What to expect with SPIRIVA

SPIRIVA is a COPD maintenance medicine.

SPIRIVA works differently than a rescue inhaler. It's important to understand the roles of both kinds of treatments.

How long will it take SPIRIVA to start working?

SPIRIVA starts working right from the first dose, helping to improve lung function by opening airways. It may take a couple of weeks for you to notice the full effects of SPIRIVA. But even if you don't feel it working, your lungs do. It's important to give SPIRIVA time to work for you.

Will I still need my rescue inhaler?

In three out of four clinical studies, patients taking SPIRIVA used their rescue inhalers less often. But SPIRIVA cannot replace your rescue inhaler and should not be used to treat sudden breathing problems. Think of SPIRIVA and your rescue inhaler as partners.

Ask your doctor about how SPIRIVA and your rescue medicines work—and how they can work for you.

Now that you know what to expect, learn how to use SPIRIVA.

Get quick answers about SPIRIVA.


Do not use Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) if you are allergic to tiotropium or ipratropium (e.g., Atrovent®) or any of the ingredients in SPIRIVA. If your breathing suddenly worsens, your face, throat, lips, or tongue swells, you get hives, itching or rash, stop taking SPIRIVA and seek immediate medical help.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue medicine and should not be used for treating sudden breathing problems.

Do not swallow SPIRIVA capsules. The contents of the capsule should only be inhaled through your mouth using the HandiHaler device.

If you have vision changes or eye pain or if you have difficulty passing urine or painful urination, stop taking SPIRIVA and call your doctor right away.

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. Also discuss with your doctor all the medicines you take, including eye drops.

The most common side effect with SPIRIVA is dry mouth. Others include constipation and trouble passing urine. For a complete list of reported side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not let the powder from the SPIRIVA capsule get into your eyes.

Dizziness and blurred vision may occur with SPIRIVA. Should you experience these symptoms, you should use caution when engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating appliances or other machines.

Read the Patient Information and the step-by-step Instructions for Use for SPIRIVA before you use your inhaler.


Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) is a prescription medicine used once each day (a maintenance medicine) to control symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by relaxing your airways and keeping them open. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler also reduces the likelihood of flare-ups and worsening of COPD symptoms (COPD exacerbations).

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information and Instructions for Use.


The tips contained on this site convey general information and are not intended to be, nor should they be used as, a replacement for the advice of a licensed physician. Your doctor knows your specific condition. As with all things medical, you should talk to your doctor before you start any treatment, exercise, diet, or other lifestyle change.