Generic name:  chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine  [ KLOR-fen-IR-a-meen-and-FEN-il-EFF-rin ]
Brand names: Actifed Cold & Allergy,  Allan Tannate Pediatric ,  Allerest PE ,  BP Allergy JR ,  ChlorTan D ,  … show all 14 brands
Drug class:  Upper respiratory combinations

What is Actifed Cold & Allergy?

Chlorpheniramine  is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching,  watery eyes , and  runny nose .

Phenylephrine  is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause  nasal congestion  (stuffy nose).

Actifed Cold & Allergy is a combination medicine used to treat symptoms of the  common cold  or seasonal  allergies , including sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and itchy, watery eyes.

Actifed Cold & Allergy may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Do not use Actifed Cold & Allergy if you have used an  MAO inhibitor  in the past 14 days, such as  isocarboxazid ,  linezolid ,  methylene blue  injection,  phenelzine ,  rasagiline ,  selegiline , or  tranylcypromine .

You should not use antihistamine medication to make a child sleepy.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to chlorpheniramine or  phenylephrine .

Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have:

  • asthma  or  COPD , cough with mucus, or cough caused by  smoking ,  emphysema , or  chronic bronchitis ;
  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
  • kidney or  liver disease ;
  • high blood pressure , heart disease,  coronary artery disease , or recent  heart attack ;
  • enlarged prostate  or urination problems;
  • glaucoma ;
  • diabetes;
  • epilepsy  or other seizure disorder;
  • pheochromocytoma  (an adrenal gland tumor);
  • overactive thyroid; or
  • if you take potassium (Cytra, Epiklor, K-Lyte, K-Phos, Kaon,  Klor-Con ,  Polycitra ,  Urocit-K ).

It is not known whether Actifed Cold & Allergy will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without your doctor’s advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether chlorpheniramine and  phenylephrine  passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby.  Antihistamines  and  decongestants  may also slow breast milk production. Do not use this medicine without your doctor’s advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medicine.

Artificially sweetened liquid cold medicine may contain phenylalanine. If you have  phenylketonuria  (PKU), check the medication label to see if the product contains phenylalanine.

How should I take Actifed Cold & Allergy?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

You should not use antihistamine medication to make a child sleepy.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow it whole. Breaking or opening the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before swallowing.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a  headache , cough, or  skin rash .

This medication can cause unusual results with allergy skin tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are taking an antihistamine.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken a cold medicine within the past few days.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Detailed Actifed Cold and Allergy dosage information

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since cold medicine is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Actifed Cold & Allergy?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of chlorpheniramine and  phenylephrine .

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, or sleep medicine. Actifed Cold & Allergy are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains an antihistamine or decongestant.

Actifed Cold & Allergy side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:  hives ; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Actifed Cold & Allergy and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • chest pain, rapid pulse, fast or uneven heart rate;
  • confusion, hallucinations, severe  nervousness ;
  • tremor, seizure (convulsions);
  • little or no urinating;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness; or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, buzzing in your ears,  anxiety , shortness of breath).

Common side effects of Actifed Cold & Allergy may include:

  • dizziness , drowsiness, blurred vision;
  • dry nose or mouth;
  • nausea , stomach pain,  constipation , loss of appetite;
  • problems with memory or concentration; or
  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1 800 FDA 1088.

Actifed Cold and Allergy side effects  (more detail)

What other drugs will affect Actifed Cold & Allergy?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are also using any other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines,  vitamins , and  herbal products . Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used together. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Actifed Cold & Allergy with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety,  depression , or  seizures .

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