Frequently Asked Questions
- What is SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
- How does SPIRIVA work?
- What can I expect when taking SPIRIVA?
- How should I take SPIRIVA?
- What should I tell my doctor before using SPIRIVA?
- Who should not use SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
- What should I avoid while taking SPIRIVA?
- What are the possible side effects of SPIRIVA?
- Can I take SPIRIVA if I still smoke?
- How long will I have to take SPIRIVA?
- How do I clean and store SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
- What is COPD?
- 1. What is SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
SPIRIVA HandiHaler is a once-daily, inhaled prescription maintenance medicine for COPD. Taken once daily, SPIRIVA helps to keep airways open for a full 24 hours, helping to improve lung function and reduce your risk of COPD flare-ups (also called exacerbations).
- 2. How does SPIRIVA work?
SPIRIVA works by relaxing the tiny muscles in your airways, helping to get them open and keep them open for a full 24 hours. You may start breathing better from the first dose, but it may take longer to feel the full effects. But even if you don't feel it working, your lungs do. It's important to give SPIRIVA time to work for you.
- 3. What can I expect when taking SPIRIVA?
SPIRIVA is a maintenance medicine. For SPIRIVA to work, you need to take it once a day, every day. SPIRIVA starts working right from the first dose. It may take a couple of weeks for you to notice the full effects. But even if you don't feel it working, your lungs do. It's important to give SPIRIVA time to work for you.
In three out of four clinical studies, patients taking SPIRIVA used their rescue inhalers less often. But SPIRIVA cannot replace your rescue inhaler for treating sudden breathing problems.
- 4. How should I take SPIRIVA?
It's important to take SPIRIVA once a day as directed by your doctor. When used as directed, SPIRIVA can help keep your airways open for a full 24 hours, as well as reduce the likelihood of COPD flare-ups.
SPIRIVA is a dry powder that comes in a capsule. You insert the capsule in the HandiHaler and inhale the powder through your mouth.
Do not swallow the capsule. Before you use SPIRIVA HandiHaler for the first time and each time you refill your prescription, carefully read the Instructions for Use.
- 5. What should I tell my doctor before using SPIRIVA?
Before taking SPIRIVA, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications:
- Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with SPIRIVA
- Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems or are allergic to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are not sure
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines and eye drops, vitamins, and herbal supplements
- 6. Who should not use SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
Do not use SPIRIVA HandiHaler if you are allergic to tiotropium, ipratropium (e.g., Atrovent®) or any of the ingredients in SPIRIVA HandiHaler.
Symptoms of a serious reaction to SPIRIVA HandiHaler may include raised red patches on your skin (hives), itching, rash, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing.
- 7. What should I avoid while taking SPIRIVA?
Do not let the powder from the SPIRIVA capsule get into your eyes. Your vision may get blurry and the pupil in your eye may get larger (dilate). If this happens, call your doctor.
SPIRIVA HandiHaler can cause dizziness and blurred vision. Should you experience these symptoms, you should use caution when engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating appliances or other machines. Should you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor.
- 8. What are the possible side effects of SPIRIVA?
SPIRIVA HandiHaler can cause serious side effects, including:
Allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- raised red patches on your skin (hives)
- swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- If you have these symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and call your doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Sudden narrowing and blockage of the airways into the lungs (bronchospasm). Your breathing suddenly gets worse.
- If you have these symptoms of bronchospasm, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and call your doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
New or worsened increased pressure in the eyes (acute narrow-angle glaucoma). Symptoms of acute narrow angle glaucoma may include:
- eye pain
- blurred vision
- seeing halos (visual halos) or colored images along with red eyes
- Using only eye drops to treat these symptoms may not work. If you have these symptoms, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and call your doctor right away.
New or worsened urinary retention. Symptoms of blockage in your bladder and/or enlarged prostate may include: difficulty passing urine, painful urination.
- If you have these symptoms of urinary retention, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and call your doctor right away.
Other side effects with SPIRIVA HandiHaler include:
- upper respiratory tract infection
- dry mouth
- sinus infection
- sore throat
- non-specific chest pain
- urinary tract infection
- runny nose
- increased heart rate
- blurred vision
These are not all the possible side effects with SPIRIVA HandiHaler. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
- Allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- 9. Can I take SPIRIVA if I still smoke?
Yes. Quitting smoking is the only thing that you can do to actually slow the progression of COPD, but SPIRIVA can still help you breathe better.
- 10. How long will I have to take SPIRIVA?
SPIRIVA is a once-daily COPD maintenance medicine. You should take it once a day, every day, as prescribed by your doctor. COPD is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment.
- 11. How do I clean and store SPIRIVA HandiHaler?
You should clean your HandiHaler device as needed. Please note that it takes 24 hours to air-dry your HandiHaler device after a cleaning. You should not use cleaning agents or detergents, and you should not place your HandiHaler in the dishwasher for cleaning.
- 12. What is COPD?
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a serious lung disease that usually causes breathing to get worse over time. COPD can include chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. Most COPD is caused by smoking. When you have COPD, your airways become narrow. So, air moves out of your lungs more slowly. This makes it hard to breathe. COPD also includes episodes called flare-ups (also known as exacerbations).
COPD is not the same as asthma. And although smoking is the number one cause of COPD, COPD is more than just smoker's cough. You don't have to be an active smoker to have COPD.