Ipratropium (Inhalation)

Overview

Ipratropium is a drug given to patients suffering from various lung diseases, as a means to help control the symptoms they are experiencing. This includes conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. It can also be given as a way to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from getting worse or to treat air flow blockage.

The medicine is a part of a group of drugs called bronchodilators. These are certain drugs that you breathe in order to open up your bronchial tubes inside of your lungs. Be aware that you can only access this medicine with a prescription from your doctor.

Condition(s) treated

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Type of medicine

  • Aerosol Liquid

Side effects

As well as helping with helping to treat its intended conditions, it is possible that this medicine can have other side effects as well. Some patients may experience multiple side effects, whereas others could experience none at all. Directly below is a list of the more serious side effects that may occur. If you do experience any of these whilst taking Ipratropium, you should contact your doctor immediately.

More common

  • A cough producing mucus

Less common

  • Ear congestion

Rare

  • Irregular, fast, or pounding pulse or heartbeat

Incidence not known

  • Sweating

As well as these more serious side effects, you may instead experience less severe ones which do not require medical attention. Below is a list of such side effects. If you do experience any of the following then you may find that they simply pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you do experience any of the following and find them worrying or lingering, then you can still contact your doctor for advice.

More common

  • Unpleasant taste

Less common or rare

Though these lists are extensive, you may still experience other side effects that are not listed here. If this is the case, then you can discuss them with your doctor.

Dosage

Below you can find the typical doses of Ipratropium that gets prescribed to patients suffering from various lung diseases. Be aware that the exact doses you are required to take may differ greatly from what is listed below.This is because each patient is unique in their own way, and your doses will be based off a number of factors. This includes things like the extent of your condition, as well as any other drugs you are taking. You should not alter your doses in any way unless told to do so by your doctor.

For patients suffering from asthma and using the aerosol form of dosage (inhaler):

  • Adults and children aged 12 and above. Take between 1 and 4 puffs four times each day. These should be regularly spaced as needed.

For patients suffering from asthma and using the solution form of dosage (nebulizer):

  • Adults and children aged 12 and above. Take 500mcg from a nebulizer 3 or 4 times each day. Take this each 6 to 8 hours as necessary.

For patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and using the aerosol form of dosage (inhaler):

  • Adults. To start, take 2 puffs 4 times each day and as necessary. Do not take more than twelve puffs within a 24 hour period.

For patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and using the solution form of dosage (nebulizer):

  • Adults and children aged 12 and above. Take between 250 and 500 mcg from a nebulizer 3 or 4 times each day. Take this each 6 to 8 hours as necessary.

You should never miss a scheduled dose of this medicine as doing so will impact the effectiveness of your treatment. If you do miss a dose for any reason, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is then almost time for your next dose, simply skip the missed one. It is important you do not double dose.

Ipratropium usually comes with a patient instructions insert. You should read these instructions carefully before using the medicine. If you have any questions afterward, then you should address these to your doctor.

You should only use this drug as instructed by your doctor. Don't take it for longer than required and never take any more of it. Similarly, you should only ever stop taking this medicine if you have first discussed this with your doctor. Stopping suddenly may actually make your lung condition worse.

You should keep this solution or spray away from your eyes at all times. It can lead to you seeing odd colors or halos, irritation, eye pain, blurred vision, or eye discomfort. To help stop it getting in your eyes, you should close your eyes whilst inhaling the medicine. If you do get any of this medicine in your eyes you should check with your doctor immediately.

If you are supposed to take this medicine every day, then you should space your doses regularly out, and your doctor will advise you on how to do it.

If you are using the inhalation aerosol, here is some further guidance to follow:

  • You should check with your doctor if you are unsure how to properly use the inhaler. Also, whenever you meet with your doctor, you should get them to check to make sure you are using it properly.

In order to prime or test the cannister, you should:

  • First, insert the canister into the clean mouthpiece as per the instructions from the manufacturer. You should ensure it is firmly placed inside of the mouthpiece.

Here is guidance on how to use the inhaler:

  • Using one or two fingers and your thumb, hold it in an upright position.The mouthpiece should be facing towards you and be pointing down.

Whilst using the inhaler, your doctor may ask you to use a holding chamber or spacer device. The spacer helps by reducing the amount of medicine in your throat and mouth and gets more into your lungs.here is some guidance on using the spacer with your inhaler:

  • First, attach the spacer onto the inhaler in the way directed on the manufacturer's directions. Though the method is normally the same, there are different manufacturers so it can vary.

On the mouthpiece, you will find an indicator window. This tells you how much medicine you have left. If the background of this indicator changes from green to red, or if it indicates œ40' it means your prescription needs refilling. You may need to check with your doctor if you need another prescription.

You should clean your mouthpiece, spacer, and inhaler at least one time each week. Here is some guidance on cleaning the inhaler.

  • Take the canister off the inhaler and place it to one side.

Here is some guidance for patients using the inhalation solution:

  • You should only use this medicine in a suitable power-operated nebulizer that is equipped with a mouthpiece or face mask and has an adequate flow rate. Your doctor can help you with accessing a suitable nebulizer. Before performing this on your own, make sure you know how to properly use it. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about this.

Here's how to prepare the medicine before using it in the nebulizer:

  • First, break one vial away by pulling it firmly away from the strip.

Here is some guidance on using a nebulizer:

  • In order to mix the solutions suitably, you should shake the nebulizer cup gently.

You should only use the brand of Ipratropium that was prescribed to you by your doctor. You may find that other brands do not work the same.

Interactions

It is possible that an interaction will occur if Ipratropium is taken with certain other drugs. In many cases, your doctor will want to avoid all such interactions as they could affect the course of your treatment. However, in other cases, an interaction is necessary as taking both medicines is best for your treatment. In order to avoid or mitigate the extent of an interaction, your doctor will either need to change one or both of the interacting medicines or alter the doses you take of them. Either way should inform your doctor of all medicines you are currently taking. This includes both prescription and nonprescription medicines. Below is a list of drugs which are known to interact moderately with Ipratropium.

  • Maprotiline

Below is a list of drugs which are known to cause a minor interaction if taken at the same time as Ipratropium.

  • Ipratropium nasa

As well as interacting with other drugs, it is possible that Ipratropium will interact with certain things you eat, drink, or smoke. Your doctor may, therefore, need to make adjustments to your diet. For example, you may be required to alter how much or how frequently you drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Doing so will limit any possible interactions.

Finally, it is possible that Ipratropium will interact with other medical problems you are currently suffering from. If you suffer from any of the following, be sure to make your doctor aware of them:

Warnings

Before your doctor prescribes you this medicine, they will first want to ensure it is indeed the best course of treatment for you. As a part of this decision-making process, they will need to know about any allergies you have. This includes allergies to dyes, foods, animals, or preservatives.

As of writing, there have been no suitable studies on how this medicine affects younger patients. No efficacy and safety have been established for the pediatric population.

As of writing, no suitable studies have demonstrated effects that would make Ipratropium less suitable for older patients.

As of writing, it is unclear as to whether suitable studies have taken place on pregnant women, or if any studies have revealed harm to a pregnant animal. Your doctor can advise you on any increased risks of using this while pregnant. If you do become pregnant whilst taking this medicine, you should inform your doctor.

Similarly, there are no suitable studies into the effects this medicine has on women who are breastfeeding. Your doctor can advise you of any risks and you can weigh these together against the benefits of using it.

Your doctor will want to see you at regular appointments throughout your treatment. You should attend all of these to make sure the medicine is working properly and to check any unwanted effects.

If, after 30 minutes of taking the medicine, your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse, you should inform your doctor.

If you use cromolyn inhalation solution, you should not mix it with the ipratropium inhalation solution that contains the benzalkonium chloride solution that is used in a nebulizer. Doing so will make the solution cloudy. However, if it is necessary for you to take both solutions mixed together, you should use the ipratropium inhalation solution that contains no preservatives.

Taking Ipratropium may cause you to experience severe allergic reactions. One such reaction is anaphylaxis. This reaction is life threatening so means you need to seek emergency medical assistance. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should immediately stop using this medicine and contact your doctor.

  • Any swelling of your mouth, throat, hands, or face

Taking this medicine may cause you to experience paradoxical bronchospasm. This means that your wheezing or breezing gets worse. This condition may also be life-threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop using your medicine immediately and then inform your doctor.

  • Shortness of breath

You should not drive or perform any other sensitive tasks until you know how this drug affects you. It is possible it will cause difficulty seeing properly, dizziness, or blurred vision. This means performing no tasks that require you to see properly or be well coordinated.

You should take all of the COPD medicines that your doctor instructs you to take. This means continuing to take any corticosteroid medicine that helps to control your breathing. This can include corticosteroid medicines taken either by mouth or that are inhaled. If you notice a change in the effectiveness of any of your COPD medicines, you should from your doctor immediately. However, never stop taking your medicines unless your doctor tells you so.

Unless first approved by your doctor, you should not take any different medicines at the same time as Ipratropium. This includes all prescription and nonprescription medicines as well as any vitamin or herbal supplements. It also means taking to medicines for sinus problems, cough, hay fever, appetite control, asthma, or colds.

Storage

You should keep any canisters stored at room temperature, and keep them away from direct light and heat. Never allow them to freeze. The inside of a car means possibly exposing the canister to extreme cold or heat, so this should be avoided. You should never throw the canister into a fire or poke holes in it, even if it is empty.

You should be careful in keeping Ipratropium away from any children. Once you have finished your treatment or if any medicine goes out of date, you should dispose of it safely and sensibly. Your pharmacist or doctor can advise you on how to do so.

Summary

If you suffer from certain lung illnesses, them Ipratropium is a medicine that may be very helpful in relieving your symptoms. However, it is only available via prescription as it is only suitable for certain patients. Also, there are a variety of different forms that this medicine may come in. Your doctor is best placed to decide which form is suitable. They will also need to teach you how to properly use the medicine. Above, you can find detailed instructions on using various forms of this medicine. However, this shouldn't be replaced by instructions from your doctor.

Yoru doctor will likely wish to see you regularly throughout your treatment. It is important you attend any such meeting as your doctor can assess how your treatment is progressing and make any adjustments to your prescription that are necessary. If you suffer from any adverse side effects whilst using this medicine, it is advised that you inform your doctor right away. If you have any other questions about using this medicine or regarding your treatment in general, you should discuss these with your doctor.