Spiriva, or tiotropium, is an anticholinergic medication used to prevent bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways in the lungs) in people with bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals market Spiriva, which was approved by the FDA in 2004.

How Does Spiriva Work?

Spiriva comes as a capsule containing dry powder, which is inhaled through the mouth using the HandiHaler device. Once inhaled, Spiriva works by enlarging the airways, allowing easier breathing for up to 24 hours.

Important Information about Spiriva

Spiriva capsules should never be taken by mouth. Spiriva capsules should only be taken with the HandiHaler device. Additionally, only one Spiriva capsule should be taken at a time.

Before taking Spiriva, patients should tell their doctors if they have narrow-angle glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, or bladder obstruction. Patients with these conditions may not be able to use Spiriva, or may need dosage adjustments or special tests while using Spiriva.

Spiriva should only be used to prevent bronchospasm attacks and should not be used to treat a bronchospasm attack that has already begun. If a bronchospasm attack has already begun, Spiriva will not work fast enough to reverse the symptoms. Only fast-acting inhalation medications should be used to treat bronchospasm attacks.

Drugs That Will Affect Spiriva

Before using Spiriva, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following medicines:

  • atropine (Donnatal, and others)
  • belladonna
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • clidinium (Quarzan)
  • dicyclomine (Bentyl)
  • glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
  • hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Levsin, and others)
  • mepenzolate (Cantil)
  • methantheline (Provocholine)
  • methscopolamine (Pamine)
  • propantheline (Pro-Banthine)
  • scopolamine (Transderm-Scop)

Spiriva Health Risks

Studies have found that Spiriva may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. Although the FDA has not confirmed these health risks, the agency is currently working with Boehringer Ingelheim to evaluate the potential link between Spiriva and life-threatening side effects. In the meantime, the FDA urges patients to report Spiriva side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.

Spiriva Side Effects Attorneys

If you or a family member were injured by Spiriva, you should contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by