What to expect with SPIRIVA HandiHaler

SPIRIVA HandiHaler is a COPD maintenance medicine.

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

How long will it take SPIRIVA HandiHaler to start working?

SPIRIVA HandiHaler 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 HandiHaler. But even if you don't feel it working, your lungs do. It's important to give SPIRIVA HandiHaler time to work for you.

Will I still need my rescue inhaler?

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

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

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

Get quick answers about SPIRIVA HandiHaler.


Do not use SPIRIVA HandiHaler if you are allergic to tiotropium, ipratropium, atropine or similar drugs, or any ingredient in this medicine.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue medicine and should not be used for treating sudden breathing problems. Your doctor may give you other medicine to use for sudden breathing problems.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler can cause allergic reactions. Symptoms can include raised red patches on your skin (hives), itching, rash and/or swelling of the lips, tongue or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking the medicine and get immediate medical help.

Before using SPIRIVA HandiHaler, tell your doctor if you have a severe allergy to milk proteins.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler can cause your breathing to suddenly get worse (bronchospasm). If this happens, stop taking your medicine, use your rescue inhaler and call your doctor right away or go to the nearest emergency room.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including kidney problems, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, problems passing urine or blockage in your bladder.

Tell your doctor all the medicines you take, including eye drops. Ask your doctor if you are taking any anticholinergic medicines because taking them together with SPIRIVA HandiHaler can increase side effects.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler can increase the pressure in your eyes (acute narrow‐angle glaucoma), which can cause the following symptoms: eye pain, blurred vision, seeing halos or colored images along with red eyes. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking your medicine and call your doctor right away.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler can cause new or worsened urinary retention. Symptoms of blockage in your bladder and/or enlarged prostate may include difficulty passing urine and/or painful urination. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking your medicine and call your doctor right away.

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

The most common side effects with SPIRIVA HandiHaler include upper respiratory tract infection, dry mouth, sinus infection, sore throat, non‐specific chest pain, urinary tract infection, indigestion, runny nose, constipation, increased heart rate and blurred vision.

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


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

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 additional Important Safety Information on the previous page. Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information and Instructions for Use.


The information provided on this site is for general information and educational purposes only. You should always consult a doctor for diagnosing and treating a health or fitness problem, and before using any drug product discussed on this site.