Rinatec nasal spray contains the active ingredient ipratropium bromide, which is a type of medicine known as an antimuscarinic (sometimes called an anticholinergic).

What is it used for?

  • Runny nose (rhinorrhoea) caused by inflammation of the lining of the nose (allergic or non-allergic rhinitis), for example in hayfever.

How does it work?

  • Rinatec nasal spray contains the active ingredient ipratropium bromide, which is a type of medicine known as an antimuscarinic (sometimes called an anticholinergic).
  • Ipratropium bromide is used for many purposes, but when applied into the nose is used to treat runny noses that are a result of allergic (eg hayfever) or non-allergic inflammation in the nose. Inflammation of the nasal lining causes water and mucus to be pushed out of the nasal tissues, resulting in a runny nose.
  • When sprayed into the nose, ipratropium works by blocking receptors called muscarinic (or cholinergic) receptors, that are found in the nose. Blocking these receptors prevents the action of a natural body chemical called acetylcholine.
Normally, when acetylcholine acts on these receptors, it causes the production of mucus in the nose. Blocking these receptors therefore prevents mucus production, which helps to dry up a runny nose.

How do I use it?

  • Always follow the instructions given by your doctor regarding how often to use this medicine and how long for.
  • The usual dose for adults and children aged over 12 years is two sprays into each nostril two to three times a day.
  • Follow this link for instructions on how to use your nasal spray.
  • You should prime the pump before using it for the first time, by spraying it into the air (away from your eyes) seven times. If you have not used your pump for more than 24 hours, you will need to prime it again before use. Reprime the pump as before, but this time only two sprays are needed. If you have not used your pump for more than seven days, you should reprime it using seven sprays.

Use with caution in

  • Narrow angle glaucoma.
  • Men with an enlarged prostate gland.
  • People with problems passing urine.
  • Cystic fibrosis.

Not to be used in

  • People who are allergic to atropine.
  • This medicine is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
  • This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been fully established, although since it is only minimally absorbed into the bloodstream it is not expected to be harmful. The manufacturer states that it should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risk to the developing baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. However, since the medicine is only minimally absorbed it is unlikely that a nursing infant would be exposed to significant amounts of the medicine. The manufacturer states that it should be used with caution in nursing mothers. Ask your doctor for further information and advice.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.


  • Headache.
  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis).
  • Dryness in the nose.
  • Discomfort in the nose.
  • Throat irritation.


  • Dizziness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Raised pressure in the eye or glaucoma 
  • Red eyes.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Dry mouth or throat.
  • Inflammation in the mouth.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Rash.
  • Difficulty passing urine, particularly if you already have problems passing urine.

Allergic reactions, including swelling of the lips, tongue and face. Stop using this medicine and consult a doctor if you think you have had an allergic reaction to it.

For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

  • This medicine is only absorbed into the bloodstream in very small amounts and is not known to significantly affect other medicines. However, as with all medicines, if you are already taking any other medicines, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, it is important to check with your pharmacist before taking this one as well, to make sure that the combination is safe.