Ipratropium bromide for allergic rhinitis

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Ipratropium bromide for allergic rhinitis


Generic NameBrand Name
ipratropium bromide (nasal spray)Atrovent

How It Works

Ipratropium bromide is a type of medicine called an anticholinergic. Anticholinergics block the actions of a chemical called acetylcholine, which is important in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS controls "automatic" functions of the body, such as heartbeat and blood pressure. By blocking the actions of acetylcholine, anticholinergics can improve a runny nose.

Why It Is Used

You can use ipratropium bromide to improve the runny nose symptom of allergic rhinitis.

How Well It Works

Ipratropium bromide begins improving a runny nose within 15 minutes. It has no effect on nasal congestion, sneezing, or post-nasal drip.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Headache.
  • Cough.
  • Nosebleed.
  • Dry or irritated nose or throat.
  • Nausea.

Side effects may also include confusion, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, and blurred vision. The medicine can worsen glaucoma, urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate, and some thyroid conditions.

Older adults and pregnant or breast-feeding women should take this product only under their doctor's care.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Before you use ipratropium, tell your doctor if you have glaucoma or an enlarged prostate, both of which may get worse if you use ipratropium. You may not be able to use ipratropium, or you may need to adjust how much you take, or be monitored during treatment.

Children who are age 6 or older can take ipratropium.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised September 11, 2009

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.