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What Is Atrovent® Nasal Spray?

Atrovent® nasal spray.
Atrovent® can help treat runny noses caused by a cold.
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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
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Atrovent® is a prescription-strength nasal spray containing ipratropium bromide as its active ingredient. The drug is approved to treat runny nose symptoms associated with colds and allergies in those who are at least 5 years of age. Classified as an anticholinergic, Atrovent® reduces nasal secretions when sprayed into the nostrils. Ipratropium bromide is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals; the company also manufacturers Atrovent® in different forms, including the asthma medication Atrovent® HFA.

The Atrovent® nasal spray is sold in a pump,and users prime the pump with the first use to get a metered dose of the product. The solution is available in two strengths, 0.03 percent and 0.6 percent. The 0.03 percent solution is generally used for symptoms of a runny nose associated with allergies. Use of the 0.06 percent solution is typically limited to those dealing with the common cold.

Directions for individual use of Atrovent® nasal spray 0.03 percent may differ, but product recommendations are generally to use the spray up to three time a day and to apply two sprays to each nostril each time the product is used. Generally, the dose will be for about 250 micrograms per day. Taken at this maximum dose, the bottle will last about a month before a replacement is needed.

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Recommendations for taking Atrovent® nasal spray 0.06 percent generally direct the user to apply two sprays per nostril up to four times daily. At maximum strength, users would take approximately 675 micrograms daily. Those taking the maximum dose daily would use the entire bottle in about 10 days.

Using the nasal spray is a simple process. If the nose is congested, the user can gently blow her nose before using the spray. One nostril can be closed by pushing a finger against the side of the nose. The tip of the bottle can then be inserted into the open nostril, and the head should be tilted slightly forward. Keeping the bottle in an upright position, users press down firmly to release the spray and then inhale deeply so the nasal passages get the full effect before breathing out of the mouth. Once the bottle tip is removed from the nose, users tilt their heads back for a few seconds so the product thoroughly coats the nasal passages. The process is repeated once more on the same nostril before two doses are sprayed in the opposite nostril.

Atrovent® nasal spray is not without its share of side effects. The most likely reactions that might occur in some individuals include a bitter flavor in the mouth, headaches, and nosebleeds. As the nasal spray is designed to remove moisture from the nose, irritation of the nasal passages and dryness may also occur. Rarer side effects that users may still want to be aware of include dry mouth, wheezing, and allergic reactions to the ingredients used in Atrovent®. Overdose of the treatment could cause shakiness or a rapid heartbeat.

When using the spray, users should also take care not to get the drug in their eyes. If squirted into the eyes, temporary visual disturbances and eye pain are possible. The eyes should be immediately flushed with cool water for several minutes to reduce irritation.

As use of this common cold treatment spray is localized to one area, it is unlikely to interact with any other medications. It is possible, however, that the Atrovent® nasal spray could cause adverse effects in individuals with certain medical conditions. Men with a history of enlarged prostate or those with bladder problems, for example, should inform their doctor of these conditions. The medication may still be given, but the dose may be adjusted to avoid possible problems.

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