Study: Consumers Use, Trust, and Depend on OTC Phenylephrine (PE) for Self-Care of Decongestion

Consumers also worried about unintended consequences if PE were not available
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Phenylephrine (PE) is an important oral nasal decongestant ingredient recognized as safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), available over-the-counter (OTC) as a single ingredient and in many other combination medicines. Sales data from the past year show that half of all households in the U.S. have purchased an OTC medicine containing PE, and nearly seven-in-ten of them have also repurchased products containing PE.[1]

A recent national survey of adults conducted by the Bullfinch Group for CHPA[2] further sheds light on consumer awareness, experiences, and perceptions of PE. Overall, the study reveals that a majority of Americans surveyed repeatedly rely on oral PE because they recognize its efficacy as a nasal decongestant, and they experience the physical and personal benefits of oral PE when they use it.

Furthermore, Americans – and the overall healthcare system – would be significantly burdened if oral PE were not available OTC. These findings and others hold especially true among older adults and people living in rural communities.

See links below for key survey findings, topline results, and information about PE from the CHPA Educational Foundation. For more information about the survey, please contact Mike Tringale


[1] Circana (formerly IRI); all outlets, all doses; 52-week data April 2022 to April 2023

[2] Source: National Consumer Survey on Phenylephrine (PE), August 3, 2023. Conducted by Bullfinch Group.



The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by ensuring that Americans have access to products they can count on to be reliable, affordable, and convenient, while also delivering new and better ways to get and stay healthy. Visit