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What are the Common Side Effects of Phenylephrine Hydrochloride?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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The most common side effects of phenylephrine hydrochloride include upset stomach, dizziness, and headache. Some people might also experience trouble sleeping and nervousness. Most people who take phenylephrine hydrochloride do not notice any side effects, and the side effects that are experienced are normally minor. Even though it is rare, some people do experience serious side effects from taking this medication, such as irregular heartbeat, difficulty urinating, and seizures. There may also be people who are allergic to phenylephrine hydrochloride, and their side effects might include itching and swelling along with a rash.

Phenylephrine hydrochloride is typically used as a decongestant, and it may be helpful for people who are suffering from stuffy noses that were caused by allergies or the common cold. This drug can alleviate the swelling inside the nose and ears, which is supposed to make breathing easier for people who are experiencing sinus trouble. These decongestants come in both over-the-counter and prescription form and are typically ineffective in very young children. Doctors usually advise parents not to give phenylephrine hydrochloride to children who are less than the age of six, although doctors do occasionally prescribe it for younger children when they feel that the benefits would possibly outweigh any risks.

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People who want to take phenylephrine hydrochloride for help with cold or sinus problems might be able to avoid side effects by taking the medicine correctly. Dosage instructions should be followed, and the medicine should not be taken more often than recommended. In addition to following dosage instructions, it may also be beneficial to take this decongestant with food. Upset stomach is one of the most commonly reported side effects of phenylephrine hydrochloride, and taking the medicine along with food might prevent this side effect from occurring. People who are taking any type of prescribed medicine should ask their doctors before taking this drug to prevent the possibility of a dangerous drug interaction.

If serious side effects result from taking phenylephrine hydrochloride, the medicine should be discontinued immediately. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also ask their doctors before taking any type of decongestant because some may not be considered safe during pregnancy and the decongestants that are safe might need to be taken in different dosages than what the labels suggest. Hallucinations, fainting, and shallow breathing are side effects that often occur when people overdose on decongestants, and a poison control center or emergency services should be contacted immediately if a person begins displaying these signs after taking decongestant medication.

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