How to Use a Spiriva HandiHaler for COPD

Using the Spiriva HandiHaler properly is easy, but it takes a little practice

Spiriva HandiHaler
Spiriva HandiHaler. Wikimedia Commons

Many people use once-a-day Spiriva for to keep their symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) under better control.

Spiriva is a long-acting medication that serves as a bronchodilator, which means it relaxes and opens your airways so that you can breathe more easily. It's an inhaled medication, and you get it into your lungs using an inhaler, which the Spiriva manufacturer calls a "HandiHaler."

The most important part of using a Spiriva HandiHaler is making sure you use it correctly. It's quite common for people to use the inhaler the wrong way. Unfortunately, when this occurs, your COPD treatment suffers, since you're not getting enough medication into your lungs.

The following step-by-step guide will help you use your Spiriva HandiHaler correctly:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 5 minutes

How to Use Your Spiriva HandiHaler

To do this, you'll need a prescription for Spiriva from your doctor, a Spiriva HandiHaler, and Spiriva capsules containing the medication.

  1. Open the grey dustcap of the Spiriva HandiHaler device.
  2. Open the white top of the Spiriva HandiHaler mouthpiece. That should reveal the the tiny slot where the capsule (also known as the capsule reservoir) will be inserted.
  3. Remove the capsule from the Spiriva capsule package. IMPORTANT: THE SPIRIVA CAPSULE SHOULD NEVER BE SWALLOWED!
  1. Place the capsule into the Spiriva capsule reservoir.
  2. Close the white mouthpiece cover on the Spiriva HandiHaler device.
  3. Push the button on the side of the HandiHaler. This punctures the Spiriva capsule and allows the medication to be released and subsequently inhaled.
  4. Place the Spiriva HandiHaler to your mouth and tightly seal your lips around the mouthpiece. Breathe in quickly and deeply through the Spiriva HandiHaler. You should hear a rattling sound as you take a deep breath. This indicates the medication is being dispensed correctly from the capsule.
  1. If possible, hold your breath for five to ten seconds, then breathe out normally.
  2. Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after each use.
  3. Open the white mouthpiece cover and remove the capsule from the capsule reservoir.
  4. Close the white mouthpiece cover and grey dustcap of the Spiriva HandiHaler. Throw the capsule away in the trash.
  5. Clean your Spiriva Handihaler once a month per the manufacturer's instruction.

Tips for Proper HandiHaler Use

  1. Never use anyone else's Spiriva HandiHaler or share your device with anyone. Keep this and all other medication away from children.
  2. Do not use more than the recommended dose of Spiriva. Using more medication than your doctor prescribed won't help your COPD treatment, and may cause side effects.
  3. Do not store used or unused capsules inside the Spiriva HandiHaler.
  4. Do not remove a capsule from the package until it is ready to be used, since doing so may reduce its effectiveness.
  5. Avoid getting the powder from the Spiriva capsule into your eyes.

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