects you experience. Only your doctor can decide if your side effect requires immediate or more aggressive medical treatment.


Never take phenylephrine without your doctor's approval. All drugs require doctor supervision.

Many issues and conditions may contraindicate the use of phenylephrine. Talk to your doctor about all possible contraindications that could be relevant to you.

Phenylephrine may be contraindicated for the following in some, or all cases. Ask your doctor for more information. (Please note this list is only a partial list.)

  • Hypersensitivity to Phenylephrine
  • Urinary Retention
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Prostatic Hypertrophy
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • PKU
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA