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 (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 inhaler, but may sometimes be used to relieve symptoms of wheezing or sudden shortness of breath if so prescribed by your doctor.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using ipratropium and each time you get a refill. Learn how to use this inhaler properly. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Follow the instructions for priming the inhaler if you are using it for the first time or if you have not used it for more than 3 days. When priming the inhaler, make sure to spray away from the face so that you do not get the medication into your eyes. Inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 4 times a day. Avoid getting this medication into your eyes. It may cause eye pain/irritation, temporary blurred vision, and other vision changes. Therefore, when using the inhaler, put your lips tightly around the mouthpiece and keep your eyes closed. If your prescribed dose is 2 puffs, wait at least one minute between them. If you are using other inhalers at the same time, wait at least 1 minute between the use of each medication. Rinse your mouth after using the inhaler to prevent dry mouth and throat irritation. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Clean the mouthpiece of the inhaler once a week with water. Allow to air-dry fully before using again. 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 frequently, or stop using it without first consulting your doctor. Keep track of the number of inhalations you use, and throw away the canister after you have used the labeled number of inhalations on the package. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen. Learn which of your inhalers you should use every day (controller drugs) 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, worsening peak flow meter readings, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler more often (more than 2 days a week), 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. Dizziness, nausea, stomach upset, dry mouth, or constipation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. 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 inhaler 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. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not puncture the canister or use near an open flame. 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.
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 someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.