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Phenylephrine Nasal Spray

pronounced as (fen il ef' rin)

Why is this medication prescribed?

Phenylephrine nasal spray is used to relieve nasal discomfort caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It is also used to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Phenylephrine nasal spray will relieve symptoms but will not treat the cause of the symptoms or speed recovery. Phenylephrine is in a class of medications called nasal decongestants. It works by reducing swelling of the blood vessels in the nasal passages.

How should this medicine be used?

Phenylephrine comes as a 0.125%, 0.25%, 0.5%, and 1% solution (liquid) to spray into the nose. It is usually used as needed, not more than every 4 hours. The 0.5% and 1% solutions may be used in adults and children 12 years of age and older. The 0.25% solution may be used in children 6 to 12 years of age. The 0.125% solution may be used by children 2 to 6 years of age but should not be used for children younger than 2 years of age unless it is recommended by a doctor. Follow the directions on the package label or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use phenylephrine nasal spray exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor or directed on the label.

If you use phenylephrine nasal spray more often or for longer than the recommended period of time, your congestion may get worse or may improve but then return. Do not use phenylephrine nasal spray for longer than 3 days. If your symptoms do not get better after 3 days of treatment, stop using phenylephrine and call your doctor.

Phenylephrine nasal spray is only for use in the nose. Do not swallow the medication.

To prevent the spread of infection, do not share your spray bottle with anyone else.

To use the nasal spray, follow these steps:

  1. Blow your nose until your nostrils are clear.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Shake the bottle gently before each use and remove the cap.
  4. Hold one nostril closed with your finger.
  5. Tilt your head slightly forward and place the tip of the bottle towards the back of your open nostril.
  6. Squeeze the bottle quickly and firmly 2 to 3 times while gently breathing in the medication.
  7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 for the other nostril.
  8. Wipe the tip of the bottle and replace the bottle cap.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using phenylephrine nasal spray,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to phenylephrine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in phenylephrine nasal spray. Ask your pharmacist or check the product labeling for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, diabetes, difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland, or thyroid or heart disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using phenylephrine nasal spray, call your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

This medication is usually used as needed. If your doctor has told you to use phenylephrine regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Phenylephrine nasal may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • burning
  • stinging
  • sneezing
  • increased nasal discharge

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using and call your doctor immediately:

  • nervousness
  • dizziness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

Phenylephrine nasal may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light, excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

In case of emergency/overdose

If you use too much phenylephrine nasal spray or if someone swallows the medication, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911

What other information should I know?

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about phenylephrine nasal spray.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Little Noses®
  • Neosynephrine®
Last Revised - 11/15/2016