Spiriva is a prescription medication for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It allows COPD patients to manage their breathing problems by taking one dose per day. Spiriva contains a drug called tiotropium that acts as an anticholinergic agent (an anticholinergic agent blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system). In the end, anticholinergic agents act as bronchodilators over time relaxing the muscles in the patient’s airways so more air can move in and out of the lungs. This helps the person breathe easier.
According to Susan B. Shurin, MD, acting director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Spiriva “might provide an alternative to other asthma treatments, expanding options available to patients for controlling their asthma.”
Symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath (dyspnea). Typically, asthma appears in the forms of attacks, starting with wheezing and rapid breathing, and as the attack progress, all breathing muscles become affected and irritated. Some people experience chest tightness or chest pain or a nonproductive cough. When asthma attacks can not be managed with bronchodilators (steroids) Spiriva may be an option to manage and improve breathing problems.
Side Effects of Spiriva
According to the Spiriva website, the safety of the drug has been established in clinical trials. The same website reports the following side effects of Spiriva: thirst, increased heart rate, blurry vision, glaucoma, and trouble passing urine. Thirst is the most common observed side effect.
Spiriva side effects can be divided into common, severe, and rare side effects. The most frequent common side effects include: upper respiratory infection, dry mouth, sinus infection, and bladder infection. Less frequently, patients may experience abdominal pain, constipation, indigestion or heartburn, vomiting, muscle pain., and stuffy or runny nose.
These common side effects are easily manageable by the patient although some require medical treatments.
-Allergic reactions (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, wheezing, difficult breathing or swallowing)
-Worsening breathing problems
-Arrhythmia (irregular beating)
Rare side effects seen in patients taking the Spiriva medication include: leg pain, change in voice, burning and tingling, high cholesterol and blood glucose, depression, shingles, canker sores, and cataracts.
Spiriva is increasingly being prescribed for asthma patients. Although approved for COPD it relieves signs and symptoms similar to that experienced by asthma sufferers. As with any drug some people may experience side effects. Some of them are easily manageable but others require medical intervention.
Spiriva Improves Asthma Treatment. Study Shows When Inhaler Alone Isn’t Enough, Spiriva at Least as Good as Serevent for Asthma
Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD. Spiriva Side Effects.