Ipratropium is used to control and prevent symptoms (wheezing and shortness of breath) caused by ongoing lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD which includes bronchitis and emphysema). It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
For preventing symptoms of lung disease, this medication must be used regularly to be effective. Use your quick-relief inhaler or nebulized solution (such as albuterol, also called salbutamol in some countries) for wheezing or sudden shortness of breath unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Ipratropium does not work as fast as your quick-relief medication, but may sometimes be used together with your quick-relief medication to relieve symptoms of wheezing or sudden shortness of breath if so prescribed by your doctor.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This medication may also be used to prevent symptoms of asthma or to treat wheezing or sudden shortness of breath.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using ipratropium and each time you get a refill. This medication is used with a special machine called a nebulizer that changes the solution to a fine mist that you inhale. Learn how to prepare the solution and use the nebulizer properly. If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist.
This product should be clear and colorless. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid.
Inhale this medication into your lungs using the nebulizer as directed by your doctor, usually 3 to 4 times a day (6 to 8 hours apart). Avoid getting this medication into your eyes. It may cause eye pain/irritation, temporary blurred vision, and other vision changes. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a mouthpiece rather than a face mask with the nebulizer or that you close your eyes during use. Each treatment usually takes about 5 to 15 minutes. Use this medication only through a nebulizer. Do not swallow or inject the solution. To prevent infections, clean the nebulizer and mouthpiece/face mask according to the manufacturer's directions.
Ipratropium may be mixed with other medications (such as albuterol) or saline if directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Once a vial is opened, throw away any unused solution.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
If you are directed to use this medication regularly, it works best if used at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Do not increase your dose, use this medication more often, or stop using it without first consulting your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.
Learn which of your inhalers/medications you should use every day and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens (quick-relief drugs). Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you have new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler more often, or if your quick-relief inhaler does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can treat sudden breathing problems by yourself and when you must get medical help right away.
See also How to Use section.
Infrequently, this medication may cause severe sudden worsening of breathing problems right after use. If you have sudden worsening of breathing, use your quick-relief medication and get medical help right away.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fast/pounding heartbeat, difficult/painful urination.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night, blurred vision).
A very serious allergic reaction to this product is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using ipratropium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or to tiotropium; or to atropine or other belladonna-type drugs; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), difficulty urinating (for example, due to enlarged prostate).
This drug may make you dizzy or cause blurred vision or other vision changes. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially problems urinating or constipation.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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