Definition of phenylephrine in US English:



  • A synthetic compound related to epinephrine, used as a vasoconstrictor and nasal decongestant.

    • ‘Nasal decongestants for example, oxymetazoline, xylometazoline, phenylephrine, ephedrine are applied directly to the inside of the nose.’
    • ‘Endoscopy is performed after spraying the nose with a topical nasal vasoconstrictor such as phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) or oxymetazoline, and an analgesic such as pontocaine or lidocaine.’
    • ‘Intravenous infusions of norepinephrine and phenylephrine were started to produce peripheral vasoconstriction and increase blood pressure.’
    • ‘The decongestants, such as phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine, produce a narrowing of blood vessels.’
    • ‘As a vasoconstrictor, phenylephrine may be used alone or in combination with other medications before or during surgery to reduce swelling and enhance visualization of the nasal and pharyngeal membranes.’


1940s: from phenyl + a contraction of epinephrine.