Phenylephrine hydrochloride is a nasal decongestant, according to WebMD. It is also used to treat eye disorders such as uveitis and open angle glaucoma, claims Drugs.com. It eases the discomfort of bronchitis and sinusitis. When it is injected, phenylephrine hydrochloride treats people suffering from shock, low blood pressure caused by medications, and hypersensitivity.
Phenylephrine hydrochloride is also given to treat rapid heartbeat and is used to prolong spinal anesthesia and support blood pressure while the patient is under inhalation or spinal anesthesia, says Drugs.com. Phenylephrine hydrochloride works by reducing the swelling in the sinuses and the ears when the person is suffering from a cold, the flu or allergies, states WebMD.
The side effects of phenylephrine hydrochloride include insomnia, lightheadedness or dizziness, mild stomach trouble, headache and fast heartbeat, claims WebMD. Cold hands or feet are other side effects because of reduced blood flow caused by the drug. Therefore, people who have vascular problems should be careful before taking this drug, as should people with diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease and some psychological disorders such as anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Phenylephrine is available as eyedrops, an oral liquid, a nasal spray, in strips or tablet form, and by injection, says Drugs.com and WebMD. It is sold over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor.