Xylometazoline (Otrivine child nasal drops)

How does it work?

Otrivine child nasal drops contain the active ingredient xylometazoline, which is a type of medicine called a decongestant.

When this medicine is administered into the nose, the xylometazoline works by acting on alpha receptors that are found in the walls of blood vessels in the linings of the nasal passages and sinuses. It causes these blood vessels to contract and narrow, thereby decreasing blood flow into the linings of the nose and sinuses. This reduces swelling and the feeling of congestion. It also reduces the production of mucus, helping to relieve a blocked nose.

The nasal drops help relieve congestion in a few minutes and the effect of the medicine lasts for up to 10 hours.

As the medicine causes the blood vessels in the nose to contract, it minimises the amount of medicine that is absorbed into the bloodstream from the nose. This means that the nasal drops have a relatively local effect in the nose and are unlikely to have side effects on other parts of the body.

What is it used for?

  • Relieving a blocked nose (nasal congestion) associated with colds, flu, sinusitis and nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) such as hayfever, in children aged six years and over.

How do I use it?

  • For children aged 6 to 12 years, one or two drops should be used in each nostril one to two times a day as necessary.
  • Do not give more than two doses in any 24 hours.
  • The drops can be used for up to five days.


  • This medicine is for use in the nose only and should not be given by mouth.
  • Avoid getting the drops in the eyes.
  • You should not use this medicine continuously for longer than five days. This is because the medicine can become less effective if used excessively. In addition, nasal congestion may come back (rebound congestion) when you stop using the medicine if you use it for too long.
  • Carefully follow the dosage instructions provided with this medicine. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
  • If your child's symptoms have not got better after five days, or get worse at any point, consult your doctor for advice.
  • For reasons of hygiene, do not use these nasal drops more than 28 days after first opening them - they may be contaminated with germs.
  • Each bottle of nasal drops should only be used by one person, to avoid spreading infection.

Not to be used in

  • Children under six years of age.
  • Children with inflamed skin around the nostrils or inflammation of the membranes lining the inside of the nose.
  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
  • Diabetes.
  • Children with a tumour of the adrenal gland (phaeochromocytoma).
  • Closed angle glaucoma.
  • Children who have recently had neurosurgery or nasal surgery exposing the covering of the brain.
  • Children who have had their pituitary gland surgically removed.
  • Children who have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant (eg phenelzine, isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine or moclobemide) in the last 14 days.

This medicine should not be used if your child is allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if your child has previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel your child has experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

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 does not mean that all children using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Irritation of the nasal lining (stinging, itching or soreness).
  • Dryness of the nasal lining.
  • Burning sensation in the nose or throat.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Restlessness, sleep disturbance or hallucinations in small children (stop using this medicine if your child seems to be affected in this way).

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. 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?

If you are already giving your child any other medicines, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving them this medicine as well, to make sure that the combination is safe.

Do not give your child other decongestant medicines in combination with this one.

You should not give your child this medicine if they are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant (eg phenelzine, isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine or moclobemide), or if they have taken one of these medicines in the last 14 days. This is because the combination could cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

Otrivine adult measured dose sinusitis spray Otrivine adult menthol nasal spray Otrivine adult nasal drops
Otrivine adult nasal spray Otrivine allergy relief nasal spray Sudafed blocked nose spray
Sudafed mucus relief nasal spray