|Type of medicine||Antimuscarinic bronchodilator|
|Used for||Treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (often referred to as chronic bronchitis) and some cases of asthma|
|Available as||Aerosol inhaler, dry powder capsules for inhalation, nebules|
Ipratropium works by opening up the air passages in the lungs so that air can flow into the lungs more easily. In doing so it can relieve symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. When ipratropium is used for nebulisation, it can be used alongside other bronchodilators such as salbutamol or fenoterol. There is a separate information leaflet called Salbutamol and ipratropium.
Before using ipratropium
Before taking ipratropium make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have glaucoma.
- If you have prostate problems.
- If you have cystic fibrosis.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to use ipratropium
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure you know how to use your inhaler properly. If you are not sure, ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you.
- Ipratropium is a reliever medication. It is usually used three or four times a day.
- Try to use this inhaler at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is particularly important that your breathing is well controlled if you are pregnant. Make sure your doctor knows if you are expecting or trying for a baby.
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will want to review your condition on a regular basis.
- If you find that your symptoms are getting worse or that you need to use reliever medication more regularly, contact your doctor or nurse for advice straight away.
- Do not smoke. Smoking causes severe irritation and damage to the lungs. It will make your condition worse and will reduce the beneficial effects of your medication.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can ipratropium cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Possible side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. If constipation continues to be a problem speak to your pharmacist or doctor|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues speak with your doctor|
|Dizziness||Make sure your reactions are normal before doing any jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert|
|Nausea and vomiting||Eat little and often and stick to simple foods|
|Blurred vision (if you are using the dry powder capsules or nebules)||Take care to protect your eyes|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store ipratropium
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Atrovent Inhaler®; Manufacturer's PIL, Atrovent Inhaler®, Boehringer Ingelheim Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2010 .
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Pippa Crossley|
|Last Checked: 07/06/2011||Document ID: 3598 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.