Phenylephrine May Not Be Effective for Nasal Congestion
In many parts of the US, a new
ENT University in Vienna conducted a study to review the effects of these drugs on nasal congestion from seasonal allergies. Their study, published in the Annal of Allergy and Asthma Immunology, found that pseudophedrine may be effective, but phenylephrine was no different from
About the Study
The study was a small randomized
- Phenylephrine 12 mg
- Pseudoephedrine 60 mg
Over the following six hours, participants were monitored and asked to rate their nasal congestion. At the end of the trial participants reported:
- Significantly better results with pseudophedrine compared to phenylephrine and placebo
- The same results for phenylephrine compared to placebo
Neither medication relieved non-nasal allergy symptoms.
How Does This Affect You?
This was a small study. The larger the study, the more reliable the results will be. Despite this limitation, there is a suggestion here that products containing pseudoephedrine are more likely to effectively relieve your allergy symptoms than those containing phenylephrine. In addition to these over-the-counter medications, your doctor is able to prescribe other medications supported by more convincing evidence of effectiveness.
In general, to help manage seasonal allergies, try to avoid peak pollen times, such as 6am-10am. When doing activities that may stir up pollen (like cutting grass), wear a mask. Learn what times of year your allergies tend to occur and make a plan to begin preventative steps. If you suffer from severe seasonal allergies or have allergic symptoms all year round, you may wish to speak to your doctor about preventive treatments, such as
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Speroff L, Gass M, Olivier S; Study 315 Investigators. A placebo-controlled study of the nasal decongestant effect of phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine in the Vienna Challenge Chamber. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009 Feb;102(2):116-20.
Last reviewed April 2009 by
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