Ipratropium nasal spray

Sounds like 'ip-ra-TRO-pee-um'

Easy-to-read medicine information about ipratropium nasal spray – what it is, how to use it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as nasal decongestants
  • Univent nasal spray

What is ipratropium nasal spray

Ipratropium nasal spray helps to relieve a runny nose caused by hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis) or the common cold. It works by stopping the mucous glands in your nose from overproducing watery mucous. 

Dose

  • The usual dose of ipratropium nasal spray is 2 sprays into each nostril 2 to 3 times each day.
  • If you are using ipratropium nasal spray for a runny nose caused by a cold, you will only need to use it for a few days (up to 4 days). If you are using it for hay fever or allergies, you may need to use it for longer.
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging or the pharmacy label – it will tell you how much to use, how often to use it and any special instructions.

How to use a nasal spray

To get the most benefit, use the nasal spray as follows:

  • Shake the nasal spray bottle before use.
  • Gently blow your nose with a tissue to clear the nostrils.
  • Tilt your head slightly forward and gently put the tip of the spray into one nostril.
  • Do not push it into the nostril too hard, as you may damage the nasal septum (the middle of the nose which separates the left and right nostrils).
  • Close the other nostril with your other hand, and apply one or two sprays.
  • Breathe in as you spray (but do not sniff hard as the spray then travels past the nose to the throat). Angle the spray straight up.
  • With your head tilted forward, the spray should go to the back of your nose. Repeat in the other nostril.
  • Wipe the tip of the spray with a dry tissue and put the cap back on.
Also see how to use a nasal spray.

Precautions – before using ipratropium nasal spray

  • Do you have problems with your kidneys or prostate gland, or difficulty passing urine?
  • Do you have increased pressure in your eye (glaucoma)?
  • Do you have cystic fibrosis?
  • Are you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking any other medicines, including medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines?

If any of these apply, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start ipratropium nasal spray. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines ipratropium nasal spray can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. 

Side effects What should I do?
  • Discomfort and mild nosebleeds
  • Dry or irritated nose or throat
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Headache
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on ipratropium nasal spray. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Ipratropium nose spray Patient Info. UK

References

  1. ipratropium bromide New Zealand Formulary
  2. Management tips for the common cold Goodfellow Gems
Credits: Sandra Ponen, pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 12 Jun 2018