COPD and SPIRIVA HandiHaler

Breathing with COPD is no small thing.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease and breathing usually gets worse over time. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and episodes of worsened symptoms called flare-ups (also known as exacerbations).

COPD is treatable. If you have COPD, SPIRIVA HandiHaler can help you breathe better and improve lung function by opening airways for 24 hours. SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue inhaler and should not be used for treating sudden breathing problems. Talk to your doctor about all of your options for managing COPD.

COPD is not the same as asthma. And although smoking is the number one cause of COPD, COPD is more than just smoker's cough. You don't have to be an active smoker to have COPD.

Chronic bronchitis

  • Chronic bronchitis associated with COPD is inflammation in your larger airways that causes swelling and obstruction. This can make it harder for air to move in or out of your lungs
  • Chronic bronchitis does not always go away completely
  • Inflammation of the airways can cause symptoms like coughing, mucus production, and shortness of breath
  • SPIRIVA HandiHaler can help by opening airways for 24 hours. One daily dose of SPIRIVA HandiHaler can help by relaxing the tiny muscles in the airways, which helps open airways for up to 24 hours


  • Emphysema associated with COPD is a permanent condition caused by damage to the air sacs in your lungs (called alveoli). This can make breathing out more difficult, so air remains trapped in your lungs. This leaves less room for fresh air to get in
  • Emphysema can make breathing harder and put strain on the muscles you use for breathing
  • SPIRIVA HandiHaler can help keep your airways open for 24 hours. SPIRIVA HandiHaler helps relax the muscles in the walls of your airways to open them and improve airflow into and out of the lungs, helping to empty your lungs so you can breathe in fresh air

Flare-ups (also called exacerbations)

  • COPD symptom flare-ups are episodes of new or increasing symptoms that last at least three days.
  • Symptoms may include: coughing, mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, or tightness in the chest
  • When you experience a COPD flare-up, you may require treatment beyond your normal medications and, in some cases, flare-ups may require hospitalization
  • SPIRIVA HandiHaler can help reduce the likelihood of COPD flare-ups. Once-daily SPIRIVA HandiHaler works to keep your airways open for up to 24 hours
  • SPIRIVA HandiHaler can't replace your rescue inhaler for treating sudden breathing problems. It's important to talk to your doctor about the roles of rescue and maintenance treatment

Do not use Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) if you are allergic to tiotropium or ipratropium (e.g., Atrovent®) or any of the ingredients in SPIRIVA HandiHaler. If your breathing suddenly worsens, your face, throat, lips, or tongue swells, you get hives, itching or rash, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and seek immediate medical help.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue medicine and should not be used for treating sudden breathing problems.

Do not swallow SPIRIVA capsules. The contents of the capsule should only be inhaled through your mouth using the HandiHaler device.

If you have vision changes or eye pain or if you have difficulty passing urine or painful urination, stop taking SPIRIVA HandiHaler and call your doctor right away.

Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with SPIRIVA HandiHaler. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems or are allergic to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are not sure. Also discuss with your doctor all the medicines you take, including eye drops.

The most common side effect with SPIRIVA HandiHaler is dry mouth. Others include constipation and trouble passing urine. For a complete list of reported side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not let the powder from the SPIRIVA capsule get into your eyes.

Dizziness and blurred vision may occur with SPIRIVA HandiHaler. Should you experience these symptoms, you should use caution when engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating appliances or other machines.

Read the Patient Information and the step-by-step Instructions for Use for SPIRIVA HandiHaler before you use your inhaler.


SPIRIVA ® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) is a prescription medicine used once each day (a maintenance medicine) to control symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by relaxing your airways and keeping them open. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.

SPIRIVA HandiHaler also reduces the likelihood of flare-ups and worsening of COPD symptoms (COPD exacerbations).

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information and Instructions for Use.


The information provided on this site is for general information and educational purposes only. You should always consult a doctor for diagnosing and treating a health or fitness problem, and before using any drug product discussed on this site.