Phenylephrine Uses

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What is Phenylephrine?

Phenylephrine (Phenylephrine) is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

Phenylephrine is used to treat nasal and sinus congestion, or congestion of the tubes that drain fluid from your inner ears, called the eustachian (yoo-STAY-shun) tubes.

Phenylephrine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Phenylephrine indications

An indication is a term used for the list of condition or symptom or illness for which the medicine is prescribed or used by the patient. For example, acetaminophen or paracetamol is used for fever by the patient, or the doctor prescribes it for a headache or body pains. Now fever, headache and body pains are the indications of paracetamol. A patient should be aware of the indications of medications used for common conditions because they can be taken over the counter in the pharmacy meaning without prescription by the Physician.

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.

How should I use Phenylephrine?

Use Phenylephrine drops as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Phenylephrine drops.

Uses of Phenylephrine in details

There are specific as well as general uses of a drug or medicine. A medicine can be used to prevent a disease, treat a disease over a period or cure a disease. It can also be used to treat the particular symptom of the disease. The drug use depends on the form the patient takes it. It may be more useful in injection form or sometimes in tablet form. The drug can be used for a single troubling symptom or a life-threatening condition. While some medications can be stopped after few days, some drugs need to be continued for prolonged period to get the benefit from it.

Use: Labeled Indications

Hypotension/shock: Treatment of hypotension, vascular failure in shock. Note: Not recommended for routine use in the treatment of septic shock; use should be limited until more evidence demonstrating positive clinical outcomes becomes available (Rhodes 2017).

Guideline recommendations:

Cardiogenic shock: The 2017 American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement for the Contemporary Management of Cardiogenic Shock recommends Phenylephrine, if needed, be considered for initial vasoactive management of cardiogenic shock due to aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, or dynamic left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction (AHA [van Diepen 2017]).

Hypotension during anesthesia: As a vasoconstrictor in regional analgesia

Nasal congestion: As a decongestant [OTC]

Off Label Uses

Hypotension in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Phenylephrine is a pure alpha1 agonist that will increase systemic vascular resistance without increasing heart rate or contractility. This is advantageous in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hypotension since increases in both heart rate and contractility may cause the obstruction to worsen, leading to a decrease in cardiac output. Other vasopressors like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine may increase contractility and/or heart rate. Additional trials may be necessary to further define the role of Phenylephrine in this condition.

Based on the American Urological Association guidelines for the management of priapism, due to the low risk of cardiovascular side effects intracavernous injection of Phenylephrine is recommended for ischemic priapism that persists following aspiration/irrigation.

Phenylephrine description


Phenylephrine is a sympathomimetic amine that acts predominantly on α-adrenergic receptors. It is mainly used to treat nasal congestion, but may also be useful in treating hypotension and shock, hypotension during spinal anaesthesia, prolongation of spinal anaesthesia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, symptomatic relief of external or internal hemorrhoids, and to increase blood pressure as an aid in the diagnosis of heart murmurs.

Phenylephrine dosage

Phenylephrine Dosage

Generic name: Phenylephrine HYDROCHLORIDE 10mg in 1mL

Dosage form: injection

The information at is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist.

General Dosage and Administration Instructions

Phenylephrine (Phenylephrine hydrochloride) Injection, 10 mg/mL must be diluted before administration as an intravenous bolus or continuous intravenous infusion to achieve the desired concentration:

Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration. Do not use if the solution is colored or cloudy, or if it contains particulate matter. The diluted solution should not be held for more than 4 hours at room temperature or for more than 24 hours under refrigerated conditions. Discard any unused portion.

During Phenylephrine administration:

Dosing for Treatment of Hypotension during Anesthesia

The following are the recommended dosages for the treatment of hypotension during anesthesia.

Prepare a 100 mcg/mL Solution for Bolus

Intravenous Administration

For bolus intravenous administration, prepare a solution containing a final concentration of 100 mcg/mL of Phenylephrine:

Prepare a Solution for Continuous

Intravenous Administration

For continuous intravenous infusion, prepare a solution containing a final concentration of 20 mcg/mL of Phenylephrine in 5% Dextrose Injection, USP or 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP:

Directions for Dispensing from Pharmacy Bulk Vial

The Pharmacy Bulk Vial is intended for dispensing of single doses to multiple patients in a pharmacy admixture program and is restricted to the preparation of admixtures for infusion. Each closure shall be penetrated only one time with a suitable sterile transfer device or dispensing set that allows measured dispensing of the contents. The Pharmacy Bulk Vial is to be used only in a suitable work area such as a laminar flow hood (or an equivalent clean air compounding area). Dispensing from a pharmacy bulk vial should be completed within 4 hours after the vial is penetrated.

More about Phenylephrine (Phenylephrine)

Consumer resources

Professional resources

Related treatment guides

Phenylephrine interactions

See also:
What other drugs will affect Phenylephrine?


Acetaminophen: May increase the serum concentration of Phenylephrine (Systemic). Monitor therapy

Alpha1-Blockers: May diminish the vasoconstricting effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Similarly, Alpha1-Agonists may antagonize Alpha1-Blocker vasodilation. Monitor therapy

AtoMOXetine: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. AtoMOXetine may enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy

Benzylpenicilloyl Polylysine: Alpha1-Agonists may diminish the diagnostic effect of Benzylpenicilloyl Polylysine. Management: Consider use of a histamine skin test as a positive control to assess a patient's ability to mount a wheal and flare response. Consider therapy modification

Cannabinoid-Containing Products: May enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Exceptions: Cannabidiol. Monitor therapy

Chloroprocaine: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Phenylephrine (Systemic). Monitor therapy

CloZAPine: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Phenylephrine (Systemic). Monitor therapy

Cocaine (Topical): May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Management: Consider alternatives to use of this combination when possible. Monitor closely for substantially increased blood pressure or heart rate and for any evidence of myocardial ischemia with concurrent use. Consider therapy modification

Doxofylline: Sympathomimetics may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Doxofylline. Monitor therapy

Ergot Derivatives: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Ergot Derivatives may enhance the vasoconstricting effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Exceptions: Ergoloid Mesylates; Nicergoline. Avoid combination

FentaNYL: Alpha1-Agonists may decrease the serum concentration of FentaNYL. Specifically, fentanyl nasal spray serum concentrations may decrease and onset of effect may be delayed. Monitor therapy

Guanethidine: May enhance the arrhythmogenic effect of Sympathomimetics. Guanethidine may enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy

Hyaluronidase: May enhance the vasoconstricting effect of Phenylephrine (Systemic). Management: Avoid the use of hyaluronidase to enhance dispersion or absorption of Phenylephrine. Use of hyaluronidase for other purposes in patients receiving Phenylephrine may be considered as clinically indicated. Avoid combination

Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products: Alpha1-Agonists may diminish the therapeutic effect of Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products. Management: Discontinue all drugs that may inhibit or interfere with catecholamine transport or uptake for at least 5 biological half-lives before iobenguane administration. Do not administer these drugs until at least 7 days after each iobenguane dose. Avoid combination

Ioflupane I 123: Phenylephrine (Systemic) may diminish the diagnostic effect of Ioflupane I 123. Monitor therapy

Linezolid: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Management: Reduce initial doses of sympathomimetic agents, and closely monitor for enhanced pressor response, in patients receiving linezolid. Specific dose adjustment recommendations are not presently available. Consider therapy modification

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Alpha1-Agonists. While linezolid is expected to interact via this mechanism, management recommendations differ from other monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Refer to linezolid specific monographs for details. Exceptions: Linezolid. Avoid combination

Ozanimod: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Management: Concomitant use of ozanimod with sympathomimetic agents is not recommended. If combined, monitor patients closely for the development of hypertension, including hypertensive crises. Consider therapy modification

Propacetamol: May increase the serum concentration of Phenylephrine (Systemic). Management: Monitor patients closely for increased side effects of Phenylephrine if propacetamol is used concomitantly. Patients with underlying blood pressure issues or arrhythmias may need closer monitoring and may warrant consideration of alternative therapies. Monitor therapy

Solriamfetol: Sympathomimetics may enhance the hypertensive effect of Solriamfetol. Sympathomimetics may enhance the tachycardic effect of Solriamfetol. Monitor therapy

Sympathomimetics: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy

Tedizolid: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Tedizolid may enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy

Tricyclic Antidepressants: May enhance the therapeutic effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Monitor therapy

Phenylephrine side effects

See also:
What are the possible side effects of Phenylephrine?

Applies to Phenylephrine: intravenous solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by Phenylephrine (the active ingredient contained in Phenylephrine). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking Phenylephrine, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

Incidence not known:

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking Phenylephrine, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with Phenylephrine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Incidence not known:

Phenylephrine contraindications

See also:
What is the most important information I should know about Phenylephrine?

Minims Phenylephrine hydrochloride should not be used in patients with severe hypertension, ventricular tachycardia, or in patients who are hypersensitive to it or to any of the components.

Active ingredient matches for Phenylephrine:


Unit description / dosage (Manufacturer)Price, USD
Injectable; Injection; Phenylephrine Hydrochloride 10 mg / ml
Injectable; Injection; Phenylephrine Hydrochloride 1%
Mydfrin 2.5% Solution 5ml Bottle$ 37.10
Neo-synephrine 10 mg/ml amp$ 5.68
Mydfrin 2.5% eye drops$ 5.28
Phenylephrine 10 mg/ml vial$ 3.00
Phenylephrine 2.5% eye drop$ 2.09
Neofrin 10% eye drops$ 1.93
Ak-dilate 10% eye drops$ 1.34
Phenylephrine hcl crystals$ 1.34
Phenylephrine 10% eye drops$ 1.25
Phenylephrine-ns 0.8 mg/10 ml$ 1.20
Phenylephrine-ns 0.4 mg/10 ml$ 1.17
Mydfrin 2.5 % Solution$ 1.09
Neofrin 2.5% eye drops$ 0.60
Ak-dilate 2.5% eye drops$ 0.45
Neo-synephrine 0.25% drops$ 0.36
Hemorrhoidal suppository$ 0.28
Neo-synephrine 12 hour spray$ 0.28
Neo-synephrine 1% drops$ 0.26
Sudafed pe 10 mg tablet$ 0.25
Neo-synephrine 0.5% drops$ 0.23
Little noses decon nose drp$ 0.22
Wal-phed pe 10 mg tablet$ 0.22
Tur-bi-kal nose drops$ 0.21
Industrial 0.12% eye drops$ 0.17
Ephrine 1% nose drops$ 0.15
Phenylephrine 10 mg tablet$ 0.08
Rhinall 0.25% nose drops$ 0.07
Non-pseudo sinus decongest tablet$ 0.05
Pv nasal decongestant 5 mg tablet$ 0.03
Phenylephrine tablet 10 mg/1 (Rebel Distributors Corp (US))

List of Phenylephrine substitutes (brand and generic names):

Phenylephrine HCl Silom Medical 10 % x 5 mL x 12's (Silom Medical)
Phenylephrine HCl Silom Medical eye drops 10 % 5 mL x 12 x 1's (Silom Medical)


  1. PubChem. "phenylephrine". (accessed September 17, 2018).
  2. DrugBank. "phenylephrine". (accessed September 17, 2018).
  3. MeSH. "Cardiotonic Agents". (accessed September 17, 2018).


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Information checked by Dr. Sachin Kumar, MD Pharmacology

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