Aclidinium (Inhalation)

Aclidinium is administered via an inhaler into the lungs. It is used to treat bronchospasms that are triggered by COPD.

Overview

COPD is a type of lung disease that is typically contracted gradually through acts such as smoking or tobacco inhalation, and from poor air conditions and pollution. The condition is a combination of two diseases - chronic bronchitis and emphysema graphic. COPD is one of the most common causes of long-term ill health and breathing related deaths and cannot be cured once contracted. It can only be maintained and managed through long-term medications and improvements to lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and improving the quality of air.

Aclidinium is a prescription medication that is used to treat bronchospasms that people suffer as a result of COPD. It is part of the bronchodilator family of drugs; these are breathed in through an inhaler device inserted into the mouth. The drug then helps clear and open the air passages to the lungs, resulting in clearer and fuller breathing for the patient. When inhaled, it increases the flow of air to the lungs. Aclidinium is supplied in an aerosol powder that can be inhaled directly into the lungs.

This prescription medication is designed as a long term treatment for those suffering from COPD. It is not a cure for the disease, but will help patients to manage their symptoms and live normal lives. It can help to reduce symptoms over the long-run, keeping this chronic condition under control. There have been various clinical studies into the effectiveness of aclidinium [ref 1] and it is therefore widely prescribed to patients throughout the country as a long-term solution to managing COPD.

Aclidinium is also known by its United States brand name, Tudorza Pressair.

Conditions treated

  • Bronchospasm as a result of COPD

Type of medicine

  • Inhaler

Side effects

Patients that have been prescribed a course of aclidinium may experience side effects when they start to take the drug. Experiencing some side effects is normal when a patient is new to this drug, but these should be monitored to see if they persist or increase in severity. If side effects continue and the patient's condition does not improve, then a doctor may advise a different type of treatment.

If you are worried about any of the side effects you are experiencing as a result of aclidinium, you should contact your doctor or a healthcare advice line for professional advice.

Some of the common side effects include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, congestion, temperature, sore throat, drowsiness and watery eyes
  • coughing, wheezing
  • diarrhea
  • infections in the sinuses
  • toothache
  • mouth sores, such as ulcers
  • dry mouth syndrome
  • urinary tract infections such as cystitis
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia) or irregular sleeping patterns
  • severe tiredness

There are some more serious side effects that can be experienced as a direct result of taking aclidinium. If you find you are experiencing any of these, you should contact your doctor immediately. Continuing to take aclidinium when experiencing serious side effects can have long-term lasting damage on your health.

Serious and rarer side effects can be:

  • a first degree AV block
  • sudden shortness of breath as soon as you have taken the medication
  • cardiac (heart) failure
  • a feeling of high pressure in the eyes (also known as acute narrow-angle com/health/coma/">glaucoma, which can be detrimental to sight, and even can result in total blindness)
  • cardio-respiratory arrest
  • osteoarthritis
  • diabetes mellitus

Side effects of taking aclidinium are not limited to these. There may be other unwanted issues that you experience when taking this medication. Always consult a doctor if you are in doubt or if you notice any changes to your body or mental well-being after taking aclidinium.

Dosage

Aclidinium is designed to be taken as a daily inhaler for long-term use and maintenance of a chronic condition. Any prescribed dosages should not be altered, and you should not take extra inhalations if you feel short of breath or if you experience an attack of breathing problems. Relief medications for short-term breathing problems can be prescribed separately.

The dosage for aclidinium is 400 micrograms (mcg) taken orally one time per day. Patients should try to keep the times they take their medications the same each day, e.g. first thing in the morning. The dosage set for adults with COPD is generally the same for all patients. There are 60 doses supplied in each inhaler, so you will need a new one approximately every 30 days. Always make sure you order your repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, as being without the medication can leave you with withdrawal symptoms and a shortness of breath.

Major drug interactions

There are various reasons your doctor will ask you whether you suffer from any other conditions or are taking any other medication, prior to issuing you a prescription for aclidinium. The most important reason is because there are certain medications and conditions that can interact with aclidinium, meaning that the treatment could be less effective, or even detrimental to your health. There are many drugs that interact with each other, and in most cases these interactions will be minor. However, some drugs have a major reaction and taking them at the same time can be very dangerous.

There are 367 medications that have been known to react with aclidinium (a total of 2,669 generic and brand named drugs). None of these drugs have been found to have a major reaction, but there are 366 that can cause a moderate interaction and just one that has a minor interaction. [ref 2]

Some significant drugs that can interfere with or impair the effectiveness of your aclidinium prescription include urinary tract treatments such as fesoterodine, solifenacin, oxybutynin, darifenacin and tolterodine; medication taken ipratropium or tiotropium; drugs prescribed for Parkinson's disease; drugs used to treat conditions such as motion sickness, stomach acidity, irritable bowel syndrome or stomach ulcers.

Warnings

It is important to be aware that aclidinium is not a medication suitable for rescue. It will not be able to treat breathing attacks fast enough to make any difference. You should not treat it as such a medication and always seek an additional prescription to help you in these instances.

Food and alcohol interactions

Patients taking aclidinium should be mindful of their alcohol intake, and it is worth noting that alcohol can impact the severity of your condition. Aclidinium will be most effective when taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and no alcoholic intake. If you do drink, keep it to a minimum. As a guideline, this is one drink maximum per day for women, and two drinks maximum per day for men.

Other diseases

Sometimes, there are other diseases that can interact with aclidinium. Taking aclidinium when you have another condition might make that condition worse. Likewise, it may mean that your aclidinium prescription is less effective. There are three diseases that are known to interact with aclidinium:

  • Milk protein allergies
  • Anticholinergic effects
  • Liver impairment

It is highly important that you tell your doctor if you are suffering from any of these three conditions. The list is not exhaustive and there may be other illnesses that could have a detrimental impact on your aclidinium course. Always tell your doctor about your overall health. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medication if it is deemed that aclidinium is not suitable for you.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

There is no known data on the impact of aclidinium on pregnancies. However, various tests on animals have shown that the drug does cross the placenta. There has been no evidence from animal studies that it alters the fetus even when given a dose of 15 to 20 times the recommended human dose. There has, however, been evidence in animal studies of teratogenicity. Some studies have also shown some extent of fetal damage in animals; however, it is not known whether this type of damage would also apply to humans.

Some negative side effects in pregnant animals include delayed ossification of the fetus in rats, and lighter fetal weight in a rabbit study.

There is no published data on the impact of aclidinium on breastfeeding mothers. However, the drug does produce low serum levels in mothers. The risk of harm to breastfeeding babies is considered small and usually does not impact on a doctor's decision to prescribe the medication.

Children

This drug is not usually prescribed to children due to the nature of the condition it is used to treat. However, there is no data to suggest that the medication is unsuitable for children.

Missing a dose

Aclidinium is most effective if you stick to taking each dose when advised - at regular intervals usually every 12 or 24 hours. Try not to miss any of your doses. However, if you do find you've missed a dose by mistake, just take it straight away when you've remembered. If it's close to your next dose, there's no need to take the missed dose. Do not attempt to make up for missed doses by taking extra medication. This has no benefit for your condition and could mean that you experience symptoms of overdose.

Overdose

If you have taken an overdose or suspect that you are experiencing symptoms as a result of taking too much aclidinium, seek emergency advice immediately. You can call the Poison Helpline on 1-800-222-1222. Never attempt to increase your dosage yourself - always follow the guidance of your doctor.

If someone becomes unconscious or stops breathing as a result of aclidinium or taking too much medication, call 911 immediately.

Storage

Do not attempt to remove the medication from the inhaler device that it is supplied in. You should store your inhaler in a clean, dry place and at room temperature (21 degrees centigrade). Do not store your medication at temperatures above 25 degrees centigrade, and keep the device away from direct sources of light, sunlight, heat or cold.

The medication will have been supplied to you in a sealed pouch. Keep the medication in this pouch until use. Do not let your inhaler get wet or moist and do not store it on a surface that vibrates. Do not refrigerate your aclidinium prescription.

You should always make every effort to keep this medication out of the reach and sight of children and pets. Consumption by children is highly dangerous and can be detrimental to health. Keep the medication in a lockable cupboard ideally, or on a high shelf.

Disposal

Once you have had your inhaler for 45 days, it should be disposed of. Each inhaler contains 60 doses, so after they have been taken, the inhaler serves no purpose. When it is empty, your inhaler device will either show a zero or will lock. You can throw an empty inhaler away into the trash can, as long as there is no medication left inside.

If you have medication left inside the inhaler that you no longer require, you should dispose of it in a safe and responsible way, so that it does not get into the possession of children, animals or those not intended to use it. The best way to do this is via a take-back scheme. These schemes are designed to take the hassle out of medicine disposal for you, and guarantee safety for others by ensuring medicines do not cause harm to others. You can find out about what schemes are available in your area by visiting the FDA website.

If there are no such schemes available in your area, there are steps you can take to dispose of your medicine safely. Visit the FDA's advice page for disposal of medication for help in what to do. Do not attempt to remove medication from the inhaler. [ref 3]

Summary

If taken as advised by a healthcare professional, aclidinium offers long-term benefits to sufferers of COPD and can help patients to successfully manage the condition. It is generally a safe form of treatment for the condition and can help eliminate the discomfort of shortness of breath, meaning that COPD sufferers can enjoy normal activities.

It is Important to note that aclidinium is a different type of inhaled medication to those prescribed to relieve symptoms of an attack of breathlessness. Patients that suffer from acute attacks should always ensure that they have a different prescription for this. Aclidinium is a slow-working drug that opens up the air passages gradually.

Patients taking aclidinium should always be upfront with their doctors before starting a course of aclidinium - tell your doctor if you are suffering from any other conditions, and whether you are taking any other medication. There are many drugs that interact with aclidinium, although none of these interactions are considered to be major.

When used in conjunction with improvements in lifestyle - such as preventing or improving the factors that led to the contraction of COPD - aclidinium can be a safe, long-term solution to coping with the disease and can prevent it from worsening.

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Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018