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 postnasal drip.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Nasal dryness.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Sore throat.
  • Dizziness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Difficulty urinating.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Dry mouth or throat.
  • Increased nasal congestion.
  • Increased nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • Nasal burning, itching, or irritation.
  • Nausea.

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

What To Think About

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedJune 30, 2011

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