Nonallergic non-infectious perennial rhinitis (NANIPER) is a heterogeneous disorder comprising several pathophysiological entities. The etiology of some of these disorders (e.g. drug-induced rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis with eosinophilia syndrome [NARES], occupational rhinitis, hormonal rhinitis, emotion-induced rhinitis, physical/chemical irritant-induced rhinitis) is well established. In contrast, the aetiology of idiopathic forms of rhinitis (also known as vasomotor rhinitis) is largely unknown. Mechanistic studies have suggested that non-IgE-mediated inflammatory and/or neurogenic processes may be involved. There is evidence that localized inflammation is the underlying cause of symptoms in drug-induced rhinitis and NARES, since eosinophilia is an important pathophysiological component in these conditions. In contrast, neurogenic reflex mechanisms initiated by environmental factors appear to be involved in idiopathic rhinitis. It has been suggested that there may be an imbalance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, with parasympathetic hyper-activity and sympathetic hypo-activity resulting in nasal congestion and rhinorrhoea. Indirect evidence suggests that C-fibres may also play an important role in the pathophysiology of idiopathic rhinitis.