Glycopyrronium reduces breathlessness and wheezing caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Make sure you know how to use the inhaler device properly. Ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you, if you are unsure.
Use the inhaler regularly, each day.
|Type of medicine||Antimuscarinic bronchodilator|
|Used for||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults|
|Also called||Seebri Breezhaler®|
|Available as||Dry powder capsules (for inhalation with a Breezhaler® device)|
Glycopyrronium belongs to the group of medicines known as antimuscarinic bronchodilators. It is used to treat the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a general term which includes the conditions chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have COPD, the airflow to your lungs is restricted and this causes symptoms such as cough, wheeze, and breathlessness. You will have been prescribed glycopyrronium to reduce these symptoms over the long term - it is not a rescue treatment for sudden breathlessness.
Glycopyrronium works by opening up the air passages in your lungs so that air can flow into your lungs more freely.
Before using glycopyrronium
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using glycopyrronium it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have prostate or kidney problems, or any problems passing urine.
- If you have a heart condition.
- If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye).
- If you are taking or using any other medicines or inhalers. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to use the inhaler
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the medicine, diagrams to remind you how to use the inhaler, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience.
- Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure you know how to use your inhaler device properly. If you are unsure about this, ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you what to do.
- Inhale the contents of one capsule each day, using the inhaler device. To do this:
- Remove the cap and open the device by tilting the mouthpiece backwards.
- Carefully remove one capsule from the blister packaging and place it in the chamber at the base of the device.
- Close the device by pulling the mouthpiece forwards until it clicks into place over the capsule chamber.
- Press the two side buttons on the base of the device inwards to pierce the capsule, and then release them.
- Breathe out (away from the inhaler device) and then place your lips around the mouthpiece and breathe in as deeply as you can through the device - you will hear a whirring noise as you do this.
- Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds and then breathe out. Open the device and check to make sure the capsule is empty. If so, remove the empty capsule. If there is still some powder in the capsule, close the device again and repeat the previous step to breathe in the rest of the powder.
- You must NOT swallow the capsules.
- You can use the inhaler at a time of day that suits you, but try to use it at the same time each day, as this will help you to avoid missing doses. If you do forget to use the inhaler at your usual time, use it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Treatment for COPD is usually long-term so you should continue to use your inhaler unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor. If you are currently using any other inhalers or nebulisers to help your breathing, please discuss with your doctor if there are any of these that you should no longer use. This is because you should not use other antimuscarinic bronchodilators as well as glycopyrronium. Other antimuscarinic bronchodilators include ipratropium (Atrovent®), tiotropium (Spiriva®), and aclidinium (Eklira®).
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can review your condition on a regular basis.
- If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, contact your doctor or nurse for advice straightaway.
- COPD is usually caused by smoking, so the most important treatment is to stop smoking. Smoking causes irritation and damage to your lungs, and will make your condition worse. Speak with your doctor or practice nurse for further advice if you are having difficulty in stopping smoking.
- People with COPD who exercise regularly, tend to have a better quality of life. If you are not used to exercise, a daily brisk walk is a good start if you are able to do this. Speak with your doctor about what level of activity will help your breathing and keep you as fit as possible.
- If you are overweight, it may help your breathing if you try to lose weight. This is because being overweight means that you have to work much harder to breathe in to take a good breath. A dietician will be able to give you advice on how to eat a healthy diet and lose weight.
- Remember to arrange to have your yearly 'flu jabs' each autumn. This will help protect you against influenza and any chest infections that develop due to it.
Can glycopyrronium cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all 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.
|Common glycopyrronium side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use this inhaler||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Stomach upset||Eat simple food - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Sleeping problems, nose and throat irritation, urine infections||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the inhaler, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store glycopyrronium
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Do not use the same inhaler device for longer than 30 days. You will be given a new inhaler to use with each supply of capsules.
Important information about all medicines
Never use more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have had an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Seebri Breezhaler® Inhalation Powder, Hard Capsules 44 micrograms; Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2012.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
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.
Dr Helen Huins