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Spiriva, a branded version of the drug tiotropium bromide, is a medication used primarily to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. This bronchodilator functions by relaxing the muscles in the airways to enhance breathing. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of Spiriva: its mechanism of action, indications, administration, potential side effects, and precautions.


What is Spiriva?

Spiriva, produced by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, is an anticholinergic agent. It’s a long-acting bronchodilator, and it is designed to help patients with respiratory conditions like COPD, which encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and in some cases, asthma.


How Does Spiriva Work?

Spiriva functions by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can constrict the airways and cause mucus production. By doing so, Spiriva widens the airways, which allows more air to flow in and out of the lungs, improving a patient’s ability to breathe and their overall respiratory function.


When is Spiriva Used?

Spiriva is prescribed for the ongoing, extended management of bronchospasm linked to COPD, as well as for minimizing COPD exacerbations. It’s also approved to decrease asthma symptoms and improve lung function in asthma patients who are not adequately controlled with their current medication regimen. Spiriva is not intended for the treatment of acute bronchospasm or asthma attacks.


How is Spiriva Administered?

Spiriva is available in two varieties: Spiriva HandiHaler and Spiriva Respimat. The HandiHaler device uses a capsule of powdered medication that’s inhaled through the mouth. The Respimat is a spray that’s also inhaled orally.


It’s crucial to use Spiriva consistently and precisely as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It’s usually taken once a day. Remember, it does not work immediately and is not meant to relieve sudden breathing problems. Always have a fast-acting inhaler ready.


What are the Potential Side Effects?

Like any medication, Spiriva can cause side effects. Common side effects include dry mouth, sinus infection, sore throat, and chest pain. Serious side effects can occur but are rare. They include allergic reactions, difficulty urinating, eye pain or discomfort, blurred vision, and irregular heartbeat. In case of any severe side effects, it is crucial to promptly get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Doctor helping patient to take an inhaler

What Precautions Should be Taken?

Spiriva should be used with caution in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, urinary retention, or kidney disease. Additionally, if you have any allergies or are pregnant or breastfeeding, discuss with your doctor before starting Spiriva.


The patient should not use this medication more frequently than recommended. Overdose can lead to adverse effects, including but not limited to, blurred vision, dry mouth, and rapid heart rate.


Storage of Spiriva

To store Spiriva (tiotropium) properly, keep the medication in its original blister pack or container until ready for use. Store it at room temperature, away from moisture, direct sunlight, and heat sources. Avoid exposing Spiriva to extreme temperatures or freezing conditions. Keep the medication out of the reach of children and pets.


Missed a Dose of Spiriva

If you miss a dose of Spiriva, also known as tiotropium, take it as soon as you remember. Yet, if the time for your subsequent scheduled dosage is nearing, it’s advisable to forgo the missed dosage and carry on with your routine schedule. Refrain from doubling up the dosage in an attempt to compensate for the missed one. Maintaining the stipulated dosage and timing of Spiriva is crucial to ensure its efficacy in handling respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. If you have any uncertainties or inquiries concerning your medication, seek advice from your healthcare professional.


Overdose of Spiriva


An overdose of Spiriva (tiotropium) can have serious consequences and may require immediate medical attention. If you think there has been an overdose, immediately seek emergency medical assistance or get in touch with your local poison control center. Overdosing on Spiriva may lead to symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, tremors, and potentially life-threatening complications. It is crucial to always take Spiriva as prescribed by your healthcare provider and avoid taking more than the recommended dose. If you or someone you know has taken an excessive amount of Spiriva or is experiencing severe side effects, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance.

Woman using inhaler


Spiriva is a valuable addition to the arsenal of medications used to combat respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma. Its ability to relax the muscles in the airways significantly improves a patient’s quality of life by easing their breathing. However, like all medicines, Spiriva should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional, and patients should be aware of potential side effects and interactions. As always, the key to successful treatment is open and frequent communication with your healthcare provider. 


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