Drug Information

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Brand Name
Spiriva Respimat
Common Name
tiotropium (Respimat)
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Tiotropium belongs to the class of medications called bronchodilators. This medication is used once daily for the long-term relief of symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing associated with the lung disease known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Tiotropium works by opening the airways to make breathing easier.

Tiotropium is also used to treat asthma in combination with other medications, when your asthma is not well controlled with those medications alone. The other medications include an inhaled corticosteroid (e.g. fluticasone, budesonide) and a long-acting beta-agonist (e.g., salmeterol, vilanterol).

Tiotropium should not be used as a rescue medication to relieve sudden attacks of COPD or asthma symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice about rescue medications that are appropriate for you.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of tiotropium using the Respimat® inhalation device is 2 actuations (puffs) of 2.5 µg, inhaled once daily. This provides a total dose of 5 µg daily.

Using tiotropium more often than once daily or using a higher dose than recommended may cause unwanted effects.

To use the Respimat® inhaler, the Respimat® cartridge is inserted into the inhaler device. After the cartridge has been inserted into the inhaler, the device must be primed by loading a dose and pressing the dose release button with the inhaler pointed towards the ground, until a cloud of medication is released. This is repeated 3 more times to ensure that the inhaler is ready for use.

Your doctor or another health care professional, such as your pharmacist, should teach you how to use the inhalation device. If you are unsure of how to use the device, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

When all the doses in the cartridge have been used, the inhaler device will lock, preventing further use of the inhaler. After 3 months of use, safely discard the device and canister, even if there is still medication remaining in the canister.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?


Each cartridge containing a clear aqueous solution contains 60 actuations (puffs) of 2.5 µg of tiotropium. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzalkonium chloride, disodium edetate, hydrochloric acid, and purified water.

Inhalation device

The Respimat® inhalation device is a grey reusable plastic device that is especially designed for administering Spiriva® solution via oral inhalation.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you:

  • are allergic to tiotropium or any ingredients of this medication
  • are allergic to atropine or atropine-like medications (e.g., ipratropium)
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • bad taste in your mouth
  • constipation
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth or throat
  • dry skin
  • hoarseness
  • joint swelling
  • nosebleed
  • rash, itching
  • sinus infection
  • skin infection or sores
  • sore throat
  • trouble sleeping

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • difficulty passing urine
  • heartburn
  • rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • signs of dehydration (e.g., decreased urine, dry skin, dry and sticky mouth, sleepiness, dizziness, headache, thirst, confusion)
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or tongue or inside the mouth
  • swelling or redness of the mouth, gums, or tongue
  • symptoms of a urinary tract infection (e.g., pain when urinating, urinating more often than usual, low back or flank pain)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • cough, wheezing, or breathlessness immediately after using the inhaler
  • lack of bowel movements (bowel obstruction)
  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
  • trouble swallowing

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Asthma medications: Tiotropium is intended for use with other medications to treat asthma. It should not be used to treat asthma if you are not also using a corticosteroid and a long-acting beta-agonist. It does not provide fast relief from asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Always carry a short-acting beta-agonist, such as salbutamol, with you to treat sudden flare-ups of symptoms.

Bladder or urinary problems: Tiotropium can worsen symptoms of bladder problems. If you have a history of bladder problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Dizziness/blurred vision: Tiotropium may cause dizziness or blurred vision, affecting your ability to safely drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until you know how this medication affects you.

Enlarged prostate: Tiotropium can worsen symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as difficulty starting urination. If you have an enlarged prostate, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Glaucoma: People with eye conditions (e.g., glaucoma) are more likely to experience worsening of their conditions and symptoms such as eye pain and swelling, blurred vision, or other unusual changes in their vision. Take extra care to ensure that tiotropium powder does not come into contact with your eyes. If your eyes have been in contact with tiotropium powder or you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Inhalation-induced bronchospasm: Inhaled forms of medications may cause spasms of the airways which make breathing difficult. If you experience this problem when using tiotropium, stop using this medication immediately. Speak to your doctor if you experience any problems with breathing while taking this or other inhaled medication.

Kidney function: Reduced kidney function or kidney disease may cause tiotropium to build up in the body, causing side effects. For people with reduced kidney function, tiotropium should only be used if the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Urinary tract problems: This medication can cause increased difficulty with urine flow and urinary retention. If you have an enlarged prostate gland or another condition that makes it difficult to pass urine, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

If you experience difficulty starting to urinate or have pain when you urinate, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

Worsening symptoms: If you find you need to use your short-acting ("rescue") inhaler more often or if your condition seems to worsen, call your doctor. If you have not been given instructions beforehand, contact your doctor immediately about what to do if any of the following situations occur (they may be signs of seriously worsening COPD or asthma):

  • decreased effectiveness of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators such as salbutamol, terbutaline, or fenoterol (less than 4 hours of relief)
  • need for more inhalations than usual of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators

Pregnancy: No studies have been done on the use of tiotropium by pregnant women. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication may pass into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are using tiotropium, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication for children younger than 18 years of age have not been established.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between tiotropium and any of the following:

  • aclidinium
  • amantadine
  • antihistamines (e.g., chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine)
  • antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, loxapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
  • atropine
  • belladonna
  • botulinum toxin
  • benztropine
  • cannabis
  • cyclobenzaprine
  • darifenacin
  • disopyramide
  • domperidone
  • donepezil
  • doxepin
  • eluxadoline
  • fesoterodine
  • flavoxate
  • galantamine
  • glucagon
  • glycopyrrolate
  • glycopyrronium
  • ipratropium
  • ketotifen
  • metoclopramide
  • mirabegron
  • moclobemide
  • nabilone
  • nitroglycerin
  • narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol)
  • orphenadrine
  • other bronchodilator medications
  • oxybutynin
  • potassium supplements
  • quinidine
  • rivastigmine
  • scopolamine
  • solifenacin
  • thiazide diuretics (e.g., chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide)
  • tolterodine
  • topiramate
  • tranylcypromine
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline)
  • umeclidinium

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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