Spiriva (Tiotropium) Side Effects, Important Info, How to Use & More

Spiriva is the market name for a long-acting bronchodilator called Tiotropium, widely used for the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, also known as COPD such as bronchitis and emphysema and in patients with asthma. It is an anticholinergic drug that prevents wheezing and shortness of breath by relaxing the muscles of the respiratory tract, hence increasing the air flow to the lungs. Spiriva works to prevent bronchospasm (spasm/constriction of the bronchial muscles, obstructing air flow to the lungs) rather than reversing the symptoms of a bronchospasm attack that has already begun.

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Side Effects Of Spiriva:

Common side effects of Spiriva are very few and include:

  • Xerostomia (Dry mouth)
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty urinating

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Uncommon side Effects:

In some cases, serious side effects may be experienced, such as:

  • Worsening of breathing problems following the use of the drug
  • Difficulty or pain in urinating
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Pain, swelling or redness in eyes
  • Visual disturbances such a blurry sight or seeing rainbows around lights at night

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How To Use:

Spiriva is administered through a special inhaler called HandiHaler or a Respimat. HandiHaler is a single dose dry powder inhaler device, while Respimat is a propellant-free soft mist inhaler. They help to inhale the powder contained in a capsule. Each capsule should be inhaled twice to ensure proper administration. Spiriva capsules are not to be swallowed orally, and the mouth should be rinsed after inhalation to avoid irritation or dry mouth.

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The advised dosage of Spiriva is 5 micrograms through Respimat, to be taken in two puffs, once every day. While being administered through the HandiHaler, the dosage should be 18 micrograms, taken in one inhalation.

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Precautions:

The following precautions should be taken for the administration of Spiriva:

  • Spiriva is intended to be administered by inhalation. Oral swallowing of the drug will not produce the desired therapeutic effect and may also be harmful.
  • The drug should not be taken in cases of ipratropium, atropine or other belladonna-type drug allergies.
  • Spiriva may cause dizziness, hence the use of machinery, driving, or any work that requires alertness and concentration should be avoided until the dizziness has worn off.
  • Older patients taking the drug are at the risk of being more sensitive to the more common side effects of the drug. Caution is advised when administering Spiriva in elderly patients.
  • Spiriva has been classified as a category C pregnancy drug and should be administered only if the benefits outweigh the risks of the drug.
  • Spiriva may react with other anticholinergic drugs, and co-administration should be avoided to eliminate the risk of unwanted side effects.
  • The capsules should not be stored in the inhaler device and should be used as soon as it is taken out of the blister packaging.
  • In case of a missed dosage, the dose should be taken as soon as remembered and should be skipped only if it is nearly time for the next dose.