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 or nebulized solution (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 medication, but may sometimes be used together with your quick-relief medication 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. This medication is used with a special machine called a nebulizer that changes the solution to a fine mist that you inhale. Learn how to prepare the solution and use the nebulizer properly. If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist. This product should be clear and colorless. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Inhale this medication into your lungs using the nebulizer as directed by your doctor, usually 3 to 4 times a day (6 to 8 hours apart). Avoid getting this medication into your eyes. It may cause eye pain/irritation, temporary blurred vision, and other vision changes. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a mouthpiece rather than a face mask with the nebulizer or that you close your eyes during use. Each treatment usually takes about 5 to 15 minutes. Use this medication only through a nebulizer. Do not swallow or inject the solution. To prevent infections, clean the nebulizer and mouthpiece/face mask according to the manufacturer's directions. Rinse your mouth after treatment to prevent dry mouth and throat irritation. Ipratropium may be mixed with other medications (such as albuterol) or saline if directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Once a vial is opened, throw away any unused solution. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. 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 often, or stop using it without first consulting your doctor. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen. Learn which of your inhalers/medications you should use every day 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, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler more often, 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 medication 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. 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.