Spiriva Medication Benefits and Side Effects

Patient using an inhaler
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Spiriva (tiotropium) is a bronchodilator used daily for maintenance treatment of COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Spiriva is not meant to be used as a rescue medication.

Spiriva is used to treat bronchospasm associated with COPD and sometimes severe asthma. Spiriva works to open up the airways making it easier for you to breathe.

Spiriva Side Effects

The following are common side effects associated with Spiriva that generally don't require medical attention:

  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach

The following are more serious side effects which have been reported after using Spiriva. Contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Any type of allergic reaction such as skin rash, hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in vision
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Infection or flu-like symptoms
  • Trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine

Spiriva Interactions

Spiriva may interact with the following medications:

  • Atropine
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Ipratropium
  • Related medicines called antimuscarinics (drugs that block bladder contractions) or anticholinergics

This is only a partial list of possible drug interactions. Be sure to talk with your health care provider if you take these, or any other medications, before taking Spiriva.

Spiriva Precautions

Spiriva is not for everyone.

Before using Spiriva, notify your health care provider if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Glaucoma
  • Bladder problems or trouble passing urine
  • Kidney disease
  • Prostate problems
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to tiotropium, ipratropium, atropine, lactose, food dyes, preservatives or any other medications
  • Pregnant, or trying to become pregnant
  • Breastfeeding

How to Use a Spiriva Handihaler

Use Spiriva only as directed by your doctor. Spiriva comes in a capsule that is meant to be inserted into a special inhaler. Do NOT swallow the capsule or use Spiriva with any other inhaler. Do not use the inhaler if it gets wet and don't take more than the prescribed dosage of Spiriva. Don't stop using Spiriva without first notifying your doctor.

Overdose: If you think that you have taken too much Spiriva, contact a poison control center or hospital emergency room immediately.

Listen for the Capsule Rattle When You Inhale

When you use Spiriva, it’s important that you hear a "rattle" or vibration of the capsule when you inhale. This means you are getting a full dose of the medication inside the capsule. If you don’t, try the following tips:

  • Check to make sure the mouthpiece on your Spiriva Handihaler is tightly closed.
  • Hold your HandiHaler upright and tap it gently on a tabletop, counter or another hard surface.
  • Try inhaling again.
  • If you still don’t hear or feel the capsule rattle, talk to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.


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